Badugi Bluffing and "Snowing"
In case you didn't know what "snowing" meant, it is actually a special type of strategy used in badugi poker (also used in other draw poker games) and it heavily involves bluffing. Basically, when a player does an all out straight bluff and "stands pat" by not drawing any cards, then they are using the "snow" strategy. Of course, they must not be holding an actual four card badugi, otherwise it wouldn't be bluffing.
There are certain times when a player should implement the snow strategy and bluff. Typically, this is done immediately after the starting hand is dealt, then players do not draw anymore cards and they bet on every round as a way to let other players think you have a monster hand when you actually do not. This strategy also works better when you have pot-limit rules rather than fixed limit because you can bet more money in order to ruin the pot odds and scare players off. This is much harder to do when the betting is fixed.
A major aspect of "snowing" is waiting until you are in the ideal position on the table. This position is when you are the last one to make a move or action. The button position is ideal because you can see what everyone else has done before making your own move. The small blind is typically the worst position to be in since players need to be the first ones to act.
If you have a somewhat decent starting hand or even a poor hand that consists of 2 or 3 cards, it may actually be wise to bluff as long as you are the last to act and no one has raised or re-raised the pot. This is usually a good indicator that no one really has a powerful badugi hand, unless they are slow-playing. If you read our advanced strategy guide, you can learn about different types of players to watch out for, so always study your players to determine if they are slow-playing a good hand and trying to set up traps against aggressive players.
The next important thing to look out for when doing the snowing strategy is what happens during the first draw. If players are drawing 2 or more cards, then things arevery good and you should continue snowing the table. Remember, the goal here for yourself is to not draw any cards and to stand pat in order to give the impression that you have a very nice 4 card badugi. You do not have to snow all the way through the round. In fact, if you are in an advantage with table position, you might want to draw a few cards to strengthen your hand as long as everyone else looks weak.
One last thing you should know: There is some advantage to getting 4 cards of the same suit, especially if they are lower numbers. The reason being, there are only 13 cards of a single suit in a deck of cards. If you get a flush of 4 cards, then there are only 9 remaining in play and you can use this information to your advantage. The chances are much lower that players will make a badugi. This is one opportunity to use the snow and bluffing strategy.
There are certain times when you do not want to snow. The most obvious one is when players are raising and re-raising the bets on the table. Either they have something good or they are also bluffing as well. If you go along and start re-raising, most likely two or more players will make it to the showdown and will not give in and fold. In the end, you will most likely lose if you are just bluffing, unless your hand is a little more decent.
Since badugi is generally a limit game, competitors are less inclined to fold, so remember this when playing fixed limit games. This changes of course if you are playing pot limit. One other thing to watch out for is when a player is standing pat and not drawing any cards but will only "check" and not bet anything. Most likely, they are trying to slow-play their powerful 4 card badugi hand but they do not want to scare people away. This is how passive players tend to trap aggressive players and win big. So avoid snowing the table when you notice this.
A few words of advice: Typically, you should not snow the table all the time since this is a good way for players to catch on to your bluffs. Eventually, players will not fold during bluffs. Although, this can be used to your advantage as a way to loosen up other players on the table. If you know the players or have a good read on them, then implement your own strategy about how you are going to "snow" and if you want players to believe you are bluffing. If they believe you are, you can actually take a major advantage over players with somewhat decent hands whenever you finally get your powerful hand. Your opponents will not know what to expect.