Badugi has a different ranking of hands than traditional poker. Although every player has four cards to use, the rules of the game require that certain cards be removed to construct a one, two, three or four card badugi hand. At the showdown (after all betting has concluded), a player is forced to remove the higher of any two suited cards and any paired cards from the four. This generates a badugi hand of one to four cards. Any four card badugi hand beats a three card badugi hand, three card badugi hands beat a two card badugi hand, and two card badugi hands beats a one card badugi hand. A four card badugi hand is often referred to simply as a “badugi”.
Two badugi hands containing the same number of cards are evaluated by comparing the highest card in each hand (where ace is low). As in lowball, the hand with the lower card is superior. If there is a tie for the highest card, the second highest card (if there is one) is compared. If the ranks of all the cards in the badugi hand are the same the two hands tie. As with standard poker games, suits are irrelevant in comparison of two hands.
Here are a few examples:
- 2♠4♣5♦6♥ beats A♠2♣3♦7♥ (both are four card hands) since the highest card is compared first and the 6♥ is smaller than 7♥.
- 4♠5♣6♦K♥ beats 2♠3♠4♦7♥ the former is a four card hand and the second is a three card hand (the 3♠ must be discarded making the hand 2♠4♦7♥).
- 2♠3♠4♦7♥ beats 4♠5♠6♦K♥ both are three card hands, the highest in the first is the 7♥ while the highest in the second is the K♥.
- 5♦7♣K♣K♥ beats 2♠3♦K♠K♦ the former is a three card hand (made by discarding the K♣) the later is a two card hand (made by discarding the two Kings).
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