Fixed Limit Badugi Poker
Any fixed limit or FL poker game means that players are not allowed to go all-in or bet everything on a given hand and this includes the game of badugi. Basically, players are only allowed to bet in fixed increments of the stakes set on a particular table. It turns out that there are not any no-limit badugi games because the nature of the game would not allow for much skill with people going all in with no community cards. This is why no-limit tables in badugi do not exist.
PokerStars is the most popular and one of the only online poker rooms for badugi and they almost always have fixed limit tables. You can also find pot-limit and half-pot-limit badugi tables as well, but usually only in tournaments and sit-and-go tourneys. The smallest stakes for this game are $0.25/$0.50, which means the big blind is 50 cents and the small blind is 25 cents or a quarter. The high stakes fixed limit rooms are $400/$800. Personally, I believe PokerStars would have more people playing if they lowered the limits even further like they do for some of the more popular games. Then again, their policies can easily chance since the time of this writing.
So let's get down to some strategy and information about fixed limit badugi. First of all, there are 4 rounds of betting. The first two betting rounds require players to bet in increments of the small blind. The last two rounds allow players to bet in limited proportions of the big blind. Players can make a capped maximum of 4 bets per round. This means that people can raise and re-raise up to a certain amount of times. For instance, if everyone on the table raises, re-raises and calls with $0.25 bets, then each person can only bet a maximum of $1 during the first two rounds and $2 for the last two rounds if you are playing stakes of $0.25/$0.50.
Fixed limit games are not good for bluffers, especially though who play on no-limit games and wager all of their chips. They only have limited control of how much money can go into the pot and scaring people out. In badugi poker, there is some strategy involved with the starting hand and even bluffing at that point in time. Also remember that more people on the table means less odds of winning because of the high variance involved and the likelihood of many people staying in and calling small fixed bets.
It is pretty interesting to note that fixed limit games were the norm not too many years ago and in the old days. It also requires much better strategy since players could no longer go "all-in" and some experts agree with this as well. It also makes people pay attention to other players and the pot odds more closely as well as each action during the draw rounds when people draw more cards in order to make a badugi.
People who enjoy bluffing and use it in their NL (no limit) strategy need to do things differently in limit games. The first disadvantage is that these players can no longer dramatically alter the pot odds as easily and get people to fold. These kind of bluffs are commonly known as "donk" or "dark tunnel" bluffs. So if someone is doing an all out straight bluff and no one raises, basically the next person can just call a fixed limit bet, equal to the size of the small or big blind.
So really, badugi requires a different type of bluffing such as doing it right after the starting hand is dealt or using the "stand pat" strategy by not drawing any cards. In limit badugi, standing pat is one technique players can use to bluff and make others assume that you have a great four-card hand and do not need any more cards. Betting and raising at the point also enforces your bluffing strength even more. So in the end, fixed limit badugi adds more strategy to the game and requires more thinking as well.