General Rules Overview
In Badugi poker, the goal is to hold the lowest possible hand at the showdown. Aces are considered the lowest card. When cards within the same hand are paired or of the same suit, the highest card is discounted in the evaluation of the hand. The hand is then evaluated based upon the remaining number of cards.
A "Badugi" is defined as holding four cards that are not suited nor paired. The best possible Badugi hand would be A234; all unsuited. The worst hand still meeting the definition of a Badugi would be K,Q,J,10; all unsuited. Any hand defined as a Badugi is superior to any hand containing suited cards or pairs.
If a final hand contains a pair, only one card of the pair can be used in determining the winner. The paired card deemed least advantageous to the player is discounted and the hand is evaluated as a three-card hand. If the hand contains two pairs or trips, two cards would be discounted and the hand is evaluated as a two-card hand. If the hand contains four-of-a-kind, three cards would be discounted and the player would hold the worst possible variant; a one-card hand.
In a similar fashion, if a final hand contains two suited cards, the lowest card is retained and the highest card is discounted resulting in a three-card hand. If three cards were suited, the highest two cards would be discounted resulting in a two-card hand. In an extreme case with all cards suited in the final hand, the player would hold the worst possible variant; a one-card hand.
Hands containing both suited and paired cards are extremely weak as both the above rule-sets for discounting cards come into play limiting the number of cards that will be evaluated on the showdown.
A Badugi is a superior hand to any three-card, two-card or one-card hands. In similar fashion, any three-card hand is superior to any two or one-card hand and so on. If both players have a similar number of cards evaluated at the showdown, the hands are compared by evaluating each of the hands from the highest to lowest cards.
By way of examples:
Player 1 has 8 of diamonds, 4 of spades, 3 of hearts, Ace of clubs
Player 2 has 8 of hearts, 5 of clubs, 2 of spades, A of diamonds
Both players have a "Badugi" (four-card hand) since they both have four cards that are unsuited and non-paired. On evaluation from highest to lowest card, both hands contain an eight however Player 1 holds the best hand when comparing the 5 of clubs versus the 4 of spades on the next highest card.
Player 1 has 10 of hearts, 9 of diamonds, 9 of spades, 4 of spades
Player 2 has K of clubs, 7 of spades, 6 of hearts, 2 of clubs
Both players have three-card hands. Player 1 would have a three-card hand consisting of 10 of hearts, 9 of diamonds, 4 of spades with the 9 of spades having been discounted since is it paired with the 9 of diamonds and is higher in value to the same suited 4 of spades. Player 2 would have a three-card hand consisting of 7 of spades, 6 of hearts, 2 of clubs as the K of clubs would be discounted as the higher same suited card. Evaluating from highest to lowest of the two three-card hands, Player 2 holds the better hand.
When you first go to a table, an information box appears that tells you the name of the game ("Welcome to Badugi with Blinds"), the limits (for example, "$4/$8 Fixed Limit"), the blinds (for example, "Blinds: $2/$4"), and the buy-in (for example, "Minimum Buy-in: $40").
Fixed-Limit Games - The software enforces the bet limits, which are determined by the stakes offered at the particular table. For example, at a $4-$8 table, the limit on any bet is $4 on the first two betting rounds and $8 on the final two betting rounds. There is a bet and three raises allowed in each individual round. Each bet or raise is at the limit for that round. Thus, the first player to bet in the first round of betting has the choice of folding or betting $4. If someone has made a bet, the next player has the choice of folding, calling the $4, or raising $4 (making the total bet at that point $8). If there has been a raise, the next player has the choice of folding, calling the $8, or raising $4 (making the total bet at that point $12).
The blinds are a bet/ante related to the small bet. The Small Blind is one half the small or minimum bet rounded down to the nearest dollar or even denomination while the Big Blind is equal to the small bet. By way of example in a $1-$2 fixed limit game, the big blind is $1 and the small blind is $.50.
Poker Game Betting The betting starts after four cards are dealt to each of the participating players. At this point, there is a round of betting. After all bets have been equalized, active players exchanges from 0-4 cards from their hands. Players are given the two subsequent opportunities to exchange cards followed by a betting round. The final bet round and showdown occurs after three opportunities to exchange cards should two or more players remain in the pot.
Our house rake is between 0% and 5% of the pot size.
Posting to Enter a Game
New players can enter a game in the big blind position to avoid paying the new player post, which is equivalent to the big blind. A new player can choose to post the equivalent of the big blind to enter the game at any time except when he is between the button and the big blind position. A returning player who has missed the big blind or small blind can choose to post the missed blinds and reenter the game, as long as he is not between the button and the big blind position. A seated player who has missed the blinds or a player just sitting down can always choose to wait for the blind, that is, sit out until the blind gets to him.
Other Important Points
Buy-In - When you first sit down to the table, you are prompted with "Enter $ to buy in." The amount displayed to you is set to default to your entire account balance. If you wish to take a lesser amount to the table, simply override the amount in the box by typing in the desired buy-in amount. The minimum buy-in is generally 10 times the small bet.
Badugi Dealer - Our virtual dealer strictly enforces all game rules. The starting dealer position, or dealer button, is chosen at random and moves clockwise one player after each hand. To start a hand, the cards are dealt in a clockwise direction from the dealer button. All new players to the game must either post the equivalent of the big blind or wait for their turn in the big blind. This prevents players from gaining an advantage by avoiding the blinds and jumping in and out of games. Each time the cards are dealt, a new betting round begins. A hand starts when the first card is dealt and ends when a winner is declared.
Dealer Button - The yellow disk (labeled with a D) that moves from player to player at the beginning of each hand is called the dealer button. It identifies the current dealer position-as if that player were actually dealing the cards. The player at this location is said to be on the button. After each completed hand, the dealer button moves one player to the left.
Missed Blinds - Players are required to post the small blind and the big blind once per round or their equivalent upon re-entry to the game if the blinds are missed. The software will prompt you if you have missed one or both blinds to put in the correct amount. You can also wait for the blind to get to your position. This is called coming in on the blind. (The term also applies to when you first sit down.) (Also see "Posting to Enter a Game" above.)
Raise/Call/Check/Fold - Once a betting round has started you must select one of these options from the popup box that appears when it is your turn. If you choose one of the automatic options, your bet is made automatically on your turn. If you select Sit Out or you close the window after a round has started, your bet will be considered a fold. If your connection is lost, your hand will be played as an all-in bet. (This feature is restricted to a maximum number of times per day, to prevent individuals from gaining an advantage by purposely allowing themselves to be timed out.)
Option - The player who has the big blind is given the option to raise, check, call, or fold when it is his turn. If no one has raised, the big blind has the option of checking (that is, not increasing the bet) or raising (the prompt says Bet).
Discard - After the first round of betting, active players are offered the opportunity to draw to their hands. That is, they can discard to change or improve their four-card hands by replacing none, some, or all of their cards. You are prompted in turn to indicate which cards to keep and which to discard. Click each card you wish to hold (keep). The prompt changes to reflect what your action means. For example, if you click on two cards that you wish to keep, the prompt is Discard 2 Cards on my turn. If that is not what you wish to do, click or unclick cards appropriately until the software shows you discarding as you wish. Each card you click shows a blue H in the lower left corner of the card and the card slides slightly downward. To remove the blue H from a card, click on the card again before the draw and that card will not be discarded. Those cards not marked with a blue H-and remaining above those that are-will be your discards. If you do not click any cards, you are offered these choices: I will play these and Discard All. Again, if that is not what you want, click cards appropriately until the software shows you discarding as you wish. You can speed the game up by clicking the cards you wish to keep before the action gets to you. Clicking the cards does not cause discarding to take place until you react to the Discard prompt.
As there are only 52 cards in the deck, there will be occasions depending upon the number of players active in the hand and the number of cards exchanged where there will be insufficient cards without re-using previously mucked cards. When this occasion arises, the mucked and discarded cards are shuffled and used to complete the hand. Our software is programmed so that, on those occasions when not enough cards remain in the deck to complete the deal, a player will not get his own discards back-but he may receive another player's discards or his own cards from a previous exchange should the muck have been reshuffled in the interim time period.