How To Play Badugi

Badugi is the latest form of poker introduced to the world of online poker.Currently PokerStars is the only site offering Badugi, but it won’t be long before other sites see the success PokerStars is having by spreading the game. Although the game has been around for a long time, it never caught on in casinos, or in home games (like many poker variants, it has taken online poker to get the game out to the mainstream). The game is believed to be of Korean origin, and also goes by the name of Padooki or Paduki.

Badugi looks a lot like a triple-draw lowball game, but there are a few major differences:

  1. In Badugi players are dealt only four cards instead of the customary five in draw poker games. People love to gamble online as they gain so much profit including Bonuses and rewards. People who are willing to play casino games are required to pre make the payment. 
  2. The best hand is a “Badugi” which is four unmatched cards of different suits: If more than one player has a Badugi, then card ranks come into play.

The best possible hand is A-2-3-4 of different suits. Hands are ranked from highest card to lowest (similarly to other low games an 8-5-3-2 would beat a 9-3-2-A) and there is no qualifier. If no player has a Badugi hands are ranked in the same manner only using 3 cards (a suited or paired card is ignored).

The key to Badugi is to start with non-suited cards under 5. A lot of players will keep a 3-card 8-3-2, but they would be better off with just the 3-2. A good deal of hands will see no Badugi, so having that 8 low is going to kill you when your opponent shows a 6-4-2 hand or A-2-4.

In a typical low stakes Badugi game you want to play any two unsuited cards 5 and lower, or any three card 7 and lower. Furthermore, hands like A-2-6 are immensely stronger than a hand like 3-5-6 despite the highest card being the same rank. At a full table I do not recommend standing pat with anything higher than Ten Badugi.

Another important aspect of Badugi is to know the odds. Here are a few of the important odds you’ll need to know that will make your life a little easier at the Badugi tables:

  • With three draws remaining a player with 3 cards to a Badugi a player has a 51% of making a Badugi by the final draw. This number is a bit misleading since you are unlikely to stand pat if you catch a King or Queen high Badugi on the first draw.
  • With 1 draw remaining and 3-cards to a Badugi, you have a 21% chance to make a Badugi. Of course that includes Jack, Queen, and King high Badugi’s which would be worthless unless against a player who stood pat; even a fairly loose player.
  • If you have a 7 high Badugi and your opponent draws 1 card, you know they have at best 4-outs to out-draw you. You can adjust this number up or down depending on how high or low your Badugi happens to be.

Honestly, the best way to learn Badugi is to sit at a play money or low stakes table and learn under fire, so to speak. And there are a quite a few nuances to the game you can only learn from playing –adjusting to players, stealing blinds, when to go to war pre-flop, and so on.

Badugi is an interesting game and a good change of pace from time-to-time. And as a new game, players armed with a small amount of knowledge can do really well at the tables, since most players have zero idea what they are doing –unlike Texas Hold’ Em where even the biggest fish have some general idea of the games strategies.

Currently only 2 poker sites offer Badugi online – Pokerstars and Reefer Poker. You can read our reviews – Pokerstars review / Reefer Poker review to find the site you’d prefer to play Badugi on. Otherwise, you can click here to go directly to Pokerstars or click here to go directly to Reefer Poker!


Jimmy Clark is a writer and a casino player. He also owns a casino site named He is also a traveler and a photographer at heart.