Badacey Rules and Basic Strategy

Rules of the Game

Badacey is a split pot game where the object is the make the best ace to five low along with the best badugi.  Straights and flushes do not count against you so the best low is simply any A2345.  In Badugi you aim to get the lowest hand possible with cards in different suits and of different ranks.  If you obtain a hand with four unpaired unsuited cards you have a badugi e.g 8♣ 7♥ 5♦ 2♠.

In Badacey the aces are always considered low so the best possible hand for the badugi half would be A234 of all different suits.  If you do not have a badugi then your hand is considered “incomplete”.  If you have three unpaired unsuited cards (e.g. J♠ 8♠ 5♥ 2♣ or 8♠ 5 2♣ 2) you have what is known as a three card badugi or tri hand.  As in regular Badugi, any badugi beats a tri hand.


Badacey has become one of the more popular games; it is almost always included in any mixed rotation that includes draw variants.  It is slightly less prevalent than its close cousin Badeucey, but more often than not both games are usually included in the mix even though they are very similar to each other.

Basic Strategy

Badacey is a split pot game and as such your main goal is to play hands that have a chance to win both halves of the pot.

Everyone is dealt five cards so it is much more likely that you will be dealt a badugi from the onset and the ability to draw two cards to a tri hand means that that the average badugi at showdown is much stronger.  Thus in Badacey you must discard any notion of starting with an eight or higher badugi and hope it holds it in a multi-way pot.  Even heads-up it is precarious because if you keep the eight badugi you are obviously capping the best five card low you can make at the eight.

Initially your starting hand selection and strategy should be geared towards making at minimum a seven low and a seven badugi.  It is very rare to be dealt strong pat lows or badugis from the onset so typically you will be entering a pot with a three card unsuited hand such as A♣ 3♥ 5.  Four cards, the 2♠, 4♠, 6♠, and 7♠ are extremely helpful in that you will make a badugi as well as gain at least a four card seven on the low side.  Twelve other cards, the remaining twos, fours, sixes, and sevens will give you at least a four card seven low with a tri.  At that point you have made progress towards building a hand that can scoop, or can hopefully at least get one half of the pot.  Drawing two with these sixteen “outs” you will improve one way or another approximately 57% of the time.

If you are lucky enough to make a strong badugi early the play is to bet and raise at every opportunity for both value and protection.  Even in the unfortunate situation that you do not have the best badugi you still have a chance to win the five card low side and still have hope to improve your badugi along the way.

Cards such as the 2, 4, and 6 will not give you a badugi but they are probably too valuable on the five card low side to consider discarding.  So they should be kept whether the pot is multi-way or heads-up.  The 7 is a more difficult decision.  Multi-way I would discard it but heads-up against a single player who drew two or three it is enticing to keep this improvement.  Your opponent may fear you have a strong badugi and fold after the second draw if they are still drawing two.  And when they don’t fold you have a lesser chance of being scooped because you would be the favorite on the five card low side.

If the object of the game is to scoop your opponents, the opposite is also true in that you must try and prevent yourself from being scooped.  On the river, unless the pot is small you should tend to call if you have a reasonable chance to win one way or another.  It is not out of the question that your opponent has a hand like 2♣ 3♥ 4♥ 7♦ 7♠ in which case you will often have a hand that will scoop.

Starting Hand Standards

Since it is a split pot game you must be play tighter in early position than you would in one winner games.  But as you progress to the later positions you can open much wider as you now have valuable position and possibly a chance to win uncontested.  Below is a reasonable set of opening ranges by position:

Early position:  (10.3% Hands)

  • Good Pat 7s or better
  • Four Wheel Cards (e.g. 2345) – Rainbow or w/ Three Suits
  • Four to a Six (A256) – Rainbow or w/ Three Suits
  • Three Wheel Cards Rainbow
  • A26-A46 Rainbow

Hijack:  (13.6% Hands)

  • Early Position Hands
  • Any Three to Six Rainbow

Cut-off:  (23.9% Hands)

  • Hijack Hands
  • A27-A57, 237-257, 347, 357, 457 Rainbow
  • Four Wheel Cards (e.g. 2345) – Two Suits
  • Three Wheel Cards w/ Two Suits

Button:  (40.4% Hands)

  • Cut-off Hands
  • Four to a Six – Two Suits
  • Three to a Six – Two Suits
  • A2-34 Rainbow

Further Learning

No published material exists on this game nor is there very much in the way of online resources.  Be on the lookout for more material on countingouts.com.