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Badugi Poker Hand Rankings and Values

The main objective in the game of badugi is to get the lowest hand. Aces are low in this game and are also the most powerful cards. Kings and face cards make up the worst hand in the game. Getting the lowest hand is not the only goal of the game though. Players need to make a hand that contains no matching values or suits. So if you have a pair of something or a small flush that consists of two cards of the same suit, than this hand loses value because one of the cards must be removed. We will explain how to rank particular values of cards and hands next.

One of the most important things you should do when ranking a badugi hand is to remember that any 4 card hand will beat out all 3 card hands. In turn, any 3 card hand will outrank all 2 card hands. Finally, any 2 card hand will beat out a single 1 card hand. Having only a single value is actually difficult to get and normally happens if you get four of a kind or a full flush, which is the worst possible situation you can have in badugi poker. This is a very important rule that ties into strategy as you determine the rankings of other players at the table.

The top 10 most powerful badugi hands

The table below shows the top ten hands you can get. This chart can be found on the badugi rules section in our article list as well. Basically, this shows in order the best badugi hand possible, which is an ace-low wheel or low-ball straight (A-2-3-4), to the 10th most powerful hand. Remember, each card must be of a different suit in order for these to qualify. Also, the name for a 4 card hand is just known as a badugi, which is the name of the game.

Badugi Poker Hand Rank Badugi Poker Hands
1 A 2 3 4
2 A 2 3 5
3 A 2 4 5
4 A 3 4 5
5 2 3 4 5
6 A 2 3 6
7 A 2 4 6
8 A 3 4 6
9 2 3 4 6
10 A 2 5 6

Determining the best, winning hand

When you are determining which hand has a higher value, you need to rank them by looking at the highest number. What you are holding is only as powerful as the largest number. For instance, which do you think would win in the rankings: A-2-3-8 or 4-5-6-7? If you said the second one, then you are correct. Here is another example: If someone has a A-3-5-6 and another person has A-2-5-6, which of the rankings would be the winner? Again, you are successful in your assumption if you chose the second one. Notice that if the highest cards, the 6's in this example, are equal or tied, then you must use the second highest ranking card. The 5's are also tied so you must use the third highest card. The 2 is lower than the 3 so this is the factor that determines the winning hand.

Be careful to note that we assumed just now that all of the cards were of a different suit and the final hand consisted of 4 cards. Many times, this will not be the case and you will have to learn how to deal with a situation where pairs and suited cards come into play with the rankings, which is what we will talk about next. Also, if two players end up in a tie or have the same hand, the pot will be split between them. Also, the different kind of suits will not determine strength of a hand like they do in some other poker games.

Rankings with pairs and suited cards

This is the part that might confuse players, so we added a few images from PokerStars to clear up any problems you might have in ranking the values of badugi hands. First of all, if a player gets a pair such as a pair of kings in some random valued hand like: 3-4-K-K, then they must discard one of the kings and be forced to settle with a 3 card hand of 2-4-K, given that none of the cards have the same suit.

Now if you end up with the same suit for instance in a hand like A-2-3-4, where the A and 2 are suited in spades, hearts, diamonds or clubs, then one card must be discarded as well. So in order to rank which card must be discarded, you should remember that the highest valued card (the weakest) will be removed and you can keep your strong card. In this example, you would discard the 2 and keep the Ace for a three carded hand of A-3-4. The same thing happens with three of a kind and four of a kind, except that players must discard 2 or 3 cards instead of 1. This also happens if more than two cards are suited.

There are even situations where players will be dealt suited cards and paired cards at the same time. This is something that players will have to deal with and doing it properly comes with good experience at the game. Players just need good skills in deciding rankings and the ability to know which cards to sacrifice or trade in during the draw round. The goal is always to keep the lowest valued cards so keep this in mind.

I added a few step by step illustrations and pictures of badugi hands and cards. This should help you learn how to rank the cards when you run into certain situations so browse through some of the examples below. Note that the shaded cards are the ones that are disposed and do not count in the rankings used to determine who wins.

1-card hands
1 card badugi hand with pairs
1 card badugi hand with suited cards

2-card hands
2 card badugi hand with pairs
2 card badugi hand with suited cards
2 card badugi hand with two pairs
2 card badugi hand with suited and paired cards

3-card hands
3 card badugi hand with pairs
3 card badugi hand with suited cards

4-card hands - Badugi
worst possible hand in badugi poker
best possible hand in badugi poker

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