Beginners’ Guide to Badugi Poker
Discover the best Badugi poker sites and learn the game with our simple guide. Badugi is an unusual variant of poker that’s a little like Lowball. Get the lowest hand and scoop the pot! You can now play Badugi poker online for real money in the US. Open an online poker account, make a deposit and claim your bonus today.
How TopUSCasinos Picks the Best Badugi Poker Sites
At TopUSCasinos.com, we only select the top Badugi sites to go in our recommended list. Here’s what our team looks for.
Slick Software & Top Security: We play every Badugi poker game to test the software and functionality. Games should be easy to play, and the poker site lobby must be simple to browse. We also check that all our reviewed sites carry the proper licensing and security protocols.
Spread of Games: From cash games to Sit & Gos and tournaments, we check to see what each Badugi poker site offers.
Wide Selection of Stakes: We examine the full range of stakes available in online Badugi games. There should be something for every poker player, whether you’re a beginner looking for a freeroll or a serious grinder looking for real-money cash games.
Bonuses & Promotions: The best Badugi poker sites will offer regular promotions. You should also be able to earn a deposit match or rakeback when you open your account.
Quick Payments 24/7: There’s no excuse for slow deposits at an online poker site. The top Badugi websites provide instant payments with no fees. And when it’s time to cash out, you should enjoy fast withdrawals and quick processing times.
Good Customer Support: A great customer support team can be the difference between a poor online experience and a good one. You should be able to speak to an expert team about any issues you have over your account or games.
What is Badugi?
Badugi poker is a lowball variant of poker that’s similar to 2-7 Triple Draw. In Badugi, the lowest, or “worst” hand, is the winning hand, not the highest as it is in traditional poker.
Between rounds of betting, players discard and draw cards of their choice in order to improve their hand. Every Badugi poker hand consists of four cards, and the strongest hand is A-2-3-4 of different suits.
Typically, Badugi poker is played in cash game format. Betting is Limit, with different bet sizes enforced between each draw of cards. The best Badugi poker sites in the US may spread cash games up to $400/$800, but you can also find low buy-in tournaments with guaranteed prizepools.
RELATED: Are You A New Poker Player? Check Out Our Guide To The Basic Rules of Poker
US States Where Online Badugi Poker is Legal
Online poker sites have been available in the US for years. However, the first US-regulated Badugi poker sites have only been running since 2013.
You can now play online Badugi in several US states. Some states have passed online gambling legislation, but players are still waiting for the first poker apps to launch.
Nevada: Las Vegas boasts the annual World Series of Poker, and now online players in Nevada can enjoy Badugi games online. Nevada was one of the first places in the US to regulate poker online, and player pools are now shared among several states.
New Jersey: The Garden State enjoys a mature online poker industry that is growing all the time. Player pools in New Jersey are shared among other states, allowing you to play Badugi poker online against opponents in Delaware and Nevada.
Delaware: Delaware has had regulated poker since 2013, but the spread of Badugi sites is still quite small. However, if you live in Delaware, you can join players based in NJ and NV.
Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania has legalized most forms of online gambling, including poker. PA boasts a local skin of PokerStars, one of the best Badugi poker sites in the US.
West Virginia: West Virginia is a relative newcomer to the regulated US gambling market. It’s now legal to play Badugi poker online in WV. The first legal poker sites are likely to launch very soon.
Michigan: In early 2021, Michigan went live with online gambling. It is legal to play legal Badugi games online in Michigan. Poker Stars is one of the best sites to find Badugi poker online.
How to Play Badugi Poker
On this page, you’ll discover the very best Badugi poker sites. Getting started is easy if you follow these easy steps:
Step 1: Click on one of our top-rated poker site links. We review every poker room that’s currently legal in the state where you live.
Step 2: To open your account, you can either download a poker client to your desktop or play through a browser. Once the software is installed, open the client and set up your account.
Step 3: You will need to provide a few pieces of personal information. These include:
- Full name
- Home address
- Social Security number (SSN)
- Cell phone number
- Email address
- Date of birth
You will be sent a verification email once your registration is complete. Click on the link in the email to finish the sign-up process.
Step 4: Now you can open the poker site and make a deposit. You’ll also be able to opt into any welcome bonus being offered. Open the cashier and select a valid payment option. You may need to provide ID evidence here, such as a scan of your passport or driver’s license.
Step 5: You’re ready to go! Open the lobby and start playing Badugi poker online for free or real money.
Basic Rules for Badugi Poker Online
Badugi poker is a lowball game where the lowest qualifying hand is the winning hand. It’s easy to play if you’re already familiar with draw games like 2-7 or five-card draw. You’ll also like Badugi if you’ve played Razz, as the aces are always low.
Posting Blinds: As in Hold’em and Omaha, two enforced bets called blinds are posted at the start of a hand. The player to the left of the dealer posts a small blind. The player to the left of them posts a big blind worth double the small blind.
Dealing the Cards: Every player receives four cards face down. A round of betting follows where you have the option of calling, raising the previous bet or folding.
The First Draw: After the betting is complete, every player remaining has the option of drawing cards. First, click on the cards you want to discard. These will be randomly replaced with different cards. The idea is to draw cards that improve your Badugi hand, so break up paired cards.
Second Betting Round: There is then another round of betting, where players can check, call or raise. Players then discard and draw again.
Third Betting Round: There is a third round of betting followed by a final draw.
Final Betting Round: After the final draw, there is a last round of betting. Any players remaining go to showdown and compare their hands.
Badugi Hand Rankings
In a game of Badugi poker, cards are ranked low to high. Therefore, the ace is the best card, followed, by the 2, 3 and so on. A “badugi” is a hand containing four different cards of different suits. Therefore, A-2-3-4 of different suits is the best hand in the game, while K-K-K-K is the lowest hand ranking.
Note that cards of the same suit and rank are discarded. A hand containing just three unique suits or ranks is known as a “three-card Badugi,” while a hand containing two unique suits or ranks is a “two-card Badugi.”
Four card Badugi
Example: Ah 2s 3d 4c
Four unpaired cards in different suits.
Three card Badugi
Example 1: 10c 7s 3h 5h
Example 2: 10c 7s 3h 3d
Three unsuited cards with one card matching one of the suits (Example 1), or two unique ranks and one pair (Example 2).
Two card Badugi
Example 1: Ks Kd 2h 2c
Example 2: 10h 10c 6s 2s
Two pairs (Example 1), or a pair and two cards of the same suit (Example 2).
One card Badugi
Example 1: 10d 9d 7d 2d
Example 2: 4d 4s 4c 4h
Four cards of the same suit (Example 1) or four of a kind (Example 2).
Comparing Hands: At showdown, players’ hands are compared to see who has won. A four card Badugi beats a three card Badugi, and so on.
If players have the same hand type, the player with the lowest high card wins. If those are the same, the lowest third-highest card wins the hand, and so on.
Badugi Poker Betting Options
You can play at the best Badugi poker sites at a range of stakes. Different games use different limits too. It’s important you get an understanding of the betting structures before opening a table.
Most online Badugi tournaments and cash games are played with Limit betting. There is a minimum bet for the early rounds tha doubles for the final betting rounds.
For example, in a game of $3/$6 Limit Badugi, the minimum bet or raise for the first two betting rounds would be $3. This increases to $6 for the final two rounds of betting.
Pot Limit betting will be familiar if you have played Omaha. In Pot Limit Badugi poker, your maximum raise is the size of the pot after you have made a call.
Half Pot Limit
Half Pot Limit Badugi poker games set a maximum raise of half the size of the pot following a call. This helps to keep the pots getting out of control.
Badugi Poker Betting Strategy
Badugi strategy is easy to learn if you understand lowball games. The aim of the game is to make a Badugi, or as close to one as possible. Remember, if you get four cards of different suits and ranks, it might be good enough to win regardless of your high card.
For example, you may decide to discard the 10 on a hand of A-2-3-10 to make A-2-3-K. Your opponent takes a similar risk, discarding the J on a hand of A-2-5-J. Unfortunately, they draw a 5, pairing the other 5 to make a three-card Badugi and worsen their hand.
The skill of Badugi poker online is knowing when to let your hand go. If your hand is still poor by the later rounds and you need to get rid of lots of cards, just fold.
You can also stand pat (check) to bluff. As in all draw games, standing pat early on shows that your hand is strong.
Finally, look at what other players are doing when they draw new cards. If a player keeps drawing one card, for example, they likely have a three-card Badugi which they’re trying to improve.
Jon Young is a writer and magazine editor with over 12 years' experience in the gaming sector. He has written on everything from poker and slots to casino, sports betting and mobile gambling. When not trying to take down the Mega Moolah jackpot he can be found playing poker tournaments in casinos.