In the game of Badugi the hand ranking system is different from “regular” poker. The strongest hands are those that have no pairs and four low cards, one of each suit. This is known as “Getting a Badugi” and the best “Badugi” to get would be (for example) As-2h-3d-4c. If two or more players achieve a “Badugi”, the winner is the one with the lowest “top” card in their hand. For example 3s-5d-7h-8c will beat Ah-2c-3d-9s.
If a hand reaches showdown and no player has a “Badugi”, the player with the best three-card or two-card hand wins the pot. For example, if you hold 8h-5d-3s-Ah, you have two hearts, so the highest one is ignored, leaving a 5-3-A-x. That hand is known as a ‘Three Card Five’, and would lose to any “Badugi”, but it would beat 7h-5d-4d-3s (the highest diamond is ignored, making a ‘Three Card Seven’, 7-4-3-x).
All three-card hands, in turn, beat all two-card hands. For example, Ad-As-2d-2c is a “Two-Card Deuce” (2-A-X-X, because there are two pairs). It’s even possible to have a “One Card” hand; for example, Qd-Jd-8d-4d has four cards of the same suit, so three of them are ignored, leaving just the 4d, a “One-Card Four”.
Examples of a Badugi
Examples of “Three Card Hands”
- 2h-6d-6c-9s (2-6-9-x The second 6 is ignored)
- 3h-5d-7s-Qh (3-5-7-x The higher heart is ignored)
- Ad-4s-5d-7c (A-4-7-x The higher diamond is ignored)
Examples of “Two Card Hands”
- 4h-4d-4c-6s (4-6-x-x Two of the 4s are ignored)
- 6c-7s-8s-9s (6-7-x-x Both the higher spades are ignored)
- Ah-Ad-2c-3h (A-2-x-x Both the second Ace and higher heart are ignored)
Examples of “One Card Hands”
- 4d-7d-8d-Td (4-x-x-x The three highest diamonds are ignored)
- Ad-As-Ah-Ac (A-x-x-x Three of the Aces have to be ignored – Sorry!)