The 4-L Badugi tournament at SCOOP (Spring Championship of Online Poker) 2012 generated quite a buzz despite the fact that this niche game was only just added to the exciting event two years ago. Kami Chisholm aka drkamikaze1 scooped up the top prize, the first for the fairer sex in the event. She had won $47,000, finishing second at WCOOP PLO8 back in ’09 and seems to have her poker strategy right. The Badugi win did its bit to position her impressively on the SCOOP leaderboard in an event that observers will agree, was perhaps the most exciting ever. Hosting the most players from 156 countries and awarding the most cash ever for a PokerStars poker tourney series ($65,332,179) SCOOP 2012 was noteworthy in every sense of the word.
Event 4-L Badugi – The action as it unfolded
The Badugi SCOOP event saw 2,303 runners vying for the top draw – a prize pool of $57,575, more than twice the $25,000 guarantee announced originally. The first place winner would take home $9,899.12 of the pool. Cashing in 4-L were some familiar Team PokerStars Pros like Lex Veldhuis , Kristian “CharismA3” Martin, Marcin “Goral” Horecki and Anders “Donald” Berg.
Coming back to drkamikaze1’s Badugi win, she had to battle it out with FreddyErt for a few hours before emerging victorious. In the first big hand of the game, drkamikaze1 steered clear of elimination, doubling up to almost four million. Her 9-5-4-A Budugi against an 8-3-A played by FreddyErt saw her win the pot, and from then on, she went from strength to strength, and bagged the lead by winning a pot worth 5.5 million with 5-4-2-A. FreddyErt bounced back with a counterattack and proceeded to recoup his lost chips quickly. Following a few quiet minutes of play, drkamikaze1 made an 8-4-3-A Badugi after a two card draw. FreddyErt’s reaction to this? “Really sick” – he exclaimed after drkamikaze1 landed the blow!
Two more hands and drkamikaze1 sealed the deal. The final hand saw FreddyErt opening to 50,000 and drkamikaze1 calling from the big blind. She discarded two on the first draw while FreddyErt drew only one. At betting time, drkamikaze1 checked, upon which FreddyErt fired out 250,000 and 500,000 was check-raised by drkamikaze1. The second draw saw both discarding one card, and on a bet of 500,000 by drkamikaze1, FreddyErt called.
The last draw saw the two players discarding one card again, before she went all out with 500,000. An all-in call for 391,524 by FreddyErt followed, though he fell short of improving his 9-7-4 hand and drkamikaze1 claimed full ownership of the pot with a 4-3-A 3-card hand, better than FreddyErt’s. Runner-up FreddyErt took home $7,880.76 and drkamikaze1’s first SCOOP title netted her $9,003.72 in prize money.
drkamikaze1’s interview with PokerStars Women
In an interview with PokerStars Women, Kami Chisholm spoke about her Badugi SCOOP win. She admitted that though not her favorite game, she enjoyed playing it, and hoped to play it more. On the question of Badugi being a tough game to master, Chisholm said that she learnt the game by just starting to play, much like she did with other limit games. Chisholm added that there are not many Badugi Multi Table Tournaments above micro-limits, which she doesn’t play anymore.
What’s drawing players to Badugi?
A poker game that is more different than the rest, Badugi shares some similarities with low ball though rules on hand development are different. A player has to make the most of 4 cards and the game has three draw phases. Same suit cards and pairs are not necessary to make a Badugi hand; the player with the lowest hand wins. A 4 card hand trumps a 3 card hand, straights don’t count while aces have a low value. A ‘Badugi’ or the best possible hand is an A-2-3-4 off-suit. Basic strategy dictates that players should focus on forming a 4 card hand.
The intrigue and fun offered by the game are its USPs. Without exposed or community cards, players have little information on opponents’ cards. Bluffing is not of much value here, and being a triple draw game, the chances of improving the hand with every draw is very high in Badugi. In other words, players don’t tend to feel vulnerable with their holdings and it is a difficult task to convince opponents that they have equity to fold their hands. Badugi experts believe that it should be played from a more mathematical point of view as opposed to mastering the ‘big moves’ associated with a typical game of poker. Badugi is deceptively simple and its subtleties make it a challenging game to pursue.
Badugi is said to have originated in South Korea, with early record of the game being played dating to the 1960s. This action-packed form of draw poker with unique hand rankings has attracted attention in the United States over the years. At PokerStars for instance, thousands of punters play Badugi cash tournaments, cash games, Sit ‘n’ Gos and Multi-Tables. With the likes of SCOOP and WSOP adding Badugi to the mix, it is not difficult to fathom the game garnering more followers and fans.