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.

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