How to Play Badugi Well

Posted on 07 Nov by admin | 54 Comments

badugi116Badugi is the latest poker game to hit the scene, and smart players are learning how to play it well now. This article will give you some valuable tips and advice. It’s a great game to specialize in because not that many knuckleheads know how to play it yet. And the ones that do seem to have misguided notions about proper strategy. In short, there is some pretty easy money to be had at the Badugi tables, even the higher stakes ones. With the recent addition of this game to Poker Stars, it’s only going to get better.

Badugi is a form of Triple Draw Lowball, with a couple of extremely important changes. The first is that you only get four cards. So it’s not really a traditional poker game as you are trying to make a four-card hand. What’s really unique about it, however, is that each playable card in your hand must be a different suit. The highest card in your hand which matches the suit of any other card in your hand doesn’t count. So very often a three-card hand will win, sometimes even a two-card hand.

A hand consisting of four different suits is known as a Badugi. They are fairly hard to come by. The worst Badugi therefore is king-high. Any Badugi (a 4-card hand) beats any three-card hand. Any three-card hand beats any two-card hand, but you will only be showing down 3-card hands in rare circumstances.

The trick to this game is the betting sequence. You need to get in tune with it and bet when you are supposed to, whether you have made a hand or not. When you run into resistance you had better have a hand or give it up.

Most of the time a king-high Badugi should be played aggressively from the start. Make them pay to outdraw you, because it is somewhat difficult to do. If your opponent stops drawing and starts raising you need to gauge their aggressiveness and sometimes call them down to pick off a bluff. Other times give it up. Whatever you do don’t break the Badugi and draw - it’s either call them down or fold.

You want to be drawing better than your opponent most of the time. That’s how you win. So the trick is to play tight without seeming like it. Therefore you should raise a lot early and play those early face-card Badugis aggressively in order to get action on your good hands.

The first thing you probably should do is become a good Triple Draw Lowball player, before moving to Badugi. It will teach you the flow of the game. Read Daniel Negranue’s chapter in Super System 2. Get some experience and learn how to play a patient, tight game.

I don’t know if Poker Stars in planning on offering a Pot Limit version of the game or not, but if they do you will be able to find me there. That’s the greatest game on earth in my opinion. I used to kill the half-pot-limit games at Doyles Room back i n the Tribeca days.

See you at the tables.

Online Poker Strategy

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Setting Up your Poker Opponents

Posted on 27 Oct by admin | 56 Comments

pins1026One aspect of online poker strategy has to do with setting your opponents up. What exactly does this mean? A basic explanation would be that you act one way early in the session because you plan on acting another way later in the session. The way you act early in the session plants an idea in your opponent’s mind about the way you play, which you will use to your advantage later. In fact you might even be intentionally sacrificing chips early on because you consider it an investment that you intend to recoup (plus dividends) later - although this can be a dangerous practice with online players you don’t know well. Typically you would employ this tactic against a single opponent whom you are targeting.

If all goes according to plan you will be taking your target’s stack a little later on, even after fattening it just a bit with your chips now. This is a sophisticated poker concept which many pros cannot even grasp. If you are able to understand it, and properly implement it into your regular game plan, you will be miles ahead of some pros and light years ahead of your targets.

Your target needs to display an exploitable weakness. It’s no use trying to setup other good players. They won’t fall into the trap and you will blow off chips unnecessarily attempting to set them up. Your target needs to be an action player. Somebody who will put his stack in trying to pick off your bluff, or put it in trying to bluff you when he thinks your bet looks weak.

Consequently the best type of opponent to try and setup is a maniac. Not the type who pops in and leaves soon. They need to be a regular maniac in your particular game. That way even if they leave before you can spring the trap you can get them on another day. (This is one of the reasons it pays to have a recognizable avatar.) What you want to do is bluff at them for small chips and either get caught or fold to their reraises. Then when you really have the goods you get them to put their stack in by making a similar action in a similar situation from the past when they caught you.

It’s worth spending your entire online poker career just hunting down players with even slightly maniacal tendencies and setting them up. That’s winning poker.


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Poker Stars Mixed 8-Game Strategy

Posted on 29 Sep by admin | 52 Comments

starstable929I have been playing the new mixed 8-game at Poker Stars and definitely recommend it for good players. While there are some drawbacks to the structure, the advantages more than make up for it. The mix of games is great, including an NL game and a PL game in the mix with 6 limit-structured games. This really throws a kink in the works for those who come unprepared. It’s a good solid mix of high games, low games, and high-low split. Sitting down at one of these tables is certainly going to keep you from falling asleep. If you keep your head screwed on it should be very profitable as well.

The drawback would be the 6-max table structure. Serious players and professional grinders generally prefer 8-max tables to reduce the effect of the rake and give more exposure to bad players. Six-max games get played short-handed a lot more so your heads up skills had better be at least decent. If you have never bluff-raised this might not be for you.

However 6-max does attract maniacs in all forms of poker and when one shows up it really helps your bottom line. Another good thing is that only six hands are dealt of each game. This is good because players get caught not knowing that the game changed from Stud to Hi-Lo split etc, especially on hand 1 of 6.

So your first strategy is to do player searches on everyone in the game and see who is multi-tabling (you, of course, should not be multi-tabling while playing this game). Those are the guys who will get tripped up on hand 1 of 6 not realizing the game just changed. Watch those guys for it and milk them for all you can get when this appears to be happening and you have a decent hand.

You also should not play above your bankroll tolerance. Other players will, and this gives you an automatic edge. They will be very leery of large bets and getting pot-committed while playing NL Holdem and PLO. Be prepared to bet and raise max in these two games more than usual as your pot equity goes way up.

It is critical that you play Stud Hi-Lo well. In this game the edge between good and bad players is very large. You want to be on the winning side of that equation, not the losing side! Brush up on this game before playing. I highly recommend Todd Brunson’s section of Supersystem 2. Read it through three times and get some experience in at the low stakes games.

While you have that book handy be sure to read through Daniel Negraneau’s Triple Draw section. This game is rather simple but some players won’t quite understand what’s going on, even if the rest of their games are pretty good. You can slowly bleed them in this game through that leak. In fact that’s what this is all about - you need be good at every game while some of your opponent’s will have weak links that you can expose. It’s a grind, but that’s poker.


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