Category Archives: Guest Post

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 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.

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 readership.

Previously, Jack talked about his memory 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.


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.


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 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.


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 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 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 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 ( 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.