The Elimination Of Badeucy

I put in another session of high stakes poker at the Bellagio on Saturday, my longest yet at 10 hours. The game is scheduled at noon, but if you showed up at noon you would be out of luck as all the seats were filled about 10 minutes prior. I showed up just in time to get one of the last seats.

As I mentioned in my last blog, we play a 13-game mix with various betting forms from limit, to capped pot limit, and capped no limit. The one form of poker that is simply never played at the highest stakes is Badeucy and I applaud all the players in the game for keeping that format out of the mix. We do have a Badugi in the mix, but none of the split pot versions of the game.

I’m all for playing any mix of poker games, but some games just aren’t very good and I think Badeucy falls into that category for a number of reasons. For those unfamiliar with what Badeucy is, it’s a triple draw game played with structured betting where half the pot goes to the best 2-7 hand and the other half goes to the best Badugi hand. The best 2-7 hand is 2-3-4-5-7 and the best Badugi in this format would be 2-3-4-5 all different suits. So if you had 2c 3h 4s 5d 7d you would have “nut nut,” the best hand possible for both halves of the pot.

Some people really enjoy playing this game, but it is far slower than any of the other games as hands typically get to the river and people squeeze their cards for the “sweat” and there are three draws of that. The game also makes it quite difficult to find situations where you could bluff the whole pot since people will typically call on the river hoping to get half. You cannot “snow” in this game. A snow is when you stay pat with garbage pretending you have a made hand and then hope everyone misses. For example, lets say you were dealt 2-2-2-2-K in 2-7 triple draw. You could stay pat with that hand and play it aggressively knowing that no one could ever make a 7 since it requires having a 2 in your hand. Or in Badugi, you could have 2-3-4-5 all spades and decide to stay pat representing a made Badugi and hoping that none of your opponents make one.

I wrote a column many years ago talking about how pros need to adapt to new game formats rather than complain that it’s a stupid game. That’s still very true, but sometimes game formats are just stupid. For example, we could play the following game:

Texas Hold’em but you can only enter the pot if you have a spade in your hand which you’ll have to show at the end of the hand to win the pot. It’s still poker, but it means less players even have the option of entering the pot. We could add it to the mix, but it’s just a bit silly.

Another example would be to play Texas Hold’em but in order to bet or raise on the river you must have a straight or better. It’s a new game format players would have to adapt to, but it totally eliminates river bluffing. I don’t think that makes the game more fun or interesting at all.

I think the pros in the highest stakes game ultimately understood that a game like Badeucy in the mix would actually hurt their hourly earn. Less hands dealt, and less of a skill edge means that having the game in the mix would hurt the hourly of the winning players.

I’ve now logged 28 hours of cash poker in 2016 and while I started out with a couple wins, I’ve followed that up with a couple losses so I’m sitting at a +$17,200 profit. I’ve really been enjoying playing, but wish the games started a little bit later because my day schedule is usually booked with working on fitness goals.

I’d planned on sharing some interesting hands from my session on Saturday, but honestly, there really weren’t any. The capped format in the big bet games takes away some of the intricacies and I just didn’t find myself involved in too many tricky spots. I hope to play another session or two this week and will definitely share any interesting hands that come up.