This article is all about online badugi and it’s history. There is certainly a lot of history when it comes to badugi in general, and you are going to learn today how it made the transition from a live game to online, and how it continues to grow in popularity till this day and age.
First lets start of with some of the origins of the game. Although the official story is unclear, it is generally agreed upon that the game of badugi poker originated in South Korea. It is extremely similar to lowball triple draw games, and has been called many different names over the years, such as Padugi, Padookie and Padooki. Although it has been called by many names, badugi is the official internationally recognized name for this classic poker variation.
On to the controversial history of Badugi. It was widely believed that the game originated in the late 1960’s in South Korea, although it went by the name of Padugi or Padooki. The problem is, even though people were pretty sure about the region of origin, nobody knew who the inventor or inventors were. That is until Paul Eskimo Clark came back from the Vietnam war, laying claim that he himself invented the game while on military duty, and then brought it back to the United States. While there is no doubt that Paul Eskimo Clark indeed was the man who officially brought badugi poker to the United States, there is no proof that he is the actual inventor of the game. People are very critical of his stance as the inventor of badugi poker, however, the fact that he is known to have brought it to the USA lends plenty of credibility to his story. Even if he picked up this Asian game from a small town or village, he could have modified it enough to slap the name Badugi on it and call himself the inventor with integrity.
It’s good to mention the original history of the game before getting into the online history, as some people assumed it was a brand new form of poker created by Pokerstars, which is far from the truth. As you will learn, they weren’t even the first, or even second online poker room to feature badugi poker, albeit they are now outright leaders in badugi traffic.
While the history and tradition of live badugi is certainly rich, it was only recently that the phenomenon really took off online. The game of badugi poker first appeared online at the “Tribecca Poker Network”, which is now known as ipoker. There were several games and limits going on in ring games as well as tournaments. After the Tribecca network transformed to the iPoker network, badugi poker was scratched off the game list for unknown reasons.
Shortly after badugi poker was taken off of the iPoker network, Poker.com and the Merge network saw an opportunity. So in 2008, Poker.com introduced online badugi poker in their network, to great response from players. The badugi poker games there ranged from small stakes to medium stakes, with both ring games and tourneys going full swing. It had pretty popular player traffic for quite a long time, and to this day the Merge network still has badugi poker.
Seeing the success that the Merge network was having with the badugi games, the inevitbale foot out of the sky came from giant poker room Pokerstars, as they themselves introduced tons of badugi poker games on their own site. You simply go to the Pokerstars ring games or tournaments, use the filter to highlight only badugi games, and be amazed. The traffic is booming right now for badugi games at Pokerstars and it is by far the best place to play online right now. Unfortunately you cannot play badugi poker or any poker for real money at PokerStars if you are from the USA, but you’re in luck if you’re from other countries.
You can still play online badugi poker at any of the fine Merge poker rooms as well, so that is definitely an option for many of you folks. For the rest of you, especially if you have not signed up to Pokerstars, do so now. If you’re a player, you can get right into the real money action at the stakes you like. If you are a total rookie or don’t have money just yet, they even have badugi freerolls where you can win real money without entry fees!