How to Play Badugi Poker – Rules for Badugi

Badugi is a popular game that has striking similarities to 2-7 Triple Draw Poker. The term Badugi is used in reference to having four cards that are all off suit. This is also known as a complete rainbow in Omaha and Holdem. The rules and strategies used in Badugi are similar to other draw games and most players will find the adjustments needed to be fairly simple. Like most games, understanding the basic concepts is not an issue. However, mastering the game through practice and patience tends to be the difficult part.

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Most draw games use antes; however, Badugi typically uses blinds. Just like in Holdem, there is a small and a big blind. They sit to the left of the dealer in order – small then big.

The betting (or action) begins to the left of the big blind in the first round. In subsequent rounds, the betting begins with the player in the small seat. Each player is dealt four hole cards initially. This differs slightly from 2-7 Triple Draw where each player is dealt five.

After the four hole cards are dealt, the first round of action begins. Action is another term for betting. The draw phases work the same as in 2-7 Triple Draw aside from the obvious difference that you can only draw up to four cards instead of five. When you draw, you may discard any amount of your four cards and receive an equal amount of new cards.

After each draw phase there is another round of action. In Badugi, there are three draw phases followed by a final round of action. In total, there are three draw phases and four rounds of action.

As in any other draw game, you always have the option of drawing no cards. This is referred to as standing pat. It can be used as a bluff tactic or when you have the nuts.


Badugi Poker has a little bit of a different strategy than some poker games. The term Badugi applies to a hand which can spice things up a bit. The object of Badugi is to get the lowest hand possible. However, a Badugi of any rank beats the lowest non-Badugi hand.

If two players both have a Badugi, then the lowest Badugi wins. Remember, the objective is to have the lowest hand. If no one has a Badugi, the lowest hand wins. If you’re holding an Ace and two low cards that are off-suited, this is a great starting hand. The low cards should be four or lower. If you hold three off-suit cards that are lower than six or seven, this is also a very good starting hand.

By the conclusion of the first draw, you should have three cards lower than seven. These three cards should be off-suited. If you don’t have this hand, you should seriously consider folding to any bet.

Using the bluff tactic can be very advantageous if you’re sitting on a nine or ten high Badugi early in the draw phases. You then can stand pat and bet into it, which can push your opponents off their draws with a fairly weak Badugi.

It’s not possible to get a straight, flush, full house or anything like that in Badugi Poker since you only have four cards. However, pairs or two pairs are of no use in Badugi. The best hand is A-2-3-4 off-suited. This would be the lowest Badugi hand possible.

As in any poker game, playing position is important. Use your position to your advantage when you’re late to act. Adversely, don’t get caught up with bogus starting hands when you’re early in the action. Watch your opponents, study them and learn their tendencies. This will become very helpful not only in Badugi, but within poker in general.

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Getting only four cards with no community cards or any possibilities to complete most poker hands makes Badugi an interesting game. The game brings excitement with the multiple draw phases. Online casinos allow for players to learn the game by playing for play money or just starting out at the real money tables with low stakes. With every poker game it will take time to learn the rules and strategies. Badugi is no exception and you must exemplify patience and the necessary skills to master the game.