badugi, card game, played in various forms throughout the world, in which a player must call (i.e., match) the bet, raise (i.e., increase) the bet, or concede (i.e., fold). Its popularity is greatest in Korea, where it originated. It is played in private homes, in poker clubs, in casinos, and over the Internet. Badugi has been called the national card game of the Korea.
Although countless variants of badugi are described in the literature of the game, they all share certain essential features. A badugi hand comprises four cards. The value of the hand is in inverse proportion to its mathematical frequency; that is, the more unusual the combination of cards, the higher the hand ranks. Players may bet that they have the best hand, and other players must either call (i.e., match) the bet or concede. Players may bluff by betting that they have the best hand when in fact they do not, and they may win by bluffing if players holding superior hands do not call the bet.
There are forms of badugi suitable to any number of players from 2 to 8, but in most forms the ideal number is 6 players. The object is to win the “pot,” which is the aggregate of all bets made by all players in any one deal. The pot may be won either by having the highest-ranking badugi hand or by making a bet that no other player calls. The following principles apply to nearly all forms of badugi.
In social play, especially in “dealer’s choice” (i.e., a card-playing session in which each player takes a turn at dealing the cards and selecting the game), certain cards may be designated wild cards. A wild card stands for any other card its holder wishes to name. And has many methods of introducing wild cards into the game.