Badugi Strategy

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Badugi Strategy Empty Badugi Strategy

Post  PoWdA on Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:31 pm

Keith (kkravec) was saying he may be open to learning some badugi and I am too as it is a new game for me. I remembered a guy on another forum I post on was interested in the game too and after a few months of getting the game down wrote a sort of beginners guide. Now I am badugi expert and he doesn't claim to be one either but this is a post he made on another forum and it should give some insight. Here is gunnerforrests beginers guide to badugi!

Badugi strategy by gunnerforrest,

Many of you know I've expressed a lot of interest in Badugi the past few months, and I've picked it up fairly quickly. I've written a strategy blog I posted on another site, but I thought I would share it here, just in case anyone is interested in learning the game. Good luck if you do. It's a really fun game, but there can be some big swings at it.

As far as places to play, Carbon poker is a fairly small site, but they have it and Doyle's Room, which just opened back up to US customers has some pretty crazy Half Pot Limit games that build some humongous pots from what I've heard.

Incidentally, I don't know if I mentioned it in the blog, but you have a 47% chance of hitting a Badugi if you draw one card three times. Worth knowing.

Thus far, I love the game. It is much less popular than all of the more mainstream games, but very fun to play. In case some of you don't know, Badugi is a lowball draw game. It is most easily compared to a-5 triple draw, though there are several notable differences. In Badugi, you are only dealt 4 cards, rather than the five that we are all used to in most draw games.

Like Ace to Five Triple Draw, aces count as low, and straights don't matter. The best hand is A-2-3-4. But there's a catch. Suits do matter. More so than in any other poker game in existence. In Badugi, you can have a 4 card hand, a 3 card hand, a 2 card hand, or a 1 card hand. The objective is to have a 4 card hand however, because any 4 card hand automatically beats any three card hand. Any three card hand beats any two card hand, and any two card hand beats any 1 card hand. The reason that suits are SO important is that you cannot have two of a suit in your hand. If you do, you must remove the higher of the two suited cards, which leaves you with a 3 card hand. Pairs are treated the same way. You must remove one and play a three card hand.

Now that we've established the basic rules let's go over how the game is played. The is a small blind and big blind, just like Omaha or Texas Hold'em. Then each player is dealt 4 cards face down. There is an initial round of betting, followed by the first draw. You can discard as many cards as you like. After the first draw is another round of betting, followed by the second round of betting. There is one more draw and one more round of betting, and then the showdown.

A 4 card hand is referred to as a Badugi, and if only one person has one, they automatically win the hand. Even if its Railbirds card: TdRailbirds card: JhRailbirds card: QcRailbirds card: Ks, the highest badugi you can have and you have Railbirds card: AsRailbirds card: 2cRailbirds card: 3hRailbirds card: 4h, which is the best three card hand you can have.

Later I'll make a nice, pretty hand ranking chart with all the 4 and 3 card hands and their ranking. But that is way too much work for me right now, considering that encompasses literally hundreds of hands and making sure i get them all exactly in the right order.

I also want to go over the odds of drawing to hands in Badugi, but that will take a TON of work. I expect that to take literally hours of my time getting all that math down and calculating your odds for every hand. I really hope you guys love me, because I put a lot of work into getting you accurate, informative and understandable articles.

Anyways, on to the strategy of Badugi. Granted I am still learning the game, but much of the strategy is fairly simple if you have any knowledge of 2-7 triple draw or A-5 TD.

Starting hands. Unless you are on the Big Blind (or small blind in a favorable blind structure like 2:3) you don't want to call without a good drawing hand. Remember, due to the restrictions placed on you by suits, you will frequently only make a 3 card hand, as will the rest of the table much of the time. With that in mind, you want to play starting hands that are likely to win against other 3 card hands if you and your opponents fail to improve to Badugi. A hand like A-2-3-x is optimal, because if no one improves to a 4 card hand (badugi) you have the nut 3 card hand and will win the pot. So, we really only want to play hands capable of winning against 3 card hands, even if you fail to improve.

In most circumstances I will only play if I only need to draw one card. The only exceptions for that are if I have a hand with a playable A-2 or A-3. Otherwise I will generally much any 2 card drawing hands (the only other exception being an unraised Big blind, in which case you get to draw for free and can obviously play anything). A hand like A-3-6-x is a good hand to start with. Draw one as many times as necessary. Usually when a badugi is made, a 7 or 8 low will be what wins, so anything below that is often just a bonus. If you have a solid badugi, say A-2-3-7, you will probably win the pot at least 90% of the time. Nevertheless, don't be especially worried if you make a Jack-low badugi, hands like this still win fairly often. In a situation like that you just have to use your own judgement based on the actions and betting of your opponent.

Now lets discuss one fairly difficult situation in Badugi; getting dealt a rough Badugi before the draw. Lets say you have a 4-7-J-K badugi before the draw. Do you stand pat, or do you break it and try to improve? In most situations I stand pat, BUT, you cannot just stand pat and be passive. If you are going to stand pat with such a rough hand, you MUST make your opponents pay dearly to try to outdraw you. Bet big every chance you get and try to jam them out of the pot. But be careful and observant. If you get reraised and your opponent stands pat, you might have to break it and shoot lower, and if you fail to improve you might have to fold. Once again, that is a situation where your judgement will have to be the deciding factor. A good player might see what you're doing and reraise and stand pat with only a 3 card hand, or even worse, just to move all in you off the pot. I've made that move before and pushed people off rough badugis.

One of the most important keys to Badugi is paying attention. Always note how many cards your opponents have drawn on each drawing round. You don't want an opponent standing pat with a made hand while you are still drawing because you weren't paying attention. That could be a costly mistake. If your opponent draws two, and you draw one, you should probably bet. You are almost always going to be a favorite in a situation like that, as long as you have three good cards. It is rare to draw two to a badugi, and usually when that does happen, it is a rough badugi.

Also, try not to give away free draws. If you have a solid 3 card hand, bet after each draw. Make your opponent pay to draw to a badugi. Once again, with a solid 3 card hand, you are a favorite to win, so don't give them a free shot to beat you. Bet, and keep drawing to a badugi of your own.

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