Memory: What not to forget

During games of Wokda I am often asked what I remember about which cards have been played and how I can possibly know that my opponent is holding triple eights. The how will have to be topic of a future post but today I shall be going through some of the basics of what you should be keeping track of during a hand of Wokda.

Aces

As the highest standard value of card, the Ace holds a lot of power and being able to account for all the aces is important. For example, if you know that two aces have been played and you hold the other two, this assures you of two things:

  1. If you play a king on a singleton trick nobody will be able to beat it without a bomb.
  2. If you lead a singleton trick, you are guaranteed to be able to eventually be able to play your own ace and win the trick, barring any bombs or a couple of cases involving special cards.

Being aware of these scenarios will enable you get rid of any low single cards in your hand without having to fear an opponent will steal the trick and immediately go out with a long straight. There are of course bombs to consider and tracking the possibility of bombs will be covered later.

Kings

Although not as high as an ace, it is still important to keep track of how many kings have been played. Once the aces have been exhausted then kings will hold the same power as aces. Additionally, it can be helpful to know when an opponent likely does have a king if you are holding an ace. In this circumstance you may be able to play a lower card such as a queen which you wouldn’t normally expect to win with but if they think you are holding the ace they may choose to pass instead beating it with their king.

Finally, if someone plays a king at an unusual time, this can be an indicator that they are holding the red eight and are looking to clear the way in order for a queen to be lowered into bomb of four Jacks. You should therefore now attempt to prevent that player from ever getting the opportunity to play the red eight. Avoid playing singleton cards lower than this.

This logic can be applied to all values of card below the king too, but there is a significant diminishing return below this value so I would recommend sticking with aces and kings for the moment.

Special Cards

Some of the special cards can be particularly meddlesome so it is key that you pay attention to which ones have been played and how that might interfere with your play. In particular:

  • Zero
  • Three
  • Four
  • Six
  • Seven
  • Ten
  • Jack

For example in the scenario mentioned earlier where you hold all the remaining aces, leading with a singleton two may leave you vulnerable to an opponent playing the three to pass you an unwanted card, or the four to skip your turn resulting in you losing the trick despite holding the only ace.

Possible Bombs

It’s always worth being aware of any bombs your opponents could have. This may sound like a daunting tasks but it’s often surprisingly simple. Consider the follow starting hand:

In this scenario, the potential four of a kind bombs that the opponents may already have are:

  • Threes
  • Sevens
  • Jacks

All other four of a kind bombs have already been blocked. You simply need to observe when one of each of these is played and then you will know that bomb is no longer possible. In the case of threes and Jacks, two must be played to account for the special cards that increase the number of these available.

It is also worth considering what bombs may be created using either the red ace or eight. Unless you hold both of these cards, or they have been played by your partner, you must also consider the values for which you have only one blocker. These are:

  • Twos
  • Fours
  • Fives
  • Sixes
  • Nines
  • Tens
  • Aces

Aces can immediately be crossed off the list as a n additional ace can’t be created with the red ace or eight. For each of the others you must keep track until at least one has been played as there is the potential an opponent could have a surprise bomb. Additionally, instead of discounting the cards from the first list, once a single card has been played, that value should be added to the second list in order to continue to keep track.

You should also consider straight flush bombs. With this hand there are only a limited number of these possible:

  • Green nine to king
  • Green ten to ace
  • Blue three to seven
  • Blue four to eight
  • Blue five to nine
  • Blue six to ten
  • Blue seven to Jack
  • Black two to six
  • Black three to seven
  • Almost any red five card straight using either the red five or red queen.

In this scenario you can select just six cards that once seen, will block all possible straight flush bombs. For example although there are five possible blue straight flushes of length five or more, all of them must contain a blue seven, or the red seven.

Therefore in order to know that there are no possible straight flush bombs in play, you only need to watch out for:

  • Any green card from ten to king
  • Blue or red seven
  • Any black card from three to six
  • Red five and queen

Once those have been played you no longer need to worry about a straight flush bomb, except from a player who has played the red ace.

Confirmed cards

You should also remember which cards you have passed to each player. For the card you have passed to your partner, you can consider this as if it were in your own hand the majority of the considerations above.

For the cards you passed to your opponents, you should remember these until they have been played as they are a confirmed card that exists in their hand, unless changed by the red three, eight or king.

The same is true for the red seven, and any cards picked up by the ten. These should also be remembered.

Summary

In summary, these are the basic things that you should be keeping track of during a hand in order to ensure you have the information available to able to make optimal decisions while playing.

How to approach remembering all of this information will be the subject of a future post.

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