Badugi Poker: Game History and How To Play

This is now the third article in the series I’ve written on Lowball Poker games at Bill’s blog and will cover Badugi Poker. The post will take a look at Badugi poker history and provide a short how to play Badugi guide. If you want to check out the other two articles in my series then here are the links:

Introduction to Lowball Poker
Razz Poker and the World Greatest Gambler

I’m hoping everyone’s enjoyed what I’ve written so far and finds this article interesting as well.

Badugi Poker History Then and Now

Badugi is one of the newer games to hit the live and online poker scene. It is thought that the game was first invented in South Korea around the 1960’s but obviously it’s impossible to pin point it’s exact conception. Paul Eskimo Clark a poker player who served in the USA army during the Vietnam War is credited with bringing the game back to America and although he claims to have invented the game as well it’s pretty clear it was being played over in South Korea well before the war broke out.

When Badugi poker first hit the Las Vegas poker scene it was mainly played at the higher limits, it is traditionally considered to be a real gamblers game which at the time was really attractive to the high stakes players in Vegas. The truth of the matter is though that there is a lot of Skill involved in Badugi and like in any form of poker the better players end up with the money in the long run.

Today Badugi is played in various live mixed cash games and it was reported that at last years World Series of Poker Greg Raymer and Todd Brunson among others where playing $400/$800 Badugi in the side games. Badugi doesn’t yet have a dedicated WSOP tournament but there is plenty of action online at PokerStars who include it in their SCOOP and WCOOP poker tournament series.

How To Play Badugi Poker

It’s not actually that difficult to learn how to play Badugi, in fact if you’ve ever played 2-7 Triple Draw then you’ll probably get the hang of it pretty quickly. The first thing you need to know about Badugi is that it has its own unique hand rankings system. The system is a lowball hand rankings system in which an unsuited A-2-3-4 would be the holy nuts, you only get 4 cards when playing Badugi. Any hand that has 4 cards of different suits and numerical value is known as a Badugi and your aim is to make the lowest Badugi possible. Pairs and suited cards will count against you.

Any hand of Badugi poker starts with the posting of the blinds, the dealer then deals each player 4 cards. A betting round takes place which is followed by a drawing round. During the drawing round players can draw as many or as few cards as they wish, choosing not to draw is known as standing pat. There are a total of three drawing rounds when playing Badugi and once the final drawing round and final betting round has taken place the hand goes to a showdown, much like in any Triple Draw game. The winner is then determined and the pot is shipped in their direction.

The above is just about as much information as you need to play a hand of Badugi but if you’re interested in finding out more about the game then why don’t you check out one of my newest sites: Badugi Poker, it covers how to play the game, strategy, drawing odds and where to play online.

Next week I’ll close out the series with an article on 2-7 lowball poker games.

photocred to RodrigoFavera

Bill Rini
Bill Rini is currently the Head of Online Poker for WSOP. He has been working in the online poker industry since 2004 and has held management roles at Full Tilt Poker and PartyPoker.

3 thoughts on “Badugi Poker: Game History and How To Play”

  1. Nice article. Badugi is really starting to spread now when also Full Tilt have started to include it. Wonder what the competition is like there now.=) I started playing a while ago at Pokerstars and have put together everything I’ve learned and my style of play. It is at if you want to check it out.=)


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