Badeucey Part 1 – Introduction

Badeucey is a split pot game where the object is the make the best deuce to seven low along with the best badugi.  In Deuce to Seven Lowball straights count against you so the best possible low is 23457 that is not a flush.  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♠. 

Aces are considered high so the best possible hand for the badugi half is 2345 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. 

Badeucey has become one of the more popular variants to be included in mixed games.  Gambling players tend to really enjoy the game which helps keep its inclusion in mixes intact even though hands tend to run very slow.  However, the pots are often multi-way and very large and a good run of cards can send your chip stick soaring.

Introductory Concepts

As in all split pot games the goal is to scoop which typically leads to tighter hand selection being optimal especially in early position as you don’t know how many players will contest the pot.

It is extremely vital to realize that when compared to straight Badugi, a badugi is obtained much more often in Badeucey and they are on average much stronger.  Everyone is dealt five cards and thus has the ability to draw two to a tri hand.  This means that in Badeucey you should often discard initially dealt badugis as strong as a nine and in almost any situation ten badugis.  Even heads-up you can’t feel comfortable with a ten as the badugi is easily overdrawn and it caps up at a ten low in Deuce to Seven.  Keeping a nine badugi in a heads-up pot can be standard especially when villain may be drawing three however it is important to consider that in these pots many low cards may be live in the deck for your opponent to catch.

When compared with straight Deuce to Seven, the average lows shown down are slightly worse because it is generally considered optimal to first try and make a strong badugi and then fill the deuce hand in a free-roll situation.  Also one way hands such as 8 6♠ 3♠ 2♠ that could make a strong low should be folded unless it is played as a position steal against very tight players in the blinds. 

Holding the 8 6♠ 3♠ 2♠ winning the badugi side is nearly impossible and as most of us know very well it is not a sure thing that we will even win the low.  Against snug opponents the chance is there to win before the draw uncontested before the draw or when they call but fail to improve early.  Plan B is to escape with half the pot with a five card low.  However, a lot of pots go to showdown so you may need to rely on Plan B too often to make it profitable.

Initially your initial starting hand selection and strategy should be geared towards making a five card eight low and a seven badugi (or better hands) which will often put you in a position to scoop pots.  Typically with two draws to go that should still be your strategy, however as the hand progresses sometimes you may need to keep made low hands without a chance to win on the badugi side in order to increase the odds that you will win at least half of the pot.  If the object of the game is to scoop than it stands to reason that playing effective scoop defense is key to winning play.

Drawing Odds in Badeucey

Even when dealt five cards it is still very rare to be dealt a strong badugi right off of the deal.  Thus the bread and butter hands of Badeucey are three card unsuited holdings such as 2♣ 3 7♦.  How often will you improve this hand when you draw two cards? 

Since this is the first draw we are trying to build strong lows and badugis and thus will consider any card a nine or above as unimproved.  Later in the hand nines, tens, and even jacks can be kept especially when they also make a badugi but for now we will only consider non pairing cards eight or lower as helpers.

Four cards, the 4♠, 5♠, 6♠, and 8♠ are extremely helpful in that they make a badugi in addition to a four card eight on the low side.  Twelve other cards, the remaining fours, fives, sixes, and eights will give you at least a four card eight low to go along with your three card badugi.  Any of these twelve cards will probably help you enough that they should be kept as you are still building towards an eight low along with a good badugi. If successful your hand has definite scoop possibilities and one that is not easily scooped. 

There are forty-seven cards left in the deck, sixteen of which that will help you and thirty-one that will not.  Thus the probability of not improving at all (i.e. not making at least a four card eight) is (31/47)*(30/46) = 43%.

This means that we are a 57% favorite to improve one way or another. The table below shows the different ways we can improve and the approximate probabilities associated with them: (All probabilities below represent making an eight or better hand)

Eight Badugi and Eight Low 4%
Eight Badugi Only 14%
Eight Low Only 5%
Four Card Eight, No Badugi 34%
No Improvement 43%

When you are fortunate enough to make both a strong low and badugi you should be excited about your scooping prospects and should look to bet or raise for both value and protection.

Holding a premium badugi is also a strong position to be in as you will often be in a free-roll position where you have two more draws to make a good low.  With a five or six badugi you can look to put in a lot of action.  However, in the face of too much action with the worst six badugis you should slow down.  This would especially be the case with a 3456 as you cannot make a seven low.

Making a five card low without a badugi is still good improvement especially if you also reduce your tri hand in the process.   Suppose you started with the 2♣ 3 7; drawing the 5 and 8 will significantly improves your three card badugi to the second best one possible along with the tenth best low hand.   In a shorthanded pot you have a very good chance of scooping or at the very least you the odds are quite good that you will not be scooped.

Obtaining only the 4 is still very welcome improvement since you now have the best possible tri hand and a premium draw to a seven low.  This card should absolutely be kept no matter how many players are involved in the pot and how the action went down before the first draw. 

When we draw one to the 2♣ 3 4 7 there is still around a 4% chance that we will make both an eight (or better) badugi and low.  This is the situation that most often allows us to scoop and the probability is almost identical to when we draw two cards to 2♣ 3 7.  Now of course when we only draw one we are less likely to make a badugi however that is more than offset by the fact that our chances of making an eight low or better has increased dramatically.

As we have previously seen, drawing two cards we will obtain an eight or better badugi (14%) or eight or better low (5%) around 19% of the time.  However, when we draw one, we will make an eight or better badugi (7%) or eight or better low (26%) around 33% of the time.  This is a big difference maker as it is way less likely that you will be scooped.

It was a super easy decision to keep the 4, we should usually tend to keep any improvement as it should increase our overall expectation particularly in heads-up pots.  Further swaying the equation is the fact that when you draw one and play aggressively you represent a made badugi and do have some amount of fold equity against some opponents on either the turn or river.   However, most hands do go to showdown so it is imperative that you increase the odds of ending up with a holding that has some value one way or another.


Badeucey is a funny game in that some players complain that there is not much skill and that luck plays too major of a role.  But then by the end of the night many of these same players may end up semi-tanking tanking more than once because they have no idea to do and are lost in the hand.  This indicates that there are plenty of real decisions to be made and with them opportunity to gain a real edge over your opponents.  However, decisions are often easier when you start with a solid foundation of starting hands and that will be the focus of next month’s installment.