Monthly Archives: August 2020

Evaluating Wodka Statistics

Like many card games that start with a randomized deal, there is a great deal of luck involved. Even a master such as myself cannot expect to win every hand as sometimes I simply won’t have the cards. Much of the skill in this game comes from making the most of the cards you are dealt.

This generally means maximizing the numbers of points you can gain on any given hand. Of course this starts with ensuring you are able to go out, but a key way to increase your points is to correctly place a Wodka or even a Grand Wodka.

Getting dealt all the aces plus an additional bomb is a great stroke of luck, but if all you do is secure a single point for going out, it is a missed opportunity as you likely could have gotten more points with a Wodka. In this article we’ll be looking at the Wodka Effectiveness Evaluation Score (WEES) for each of the players who have played more than 100 games in order to identify any patterns that may indicate point being left on the table or other bad habits.

PlayerWEES
Jack0.6653958095
Sunil0.429907215
Pawntoe40.3945576599
kobbo0.2714275
Almouse0.2419340323
tann0.03846273077

WEES

The WEES is calculated from the number of Wodkas and Grand Wodkas placed per game played, along with the average success rate. It is the average number of additional points per game that player secures by succeeding Wodkas and Grand Wodkas.

For example, with my current stats:

Jack

Games Played252
Wodkas Placed214
Wodka Success Rate66.8224
Wodkas per Game0.8492063492
Wodkas Succeeded per Game0.5674600635
Wodkas Failed per Game0.2817462857
Net points from Wodkas per Game0.5714275556
Grand Wodkas Placed74
Grand Wodka Success Rate54
Grand Wodkas Per Game0.2936507937
Grand Wodkas Succeeded Per Game0.1585714286
Grand Wodkas Failed Per Game0.1350793651
Net Points from Grand Wodkas per Grame0.09396825397
Combined Net Points (WEES)0.6653958095

This is probably as close to optimal as realistically possible. I have a positive success rate with both regular and grand Wodkas, and a relatively high number of Grand Wodkas placed per game. This clearly means I am excellent at evaluating when a hand is sufficiently strong to place a Grand Wodka. I don’t have the highest success rate or frequency for either regular or Grand Wodkas, but all four stats are consistently good across the board resulting in the highest WEES by a significant margin.

Sunil

Games Played214
Wodkas Placed166
Wodka Success Rate62.0482
Wodkas per Game0.7757009346
Wodkas Succeeded per Game0.4813084673
Wodkas Failed per Game0.2943924673
Net points from Wodkas per Game0.373832
Grand Wodkas Placed27
Grand Wodka Success Rate55.5556
Grand Wodkas Per Game0.1261682243
Grand Wodkas Succeeded Per Game0.07009351402
Grand Wodkas Failed Per Game0.05607471028
Net Points from Grand Wodkas per Grame0.05607521495
Combined Net Points (WEES)0.429907215

Sunil actually has a higher Grand Wodka success rate than I do. However when we look at the Grand Wodkas per game it’s at only half the rate at which I place them. From this we can learn that although Sunil does a good job of only placing winning Grand Wodkas, he is likely too conservative in doing so and is only placing a Grand Wodka with an overwhelmingly strong hand. Therefore he is missing out on points he could be getting with slightly lesser hand. This would likely reduce his Grand Wodka success rate slightly, but the average points per game could be increased.

Pawntoe4

Games Played147
Wodkas Placed145
Wodka Success Rate62.7586
Wodkas per Game0.9863945578
Wodkas Succeeded per Game0.619047415
Wodkas Failed per Game0.3673471429
Net points from Wodkas per Game0.5034005442
Grand Wodkas Placed46
Grand Wodka Success Rate45.6522
Grand Wodkas Per Game0.3129251701
Grand Wodkas Succeeded Per Game0.1428572245
Grand Wodkas Failed Per Game0.1700679456
Net Points from Grand Wodkas per Grame-0.1088428844
Combined Net Points (WEES)0.3945576599

Pawntoe4 has the highest number of Wodkas per game with nearly one and also a relatively high number of Grand Wodkas per game. Unfortunately in both cases the success rates are a little bit low meaning that this player is likely placing Wodkas with hands which are slightly too weak. I’m not sure if this player has a system for determining when it is acceptable to Wodka but if so, perhaps it should be re-evaluated.

Kobbo

Games Played112
Wodkas Placed78
Wodka Success Rate73.0769
Wodkas per Game0.6964285714
Wodkas Succeeded per Game0.5089284107
Wodkas Failed per Game0.1875001607
Net points from Wodkas per Game0.6428565
Grand Wodkas Placed14
Grand Wodka Success Rate12.8571
Grand Wodkas Per Game0.125
Grand Wodkas Succeeded Per Game0.016071375
Grand Wodkas Failed Per Game0.108928625
Net Points from Grand Wodkas per Gaame-0.371429
Combined Net Points (WEES)0.2714275

Kobbo has the highest success rate for regular Wodkas as well as the highest net points from Wodkas per game. She does also have a very low number of Grand Wodkas per game which suggests that strong hands which could have been a successful Grand Wodka are instead being left to be completed as a regular Wodka, resulting in a smaller number of points gained.

Almouse

Games Played124
Wodkas Placed103
Wodka Success Rate65.0485
Wodkas per Game0.8306451613
Wodkas Succeeded per Game0.5403222177
Wodkas Failed per Game0.2903229435
Net points from Wodkas per Game0.4999985484
Grand Wodkas Placed40
Grand Wodka Success Rate40
Grand Wodkas Per Game0.3225806452
Grand Wodkas Succeeded Per Game0.1290322581
Grand Wodkas Failed Per Game0.1935483871
Net Points from Grand Wodkas per Grame-0.2580645161
Combined Net Points (WEES)0.2419340323

As the founder of the “Never Wodka Club” you would expect Almouse to have a low number of Wodkas per game but strangely thgis is not the case. His stats for regular Wodkas are actually very similar to my own so I have no criticisms there. However he does have a rather disastrous success rate with Grand Wodkas so perhaps he should instead be joining the “Never Grand Wodka Club”.

Tann

Games Played208
Wodkas Placed122
Wodka Success Rate60.6557
Wodkas per Game0.5865384615
Wodkas Succeeded per Game0.3557690096
Wodkas Failed per Game0.2307694519
Net points from Wodkas per Game0.2499991154
Grand Wodkas Placed163
Grand Wodka Success Rate46.6258
Grand Wodkas Per Game0.7836538462
Grand Wodkas Succeeded Per Game0.365384875
Grand Wodkas Failed Per Game0.4182689712
Net Points from Grand Wodkas per Grame-0.2115363846
Combined Net Points (WEES)0.03846273077

Tann has an unusual approach to this game which is to apparently Grand Wodka any time the initial eight cards look remotely promising. This has resulted in a Grand Wodkas per game double that of any other player but unfortunately this hasn’t translated into success with a very negative net points from Grand Wodkas per game. Because Tann places such a high proportion of Grand Wodkas that means far fewer hands can be a regular Wodka resulting in a low number of Wodkas per game. Even those have the lowest success rate of all the players analysed here so perhaps Tann simply likes the look of red circles.

Summary

In summary, there is a delicate balance when choosing to place a Wodka or a Grand Wodka and these stats clearly show that despite what may sometimes be shown on the unofficial rankings or by merely looking at Wodka success rates, I am undoubtedly the best at striking that balance.

Guest Post: Card counting – the inferior strategy?

Editor’s Note:  It’s been a full month since the last ranking anomaly but once again the Kangaroo data is showing an improbable ordering of players. It is suggesting that Kobbo is currently the top ranked player and she is the author of this guest article. Here at wodka-strategy.uk.to we recommend using the stats page for an accurate ranking of players until the leaderboard data can be corrected.

As a veteran Wodkan, I have honed my strategy over tens of games. I have now taken my rightful place at #1 after many underhand dealings and/or scheming to keep my greatness in check. Unfortunately for my enemies; “Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design” (Palpatine, 1980).

By the end of this masterclass, you will be able to take any hand and turn it into a game-changer just like a #1 Wodka professional.

To properly understand the hand assessment skills of professional players, we’ll turn to a representative hand and go through how to evaluate it.

Bombs and Aces #1

This hand may seem weak initially because of the number of low cards, and only 2 Aces with which to win tricks. However, the revelation comes when you fully understand the game and all the tools available to you. Unbeknownst to many Wodka beginners, the “good connection” icon in the bottom right corner not only signifies that you are still connected to the considerably taxed Wodka servers (which occasionally suffer power outages due to Russian interference), but you can also disable your good connection in order to rearrange your hand offline. I use this technique here to move the green 3 to the left to reveal what I had secretly suspected – a 6 card straight flush bomb.

Bombs and Aces #2

Tip : always check the colours of your straight to see if you have a bomb. Chances are, you do. The 10-A bomb makes this hand a possible Wodka. The only difficulty here is playing the weakest card of the game – the red 8. Luckily in this game I had passed the green A to my partner, so I could use the red 8 to wish it back. Of course I used LOG to check this, as I do not commit aces, kings or red cards to memory.

Bombs and Aces #3

The special A introduces too much variability and there is no clear way to play the red Q without diminishing your chances of winning. Additionally there is only one Jack bomb which is easily beat. A common mistake is to try to attempt to Wodka, turning the red 9 into a Queen, and then attempting to demote it to a double J so that your bomb is strong enough to beat the inevitable 5 card red straight flush. However the 9 counterintuitively “stays a 9” – another example the many ways the house rigs the system. This is a never-wodka hand – you’ll get a 2nd or 3rd finish at best.

Straight #1

(pre-receiving passed cards)

This is to remind you even the champs sometimes get absolutely dire luck. Archetypal never-wodka hand.

2 Bombs #1

(player’s identities covered for their own protection)

This hand may not be strong enough to wodka but it can be a great supporting hand. Here I have 2 bombs which I use to beat any opponent aces (as well as pass them the 4). I can then play a nice low 9/double J depending on what I think my partner can play on.

2 Bombs #2

(player’s identities covered for legal reasons)

This was the hand I needed to compete with a grand wodka. As you can see I have some flexibility. I was able to play my 5J bomb, then double Q to create a new 9 bomb with the 10 I kept, or to simply play the special Queen to create a stronger bomb in case I suspected a big straight flush would come out. As I do not commit any cards played to memory I didn’t know all the 7s were accounted for, meaning that a 6 card 2 – 7 straight flush was off the table. I trusted my instincts and played the double bomb route without calculating that the 6J bomb was unnecessary, which saved me mental space to brainstorm cutting-edge Wodka memes. As always, I predicted right and was able to go out first.

Green Hand #1

This hand is full of greens, the worst colour and food group. The fact that these are playable at all speaks to the antiquated nature of the game. However before you instantly pass, many greens lined up in Wodka inexplicably can beat some tricks. Here, like many strands of straw the sheer quantity of greens made this hand wodkable. As much as I detest this mechanic, the quickest way to fight corruption is through systematic change that can only be achieved from the top.

Finally, if you (rarely) get dealt mediocre hands, you must know and be confident in the art of bluffing. If an opponent has wodka’d the best play is take control, empty your hand as much as possible and then rely on your Champion Luck to carry the day. This draws attention away from your partner who can try to go out first (so you get all the pass-3 and wishy-8 flack) as well as stressing opponents out while you relax and scroll through Yahoo Images on your second monitor. This increases the chance of them misplaying as well as taking most decision making out of your own hands, creating well needed relaxation time before meme-creation.

Shuffle Mode : the Great Conspiracy

The new shuffle system implemented suspiciously at the height of my rise was undeniably a targeted attack by colluding players.

Unfortunately for my adversaries, this just pressured me to creating an even more ironclad system, resulting in the hand you see played below.

Although the new system makes it difficult to even wodka, I had to prove it could be done. Bravely grand wodka’ing during this mode, I was able to use the A to pick up another J, and so had a 6 bomb and a passy J bomb at the ready.

Concluding Remarks

Hopefully you have now learnt the skills to become a Wodka champion. Titles like youngest Wodka champion in history, 1st Wodka champion with a sibling in the top 3 and Wodka champion in <100 games follow naturally. With the precise manoeuvres set out above you do not have to use any mental effort remembering high cards as they are all dealt to your hand. Similarly, it is unimportant if other players have bombs because you will be able to counter with your own. This leaves you free to paint, exercise or garden during other player’s turns.

New gametype: Shuffle Mode

There’s a hot new mode taking the Wodka scene by storm. In this mode all the red specials are randomized every hand so that the effects can be assigned to any value of red card.

At the time of writing, there is also a new effect which reverses the direction of play until the end of the trick.

The one static effect is that the red seven always goes first. It will also have another randomized effect and the effect counts as all suits is added into the pool to be assigned.

Passing

Much of the conventional wisdom around passing needs to be thrown out the window with the random assignment of specials. Most of the entries in my previous article on banned cards that you should not pass to opponents are based on the effect on that value of red card. For example, passing a three to an opponent is generally a bad idea since with the red two also being playable as a three, there are effectively five threes in the deck so passing one is more likely to give away a bomb.

However there are still some concepts we can still use. For example rule for not passing sevens to your opponents still applies for the same obvious reasons.

Instead of focusing on the values of the cards, we need to instead evaluate the relative power of the effects. In general this can be split into five categories:

Very Positive

  • +1 Point if played as your last card
  • N or N+1
  • Give a card to another player
  • Wish for a suit from another player
  • Counts as a pair
  • Skip the next player

Slightly Positive

  • N or N & N+1
  • Counts as all suits
  • -1 to your highest card

Situational

  • The following set must be lower
  • N+3 if Wodka, N+4 if Grand Wodka
  • Take a card from the previous set

Negative

  • Draw the undealt card
  • +1 to the next player’s highest card

Might as well not exist

  • Uno reverse

Looking at the effects categorized in this manner, we can determine that the very positive effects should not be passed to opponents, and also can be strong cards to pass to your partner. The exception to this is with the zero, as a pair zero or zero / 1 still aren’t great cards.

The slightly positive cards only work out in certain hands so don’t make great candidates for passing to your partner, and although not ideal, can be passed to opponents if there are no other options.

The situational cards are where things become interesting. The strength of these effect depends greatly on the values they are assigned to.

The following set must be lower

This effect gets strong as the value of card it’s assigned to lowers. A zero with this effect is only beatable with a bomb. Having pair twos or threes with this is also very strong. Whereas on an ace this effect becomes negative. It’s still an ace and probably not the best choice to pass to an opponent, but similarly it likely shouldn’t be passed to a partner who has placed a Grand Wodka.

N+3 if Wodka, N+4 if Grand Wodka

This effect ranges from slightly positive on a low card to very positive on a high card. On a Jack or higher this becomes extremely strong as when placing a Wokda this becomes an ace or better. On low cards it is still situationally useful as it can give someone the opportunity to build a bomb with it.

Take a card from the previous set

This effect is powerful on high cards and especially aces, but becomes less and less useful on lower values.

The negative effects when paired with low values are actively bad cards and are good choices to pass to opponents. On high cards such as kings or aces they become more situational so shouldn’t be passed away.

The Wishing Minefield

As mentioned above, there is now potential for some very bad red cards. In the normal game mode a popular tactic for less advanced players to is always wish a red card from an opponent as this tends to be most impactful if you’re not able to work out what is in the targets hand.

This is now only be done if the negative effects have already been played, or you know where they are. Otherwise you might be passed a zero that also grants you an extra random card!

It’s also worth considering that the player who goes first doesn’t necessarily have the card with counts as all suits so you may want to wait that one out too.

Patience with -1 to your highest card

This effect becomes much more interesting in this gamemode since if you have it in your hand, you often won’t know what effects you’ll get should you use this to lower your other red cards.

One approach with this is to save it along with your other red cards to see what values some of the other effects are assigned to. This strategy generally won’t allow you to go out first as it does involve not playing your hand early, but if it allows you to get an extra point by getting that effect on your last card, it can be worth it.

Placing a Wokda or Grand Wodka

Now that some truly terrible cards can exist, placing a Grand Wodka is a much riskier affair. Whist in the normal game you might be passed the zero which is usually a nuisance, in this gamemode there’s a good chance you’ll be passed at least one card which actively makes your hand worse.

The sanctity of aces has also been broken which is something to consider. If you have a hand which might normally be borderline for placing a Wodka, it’s worth determining if another play may have a bonus ace or tsar from the N or N+1 or N+3 if Wodka effects.

Summary

There’s a lot of new things to think about with the shuffle gamemode. The random assignment of the effects on the red cards does make the game less predictable which perhaps benefits less skilled players although it certainly doesn’t remove all skill from the game.