Monthly Archives: June 2020

Passing Cards Part 1: Banned Cards

Which cards should you pass to your opponents? There are a number of things to consider, which I’ll be covering in a series of posts on the subject of passing cards.

In this first post I’ll be covering the topic of banned cards. These are cards which one should never pass to an opponent, except in the most extreme circumstances. I’ll go through each card and detail why it is or is not acceptable to pass this card.

In each case, I am strictly talking about the non-special versions of these cards. All special cards hold a significant amount of power and should likely never be passed to an opponent.


This is simple and the first card on our banned list. If you can’t see why not to pass this card you should probably consider another pastime.


Passing a king should also be avoided. It’s not the absolute highest card but as it can only be beaten by an ace it’s still very powerful.


Queens are also on the banned list. Thanks to the red nine there are five potential queens in any given game which increases the likelihood of a four of a kind bomb.


As the name suggests, the Jack is perhaps the most powerful card in Wodka. With the red Jack, it is possible to form a three card bomb in your initial hand, or even a two card bomb at a later stage in the game. For this reason the Jack is also on the banned list.


A bomb formed of four tens is one of the strongest four card bombs as it can be used to take one of the preceding cards, which will often be an Ace. Therefore this is also on the banned list.


Passing nines to opponents is not only acceptable but should be actively encouraged. Any player wishing to Wodka may be forced to make a difficult choice should you pass them a nine.


The red eight is currently one of the strongest cards in the game. The ability to lower the value of one of the cards in your hand is extremely powerful. The one weakness of the red eight is that you must often play your high cards prior to playing it which can leave you vulnerable to losing the trick and never regaining the lead. Having multiple eights to play as a pair or a triple reduces this risk so to prevent this the eight is also on the banned list.


This is on the banned list and I don’t think needs any explanation.


Every five card straight contains a six or a ten, discounting any shenanigans caused by special cards. As players are more likely to be looking to play their low cards as part of a bigger trick, passing the six should be avoided so this is also on the banned list.


Fives are acceptable to pass to opponents.


The four is valued one higher than the three. See below for why this is significant. For this reason it is also on the banned list.


The three is one of the worst cards to pass. Similar to the queen, thanks to the red two there are five possible threes in play. In addition the red three adds a particularly nasty edge to a bomb which can ruin many hands. For this reason the three is also on the banned list.


The two is the lowest regular card and is an acceptable pass.


In summary, you should only ever pass these values to your opponents:

  • Nine
  • Five
  • Two

Circumstances when these rules can be broken will be the subject of a future post.