Badugi: A Reference Guide to the Intriguing Card Game – Rules, Instructions, Winning Strategies & How to Play


Badugi is a unique and intriguing card game that’s been gaining popularity in recent years. Originating from South Korea, it’s a game that’s all about strategy and skill. Unlike most poker games, Badugi uses a lowball (ace-to-five low) hand ranking system, which means the lowest hand wins the pot. It’s a game that’s easy to learn but challenging to master, making it a favorite among card game enthusiasts.

Badugi is played with a standard 52-card deck, and the game can accommodate between two to eight players. The objective of the game is to have the lowest four-card hand with no two cards of the same rank or suit. Now, let’s dive into the world of Badugi.

Quick Tip

Always aim for a four-card Badugi. A four-card Badugi (a hand with four different suits and ranks) always beats a three-card Badugi, regardless of the value of the cards.

Rules for Playing Badugi

The rules of Badugi are quite straightforward. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Each player is dealt four cards face down.
  2. The first round of betting begins with the player to the left of the dealer.
  3. Players can then choose to draw new cards or “stand pat” (not draw any cards).
  4. There are three drawing rounds in total, with a round of betting after each draw.
  5. The player with the lowest hand at the end of the final betting round wins the pot.

It’s worth noting that house rules may vary, so it’s always a good idea to clarify the rules before you start playing.

How to Play Badugi


Before the game begins, players must agree on the betting limits. Once the limits are set, each player is dealt four cards face down. The first round of betting then begins.


After the first round of betting, players have the option to draw new cards. This is followed by a second round of betting and two more drawing rounds. After the final round of betting, if there’s more than one player remaining, a showdown occurs, and the player with the lowest hand wins the pot.

End of the Game

The game ends when the pot is won. If you’re playing a series of games, the player with the most chips at the end of the series is the overall winner.

How to Win at Badugi

Winning at Badugi requires a good understanding of the game’s strategy. Here are some tips to help you improve your game:

  1. Always aim for a four-card Badugi. Even a high four-card Badugi can beat a low three-card Badugi.
  2. Pay attention to your opponents’ actions. If they’re drawing a lot of cards, they probably don’t have a strong hand.
  3. Don’t be afraid to bluff. If you’ve been playing conservatively and suddenly raise the bet, your opponents might think you have a strong hand and fold.

Best Strategies for Playing Badugi

While there’s no surefire way to win at Badugi, there are strategies you can use to increase your chances of winning. Here are some strategies to consider:

  1. Play aggressively if you have a strong hand. If you have a three-card or four-card Badugi, don’t be afraid to raise the bet.
  2. Be patient. Badugi is a game of patience and strategy. Don’t rush to make a four-card Badugi; sometimes, a three-card Badugi is enough to win the pot.
  3. Pay attention to the number of cards your opponents draw. This can give you an idea of the strength of their hands.

Scenarios for Badugi

Understanding different scenarios in Badugi can help you make better decisions during the game. Here are some common scenarios and how to handle them:

  1. If you have a four-card Badugi, consider standing pat. Even if your Badugi is high, it’s still better than a three-card Badugi.
  2. If you have a three-card Badugi and one of your opponents has drawn a card, consider standing pat. Your opponent is likely trying to make a four-card Badugi, but there’s no guarantee they’ll succeed.
  3. If you have a high three-card Badugi and one of your opponents stands pat, consider drawing a card. Your opponent likely has a low three-card Badugi, so you’ll need to improve your hand to have a chance of winning.

Frequently Asked Questions about Playing Badugi

Here are some common questions about playing Badugi:

  1. What is a Badugi? A Badugi is a four-card hand where all the cards have different ranks and suits.
  2. How many players can play Badugi? Badugi can be played with two to eight players.
  3. What is the best hand in Badugi? The best hand in Badugi is A-2-3-4 of different suits.
  4. Can you bluff in Badugi? Yes, bluffing is a common strategy in Badugi.
  5. What happens if two players have the same hand? If two players have the same hand, the player with the lowest card wins. If the lowest cards are also the same, the next lowest cards are compared, and so on.

For more information about Badugi, visit the official PokerStars Badugi page.