Basics of Badugi

For those of you who have made it this far you probably want a more thorough explanation of how not to suck at Badugi.  Read this and understand these basic concepts before clicking on the embedded links to more in depth commentary on each concept.

The basic stages of the game as you know doubt remember from the rules section are: predraw, draw 1, draw 2 and draw 3 each with its own betting round.  Learning some basic tips for each stage of the game will help you earn your Badugi badge.

The following advice applies to full ring fixed limit badugi.  Short handed you should be more loose and aggressive. In pot limit or half pot limit you perhaps play even tighter.

Our general advice for playing before the flop or pre-draw in badugi is play tight and use the power of position

Well a very good hand pre-draw is 10 or lower badugi or 5 or lower 3-card hand (or “tri”).  You can almost always play these hands.

A good but not monster hand is any Badugi and any 3 cards 8 or lower.  These hands can be played in later position (see below).

A speculative hand is any 3 cards 9 or lower and any two cards 5 and lower.  

These are the weakest hands you’ll want to play before the draw and should be selective when you do so.  Usually this means you are on the button and you are stealing the playing against tight blinds.

How tight you play depends on your position relative to the button.  This is not exactly revolutionary advice. Every poker guide and book is incomplete with at least mentioning position somewhere.   The reason for its importance is that if you are last to act (i.e. on the button) you have tremendous advantage in that you get to see everyone else’s actions before you make a decision.

Position takes on added importance in Badugi because not only do you get to see what your opponents bet but you also get to see how many cards your opponents wish to draw to before deciding how many cards you would like to draw.

So the later your position the weaker your hand can be to be playable.

Always Open Raise

Generally you want to raise if all players have folded to you.   Even your strongest hands lose value the more players that are drawing.  You always want to cut down on your competition with a raise.