Obviously, badugi sounds like it is foreign, unlike Omaha or Texas Holdem and it is also a game that is relatively unknown, but quickly becoming more popular. The history and the story behind the game is actually very interesting and the game itself is relatively modern, which might come as a surprise to many. I wrote a detailed article about the history and origins of badugi poker awhile back, but I will write a short summary of it here on the blog.
The origins of badugi are not so clear but one thing is certain is that the game was likely invented in the 1970’s. The most common theory is that the game was created in South Korea and eventually made it’s way to the United States by a man named Paul Eskimo Clark. Paul was a soldier in the Vietnam War and it was told that he learned the game from a Korean and Paul eventually introduced it to the US.
Although, Paul Clark himself claims to be the inventor of the game and that someone else brought it to Korea instead. Although, many of the experts agree that the first theory was correct. The name of the game is just as mysterious because badugi is also known as padooki and a few other names that were widely used in Las Vegas gambling halls. Some believed at one time that the name originated from a Korean cartoon character about a dog but historians debunked this theory because the game was invented and named a few years before the animation. There is even more mystery behind how the name itself is pronounced. The most common pronunciation is (Bah-Doo-Gee) and this seems to be the accepted way of saying it and even the professionals use this one.
Badugi is becoming much more popular due to PokerStars and Carbon Poker, both which accept the game. Typically, there are between 100 and 500 players on given day playing this game online. Besides the ring and cash games, there are also major tournaments for badugi and even freerolls. The entire history and details about the game at these poker rooms is in the article, but these two places have the game available to play online and it’s only been around for just a few years as other places discontinued the game.