Remember training Texas Hold ‘Em where you spent years trying to remember all the hand combinations, when to bluff, when to fold, when to go all-in like never before? Well, it’s time to throw all that out of the window and play a poker game which makes your knowledge irrelevant. Jokes aside, Baduci is still a game of poker — hence all the similarities with your regular poker game. It’s a variant of draw poker where the strongest poker hands are, in fact, low hands, with a few other twists.
Over the years, people have been calling this game by different names — Baduci, Badeucey, Badacey, or Badaci (but never Baduku, and don’t google that). Now, despite your tongue twisting preferences, you sexy devil, the rules remain the same. Essentially, Baduci poker is a compound of two other draw poker games — Deuce to Seven Triple Draw and Badugi. As such, the pot is divided between two players, similar to high/low poker. The first winner is the player holding the best Badugi hand, whereas the second victor is the one holding the best 2-7 Triple Draw hand, according to triple draw rules.
To learn how to play Baduci, we first need to get to the bottom of how the parent games pan out.
Deuce to Seven Triple Draw Poker
Unlike other low games, in 2-7 Triple Draw, you can only use the Ace card as a high number, while also avoiding Straights and Flushes as best as you can. Hence, the ultimate Baduci hand is actually 2-3-4-5-7 (called the wheel), where at least one card has a differing suit. Meaning, there are exactly five cards in play.
The game starts when the dealer deals five cards facing down. Before that happens, though, the (first) player left of the dealer needs to chip in a small blind, whereas the player after him needs to pay a big blind. That’s the part which it shares with regular Texas Hold ‘Em. After that, betting takes place in a clockwise direction for a whole round. You can check, raise, call, or fold. So, betting stays the same.
Moving on, after the betting’s done with, there’s a drawing round. During this period, players can discard any number of cards (from zero to a full hand), getting replacements for them by the dealer. There are three rounds of drawing and four rounds of betting. If, in the end, there’s more than one player still active (meaning they haven’t folded), they compare their hands.
Rankings and Betting
As we’ve said, you’re on the hunt for low hands, and the wheel is the strongest combination of cards you can hold. Next in line, called number 2, is 2-3-4-6-7. Number 3 is 2-3-5-6-7, and so on, you get the idea. When you’re not able to get five differently-faced cards (in regular poker rules, these would be five high-cards), you look to other combinations. The rankings, compared to regular poker, are turned upside down — a Flush loses to a Straight, Pairs are stronger than Three of a Kind, and so on. Consequently, a Royal Flush is virtually the worst hand you can get.
Next, 2-7 Triple Draw Poker can also have a no pot limit (meaning that you can go all-in at any point) or it can come with a fixed limit. In a $30/$60 game, for instance, for the first two rounds, the dealer accepts only low bets of $30, while in the last two rounds, you have to make big bets of $60.
A game originating in the East, Badugi is similar to 2-7 in the sense that, in it, you’re also looking for low-card hands. The major distinctions between the two are that you play with four cards (instead of 5) and that the Ace is always considered a low card. In this game, you don’t have Pairs and you ignore Straights. As a result, the best possible combination of cards in Badugi is 4-3-2-A, all of different suits.
The aim of the game is to obtain the best possible four-card hand that the players call a “Badugi”. When comparing hands, you’re looking at the highest card. For example, 9-8-7-6 (a Nine-Badugi) will win against 10-5-4-A (a Ten-Badugi). If two players have the highest card of the same value you move on to the next in line. In the above example, if we replace the Ten with a Nine, the second player would win (as Five is lower than Eight).
Sometimes, you can’t create a Badugi hand. This happens when you end up with two or more cards of the same suit or value. For example, you’ve drawn a King and a Ten of Spades, a Queen of Clubs, and a Two of Diamonds. Don’t despair, you can still play the game with three cards. What you do is you just ignore the higher card of the two same-suited ones, meaning that your hand will now read: Q-10-2-x. But, a Badugi will always beat any three-card hand. Similarly, you can have a two-card hand, and a hand with just one card; with K-K-K-K being the worst possible hand you can get. There’s only one playable card with this combination — a King, which is worth the least.
Another similarity that made these two games fall lovingly in each other’s arms is the game progression — Badugi also uses blinds, and has betting and drawing rounds (four and three, respectively). During drawing rounds, you can replace up to four cards, or keep all of the ones you have.
Did you have the Birds and the Bees talk with your parents? Baduci came to be in the same manner, the difference being that one draw poker game pollinated the other. A few glasses of wine, a few well-timed jokes, and suddenly Badugi says: “Wanna come over?”. You know how it goes.
The rules of Baduci are a mixture of the aforementioned two. With that in mind, the biggest difficulty represents the Ace, as it works as both a high and a low card, but you can’t pick and choose when.
Baduci is played with five cards and it has three rounds of drawing and four rounds of betting as well. But, you know how annoying kids can be. They just have to be smartasses who meddle with everything and change things that needn’t be changed. This little rebel with its Sid Vicious posters in the bedroom was no different. In Baduci, you can change only three cards per drawing round.
In the end, if two or more players remain in the pot, a showdown of hands takes place. Basically, it’s like playing two different games at the same time. First off, you look at who has a winning Badugi hand (removing one of the five cards from the equation). Then, you look at who wins a five-card combination, with the rules of 7-2 Triple Draw. Each hand gets half of the pot. With that in mind, the ultimate goal of the game is to scoop the pot — win both halves of it.
To be great at Baduci, you need to practice and learn how to compare your hands according to both parent games. For example, A-2-3-4-5 would be amazing for Badugi, but Ace-high would bury you in 2-7. With that in mind, the best Baduci hand is the 7-2’s wheel — 2-3-4-5-7.
Other players’ behavior is one of the things you should keep in mind if you want to estimate how strong your hand is. If your opponent raises the bet and doesn’t discard any of their cards — it’s obvious they’re confident in having a strong hand, so you should consider folding.
As is the case with other poker games, play for free, at first until, you get a feel for the game. Good luck!