Badugi Rules and Strategy

Rules

Badugi, traditionally played in Asia, is gaining more and more popularity in Europe and the United States with the help of online poker. No books have been published yet about the game, the usual poker writers haven’t shared their secrets of the game so far. So, here is the perfect opportunity to learn.

If you have some knowledge, like majority of beginners, about Texas Hold’em and Omaha then Badugi will be completely different from those games you have played before. It’s a draw poker type of game where the best hand contains four different suits and the lowest one is the winning combination. Aces are always low, so the best Badugi hand is A-2-3-4 of four different suits. If you do not have four different suits then the lowest in three different suits is your best hand (no badugi). A-2-3 is a fairly strong hand, which in many situations is able to win a showdown. If during the draw, your hand is A-2-3 and everyone else is drawing, you still have the best hand, so be aggressive.

Before the Deal

Similarly, the blinds need to paid in this game as well, just like in Texas Hold’em. The player on the dealer’s left pays the small blind and the player to his left pays the big blind. Badugi is commonly played in limit, pot limit, or half pot limit forms.

The Deal

Each player receives four cards face down, the deal starts with the small blind, goes one by one clockwise until all players receive all four cards. Just like in Hold’em, the player sitting behind the big blind acts first. If he wants to play, either he must call the big blind or raise. The first draw comes after each player had a chance to act.

Each active player can draw up to 4 cards, but if they want, they can stop drawing anytime. After this, there is a round of betting, then the second draw, then another round of betting, and finally the third draw and the last round of betting. If someone called the last raise, then there is a showdown, when the remaining players reveal their cards. The strength of Badugi hands should be checked starting with the highest card so, for example, a 5-6-7-Q (Queen high) beats an A-2-3-K (King high).

Basic Strategy:

It is important to start with three low cards of different suits, because if you do not make a Badugi (4 different suits), and your opponent does not make a Badugi either then the three low cards can win in the end. It is worth playing and drawing with any three cards lower than 7. How high your 4th card should be will depend on the number of opponents, whether they are drawing or not and also you should think about how strong they are once they stand pat. From late position, you should perhaps play with any two cards of different suits that are not higher than 5. Always enter with a raise, and if you have an advantage in the number of cards being drawn (they draw 2, you draw 1) you should always bet.

Basic Online Blackjack Strategy and Staking Plans

Playing your blackjack online has advantages in so much as you can play any time you wish as long as you have an internet connection. That’s not hard these days particularly with the advent of the smartphone and apps. If you’re not at home on your laptop and fancy a few hands of blackjack to pass the time and ideally win some money you can whip out your internet enabled phone and off you go. However playing online means thinking differently that if your are at the tables at a traditional casino.

At the casino you are playing in a totally different atmosphere. You know how many decks of cards are in the shoe, how often cards are shuffles and things like that. Because you know these things you can, if that’s part of your game, try card counting and upping your bet size when you think your counting indicates things might be in your favour. However this is not necessarily so when playing online blackjack.

Why is that? Well, because you are playing with a machine. Some software designed to randomly generate numbers and cards. Card counting online is way less of an exact science that card counting at the casino. So because the circumstances are different your strategy needs to change accordingly. You can use basic blackjack strategy, sometimes known as perfect blackjack, with your next move based on the cards you have and what the dealer is showing. You hit, stand, split, draw or double-down according to a set of moves based entirely on what you have and what the dealer has. Such an approach has been mathematically tested and can, it is said, reduce the house edge to as low as one percent.

Strategy cards are available which set this out precisely. You can print one out and have it with you at all times whilst playing your blackjack online – something a high street casino will not let you do – and follow that exactly coupled with a staking approach. You may decide on a fixed level stake per hand knowing that your basic strategy approach is reducing the house odds as much as possible or you may decide to opt for something else.

Other staking plans include the Martingale (doubling your bet after each loss until you win a hand though do be careful as a few losing hands and you are in to eye-watering territory and could hit the table limit before you hit a winner) or perhaps the Fibonacci staking approach which involves adding together the two previous stakes to give you the amount your next bet. You follow the sequence until you hit a win. It looks like this: 1-2-3-5-8-13-21-34 and so forth. Other staking approaches are available with these being two of the more popular ones.

Wherever you decide to play your blackjack and whatever staking method you decide to use please never, ever play with money you cannot afford to lose. Set aside money you can comfortably do without should you lose and no more. Should you hit a nice winning streak have the discipline to stick to your plan and stop playing with a nice boost to your balance rather than risk giving it all back to the casino again.