Category Archives: Guest Post

Guest Post: Alternative Memory System

Editor’s Note: After a reassuring amount of consistency in the leaderboard data over the past couple weeks, it appears that once again the integrity of the data is suspect. Apparently Sunil is currently the #1 ranked player and has helpfully written another guest article with what appears to be an oversimplified memory system but perhaps its trivial ease of use will be an advantage for some.

I find myself atop the leaderboards once again, and will use this opportunity to share some more pearls of wisdom with the wodka-strategy.uk.to readership.

Previously, Jack talked about his memory system (https://wodka-strategy.uk.to/index.php/2020/06/27/memory-a-simple-system/). However, this requires maintaining multiple lists between which numbers frequently move. This is an unwieldy, and dare I say, inefficient system.

My approach requires you to only remember a single number. Firstly, we assign a different prime number to the highest three values:

  • A = 2
  • K = 3
  • Q = 5

For each of these cards in the deck, we multiply the corresponding value into a ‘memory-value’ (which starts at 1, the multiplicative identity). Since we start with four of each A, K, Q, our ‘memory-value’ starts at 2^4 * 3^4 * 5^4 = 810,000.

Whenever an A, K or Q is played, we simply divide our memory-value by 2, 3 or 5 respectively.

Similarly, if we want to know how many A, K or Qs are yet to be played, we just see how many 2, 3 or 5s are factors of the memory-value. For example, if the memory-value is 45,000 and we want a simple way to know how many Aces are in the deck we keep dividing by 2 until we hit an odd number (45,000 -> 22,500 -> 11,250 -> 5,625). We divided 3 times, and so there are three Aces still to be played.

Clearly, this is much simpler and less confusing than rembering how many Aces are still in the deck directly. In this case, rembering 3 (the number of Aces still to play) is problematic as it could get confused with other things – such as the number of Kings, or the number of points you will win with a successful Wodka. 45,000 has no chance of getting confused with other important Wodka numbers.

Furthermore, it’s easily extensible. For each additional piece of information you wish to remember, you only need to assign a unique prime.

For example, if we wish to include the 0 and the 3s, we could use:

  • A = 2
  • K = 3
  • Q = 5
  • 3 = 7
  • 0 = 11

Exercise for the reader (assuming this extended system):

The memory value is 1,980,825.

Q: Will my K win a trick?

Guest Post: Psychological Profiling

Editor’s Note: Thanks to the second leaderboard anomaly in as many weeks, it’s time for another guest post which this time has been authored by tann. I am beginning to suspect ranking sabotage is afoot and this will be presented in full once the integrity of the leaderboard data has been restored.

Due to an unprecedented streak of luck, I am somehow the #1 ranked wodka player on the planet. Luckily there is an aspect of Wodka strategy that has been ignored by the previous champion; studying the psyche your partners and opponents. As the most prolific wodka player, I feel qualified to speak on this matter.

tann

Part of the raw creative force behind Wodka. He wodkas more frequently than other player. Games with this player in are likely to be short and explosive. Remains a threat when losing heavily due to his consecutive grand wodkas specialty. Surprisingly for his ranking, he does not count cards and often gets surprised by the 4th ace.

As he is the most likely player to wodka, it is worth passing him the special 9 just to upgrade your collective strength.

Jack

A perfect card-counting, insightful strategic master; Jack is the real champion of Wodka. Legend has it that only a queen can consistently beat him. His only known weakness is luck. If you are playing a game with him, you’d better hope he’s your partner.

You may have thought Jack’s special card would be the double jack, but with his card-counting expertise he is the player best placed to make use of special 8s. If you are his partner, you should consider passing him this card.

sunil

sunil is the god of wodka. He created Kangaroo, the very rules of wodka itself shift according to his whims. He is a skilled, perceptive player and a dangerous opponent.

sunil believes in the power of threes and that you should never pass them to opponents. He loves nothing more than to be proven right by receiving a bomb of threes during passing. For this reason, I recommend passing him the special 2 should the opportunity present itself.

Pawntoe4

Pawntoe is a strong analytical player. He is a patient partner and is able to count cards effectively. Loves to try for a hand with a huge straight. He has one weakness:

He is terrified of this card. He doesn’t like wodka-ing unless he knows exactly where it is. If you want to support him as a partner, you should give him this card or play it early. If you want to ruin his day, use the special 3 to give him a low card towards the end of a round.

Faby

Faby is a loyal and supportive partner. Always ready with a bomb in your time of need.

Faby knows how to help when you’ve placed a dubious wodka but it’s easier for him if he has the right tool for the job!

fireblt

fireblt is quite as explosive as his name suggests. He has a preference for hands containing many consecutive pairs and triples. You cannot count on winning with any of these tricks winning when this powerful player is in the game, even if he is your partner.

For this reason, he is the player best able to make use of the special 10. He will likely have more consecutive pairs and triples than other players and will be more likely to make a bomb or fill in a gap with this card.

Almouse

Almouse is a strong player and has been known to be ranked as highly as 2nd. He has fallen on hard times recently but I feel sure that things will improve for him soon.

A fiend with the special Q. Every time he plays one, you should assume he has made a second bomb.

Guest Post: Evaluating the specials

Editor’s note: Due to an irregularity with the leaderboard, another player was temporarily ranked #1 so shall be featured in this guest post. Hopefully the regularly scheduled programming will resume shortly.

In a previous post (https://wodka-strategy.uk.to/index.php/2020/06/17/passing-cards-part-1-banned-cards/) the former #1 posits that all the special cards hold a certain amount of power and one should avoid passing them to your opponents. But exactly how much power do the specials hold, and when can they be passed to your opponents?

In this short guest post, I want to go through the red specials and evaluate them briefly.

Two

Can be a 2 or a 3

The special two is a very flexible card, and usually helps a player get rid of other low cards. With the special two, you are “protected” against being passed a single 2 or 3, as you’ll be able to play them together. It can help you create bombs, but wary opponents are unlikely to pass you the cards you need.

This should never be passed to an opponent.

Three

Give a card to another player

The special three is similar in power level to an Ace. It lets you get rid of another low card you don’t want, and you can try and screw over an opponent’s Wodka with it. It is one of the strongest cards in the game.

This should never be passed to an opponent.

Four

Skip the next player’s turn

This four is strong, especially in combination with a “combo” trick (like a long straight) as one of the two opponents doesn’t get the chance to beat it. It’s often helpful for aiding your partner in going out. In the endgame, it is a guaranteed trick-winner.

This can be passed to an opponent if absolutely necessary. If you do, however, it’s important to take any Grand Wodkas into account. If I’ve Grand Wodka’d, I’d pass it left. If my partner has, I’d pass it right. This way, the Grand Wodka’d player always gets the opportunity to play.

Five

Can be a 5 or a 5 and a 6

The special five increases the chance of a straight flush bomb considerably.

This can be passed to an opponent if you do your due diligence. For example, when holding other low red cards, then it is fairly safe to pass. For example, if I am holding the red four and the red 8, I know a red straight flush bomb with the red 5 is not possible and I can pass it away safely.

Six

The next trick must be of lower value

The special six is a very interesting card, especially during the end game.

This can be passed to the right opponent so long as you remember to keep a low single or pair to play on top of it.

Seven

You go first. Counts as all suits.

The seven is strong for two reasons:

• It lets you go first
• It provides protection against the wishing eight

This should never be passed to an opponent.

Eight

Wish for a suit from another player. They must give you a matching card if able.

The wishing eight is a very skill-testing card. To an experienced player, it can be brutal for they will often be able to wish for a critical card.

This should certainly never be passed to an experienced opponent, and extreme caution should accompany its passing to opponents of all levels.

Nine

If you placed a Grand Wodka/Wodka, counts as a Queen/King

The special 9 is an interesting card. Passing it to an opponent is a psychological gambit which can goad a player into making a Wodka.

This can be passed to an opponent if you think they are likely to make a Wodka they can’t fulfil. Make sure to think of that player’s track record before passing it.

Ten

Take a card from the previous trick for you or your partner

The special 10 can allow a player to fill in gaps in their hand, or even create bombs. However, one should not fall into the trap of waiting too long to snap up the perfect card. The 10-bomb is probably the strongest bomb in the game because of this card.

This should never be passed to an opponent.

Jack

Counts as a pair of Jacks

The special Jack is part of the most common bomb in the game. Although it can technical be a disadvantage (as it can’t be played alone or in straights), it’s almost always better than a regular Jack.

This should never be passed to an opponent.

Queen

Subtract 1 from the value of the highest card in your hand

The special Queen, when played well, can improve a hand. It can create bombs or pairs, and sometimes it can nullify the downside of the special Ace.

This should never be passed to an opponent.

King

Add 1 to the value of the highest card in the next player’s hand

The special King is a dangerous card to play.

Unusually for such a high card, I think it is sometimes acceptable to pass to an opponent. It can be useful to pass it left, if you also pass a King to your partner. You can also pass it right, so long as you remember to take it into consideration. If playing it creates a Tsar, that can leave your opponents in a very tricky spot.

Ace

Draw a card from the deck

The special Ace is an unusual card. You’ll usually want to play it as early as you can so you can factor the extra card into your hand and so you can use the information it gives you. Although it’s weaker than an Ace, it still lets you lead a trick. It can be rated similarly in power level to the special 7.

This should never be passed to an opponent.