Badugi, or Asian Poker as it is commonly known, is one of the newest variants of poker that is played in both offline and online casinos in the US. Like Texas Hold'em and Omaha, Badugi is a draw poker game where the aim is to crate the lowest 4-card hand or Badugi. Here, Badugi refers to a hand of different cards from different suites, where no two cards have the same suit or value.
Six people can play this interesting, yet simple lowball game, which can be easily understood with a bit of practice. The game starts with the blinds, followed by three drawing rounds and betting rounds. In all other poker games, a player is given the dealer button or tag in the beginning of Badugi. This button keeps moving from player to player. Every player gets to be the dealer at least once.
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Badugi poker typically offers one of three betting options. These can be limit, no limit, or pot limit game variations. The betting options in this game are the same as that of Hold'em or Omaha, fold, bet, call, raise, and check:
Players can place four bets in limit Badugi, bet, raise, re-raise, and cap. In a $2/4 Badugi table, the big blind would be $2, and small blind would be $1. Like in some other poker games, the raises in the first two rounds of Badugi would be by $2 and the last two rounds would be $4.
The minimum bet in no limit Badugi would be equivalent to the big blind, as long as there have been no bets earlier in the round. Otherwise, the minimum betting amount would be equal to the current bet amount. The minimum raise should be equal to the big blind. For example in the $2/4 game, where the big blind is $2 and small blind is $1, the raise has to be at least $4. There is no maximum limit in raises, which means you can even go "all-in", which is to bet your all of your money, if you want.
Betting options in pot limit Badugi are similar to those in no limit Badugi. Unlike no limit games, the maximum raise is capped to the pot value in pot-limit Badugi.
Badugi Poker is not a difficult game to learn with the right direction. Understanding the different drawing and betting rounds as well as all that is involved in a showdown can mean the difference between a successful start to playing Badugi and one that will convince you not to come back. Here's a quick breakdown of how to play Badugi:
The player to the left of the dealer is the small blind, and the player to the left of the small blind is the big blind. Like in other poker variants, the small blind is approximately half of the big blind. So in a $2/4 table, if the big blind is $2, small blind would be $1. After the blinds are placed, each player is given 4 cards face down, and only a player knows the value of his or her cards. After the players receive their first four cards, the first round of betting begins.
A game of Badugi has three rounds each for drawing cards and betting: the drawing rounds, the betting rounds and the showdown. After the first round of betting, players can discard all or some of their cards and replace them with new cards. This means a player can have a hand with 4, 3, 2 or even 1 card, at any given point in the game. In the drawing rounds, players have to discard cards of the highest value or of the highest suit if they have pairs, and replace them with the cards drawn.
This process is repeated for the remaining two drawing rounds. Should there be insufficient cards at the last drawing round, the discarded cards can be reshuffled by the dealer and used for drawing fresh cards. In case you have a winning hand, you can choose to keep your cards. This means that you don’t have an obligation to discard or draw new cards in each round. Starting with the player to the left side of the dealer, the drawing round moves in a clockwise direction and ends with the dealer.
In Badugi, there is a round of betting after each card-drawing round. The first round of betting starts soon after the initial cards are dealt. Starting with the player to the left of the big blind, the betting round also moves in the clockwise direction. After each round, only the active players, will move on further in the game.
After the last betting round, the players have to reveal their cards to determine the winner. As per the evaluation system in Badugi, a hand with more number of cards automatically wins over the hands with lesser number of cards. This means a Badugi with a 4-card hand wins over the 3, 2 and 1 card hands If two or more players have the same number of cards at the end of the game, the player with the lowest valued cards becomes the winner. If there is only one player left after the last betting round he or she automatically becomes the winner.
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