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It's Time To Learn - Badugi - PokerStars
Learn how to play winning Badugi with this strategy article written by Matthias 'Mati312' Brandner of PokerStars Team Pro Online.

It's time to learn… Badugi!
There are poker variants out there that aren't as common and known as the main poker games – one of them is Badugi. Maybe you already heard of it, maybe you even tried it already. For those of you who didn't – it's a drawing game, consisting of 3 drawing rounds. You're getting dealt 4 cards, and there are two goals: Getting all of those 4 cards in different suits, and getting them as low as possible. Thus, A234, in all different suits is the best possible hand. That's the basic gist of it – in case you're not familiar with the complete rules you can check them out on the Pokerstars Website:
The main benefit of Badugi is that it's a niche game, that not a lot of people know how to play. This means, you can built up far bigger edges than with the traditional games that have been competitively developed for years already.
Apart from small pieces of information, there isn't a complete handbook out there for learning Badugi, which is another reason why there's so much more value to be gained if you gain some insight, so I want to share some basics with you to point you in the right directions and answer some FAQs:
  • Badugi variance is quite low compared to other games – 300-500BB Bankroll Management can be sufficient. I myself never had Downswings larger than 200BB in 5 years of playing.
  • The only public tracking program out there is called „FPDB", in case you're looking for one.
  • Figure out predraw opening ranges. To give you a really rough idea: 10 Badugis and 3card 6 from EP, add J badugis and 3card 7 from MP, add any Predraw Badugi, 3card 8, and some good 2cards from LP.
  • Be aware of basic statistics, such as: Average Predraw Badugi is a Queen. Average Draw2 -> Pat Hand is a bad Ten. Average Draw 1 -> Pat is an 8.
  • Apply those basic statistics in your game. When you know that the average predraw Pat hand is only a Queen, this information might be used by you and others
  • Learn to valuebet properly. This requires feel about the game dynamic so you mostly need practice, and it requires knowing your opponent and his calling ranges.
Lowest stakes for Badugi on PokerStars is $0.25/$0.50, so it's not that costly to just give it a go. There will be some low cost satellites running too. I think if you take a little while to just look at the basics and apply it to a good metagame – meaning to evaluate your opponents and try to do some exploitation, you can rather quickly gain an edge.

Matthias 'Mati312' Brandner

Follow Matthias on Twitter @matipoker and keep up to date with all the PokerStars Team Pro Online players @PSTeamOnline

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