Category Archives: Memory

Memory: A simple system

In my last post on memory I outlined the basics of items that should be remembered while playing out a hand. Today we’ll look at a simple system that can be used to easily retain all the essential information. If you haven’t already read the previous post it may be worth doing so for some context on why some of these items are important. https://wodka-strategy.uk.to/index.php/2020/06/18/memory-what-not-to-forget/

I’m not going to be talking about visualizing floating numbers or entering your mind palace. Whatever techniques you use to remember short term information should continue to be used. The focus of this post is a system to compress the amount of data that needs to be remembered in order to still be able to make useful conclusions about the state of the game.

Values

Four of a kind bombs

Consider the hand:

As discussed last time, from looking at your starting hand you can work out which four of a kind bombs it’s possible an opponent may be holding.

In this case those values are:

  • Twos
  • Threes
  • Fours
  • Sixes
  • Eights
  • Aces

The threes are included because despite you holding the black three, the red two can be used as a three to form the bomb. Similar consideration should be taken for the red Jack if you are only holding one Jack.

At this point you should memorize this list. It’s only six values long so should be easy enough to remember. You’ve likely memorized multiple phone numbers which are almost twice as long so this should be achievable. You can also choose to drop the aces from this list as you should always be specifically counting aces anyway.

Whenever one of these cards is played, you can mentally cross that value off this list, as you know that bomb will no longer be possible.

Triples

In the previous most, I mentioned that due to the red ace introducing a random card, you should keep track of triples that your opponent may be able to create a bomb with. The standard red ace has now been updated so it it won’t create a duplicate of an existing card, but there is still value in keeping track of triples since bombs can still be created with the red queen.

It is especially important you keep track of triples if you have any in your hand. For example here you have three fives. If played right at the start, there’s a good chance someone might beat it. But you you are able to wait until higher triples have been played you can get rid of them for free if you’re able to regain the lead.

In addition to the values of which there are possible bombs, the possible triples are:

  • Sevens
  • Nines
  • Tens
  • Jacks

Again, this consists of only four values so should be easy enough to remember.

Whenever you remove an item from the list of possible bombs, it will need to be added to this list.

Pairs

Similar to the above, you can also choose to track potential pairs. With the above hand you know the additional possible pairs are only:

  • Queens
  • Kings

Singletons

Finally we are left with the cards where an opponent can only have a singleton:

  • Five

If the bring this all together, we have a thirteen value sequence to rememember:

2,3,4,6,8,A,7,9,10,J,Q,K,5

From this we can work out what cards our opponents can have, or perhaps more usefully, what cards they cannot have. Keeping track of this and mentally moving values down the sequence throughout a hand can result in you being able to work out exactly what card and opponent is holding in a one on one scenario.

Suits

Similarly, you can keep track of suits. In most cases this is only important if you are holding the red eight. For this you can start by subtracting the number of each card of that suit in your hand from thirteen, or fourteen in the case of red.

So with the hand:

Green: 10
Blue: 11
Black: 11
Red: 8

Or you can choose to only remember this as a list of four values in order of the suit ranking:

10, 11, 11, 8

Whenever a card from each suit is played, just subtract that from the value for that suit.

Bringing it all together

If you combine this information with the value information you can get some incredible utility from the red eight. For example I was playing a game recently where I knew a bomb of four nines was still possible, and we’d not yet seen the blue ace. I also knew that there were only two blue cards which were unaccounted for which meant if I were to wish a blue card from my opponent the possibilities were:

  • They pass me an ace
  • They pass me a nine, breaking their bomb
  • They pass me a nine, but didn’t have a bomb as other players have the other nines
  • They had neither and pass me nothing

In this case all of these scenarios are great. Even where I don’t get passed the nine or I do but it didn’t break a bomb, I’ve now confirmed that player doesn’t have a bomb which at the time was all I needed to know in order to go out.

Summary

In summary, there is a lot of information to remember during a hand and it can seem a bit overwhelming. This is one example of a system to reduce the number of things to be remembered, but still be able to make draw complex conclusions about which cards the other players are holding.

Memory: What not to forget

During games of Wokda I am often asked what I remember about which cards have been played and how I can possibly know that my opponent is holding triple eights. The how will have to be topic of a future post but today I shall be going through some of the basics of what you should be keeping track of during a hand of Wokda.

Aces

As the highest standard value of card, the Ace holds a lot of power and being able to account for all the aces is important. For example, if you know that two aces have been played and you hold the other two, this assures you of two things:

  1. If you play a king on a singleton trick nobody will be able to beat it without a bomb.
  2. If you lead a singleton trick, you are guaranteed to be able to eventually be able to play your own ace and win the trick, barring any bombs or a couple of cases involving special cards.

Being aware of these scenarios will enable you get rid of any low single cards in your hand without having to fear an opponent will steal the trick and immediately go out with a long straight. There are of course bombs to consider and tracking the possibility of bombs will be covered later.

Kings

Although not as high as an ace, it is still important to keep track of how many kings have been played. Once the aces have been exhausted then kings will hold the same power as aces. Additionally, it can be helpful to know when an opponent likely does have a king if you are holding an ace. In this circumstance you may be able to play a lower card such as a queen which you wouldn’t normally expect to win with but if they think you are holding the ace they may choose to pass instead beating it with their king.

Finally, if someone plays a king at an unusual time, this can be an indicator that they are holding the red eight and are looking to clear the way in order for a queen to be lowered into bomb of four Jacks. You should therefore now attempt to prevent that player from ever getting the opportunity to play the red eight. Avoid playing singleton cards lower than this.

This logic can be applied to all values of card below the king too, but there is a significant diminishing return below this value so I would recommend sticking with aces and kings for the moment.

Special Cards

Some of the special cards can be particularly meddlesome so it is key that you pay attention to which ones have been played and how that might interfere with your play. In particular:

  • Zero
  • Three
  • Four
  • Six
  • Seven
  • Ten
  • Jack

For example in the scenario mentioned earlier where you hold all the remaining aces, leading with a singleton two may leave you vulnerable to an opponent playing the three to pass you an unwanted card, or the four to skip your turn resulting in you losing the trick despite holding the only ace.

Possible Bombs

It’s always worth being aware of any bombs your opponents could have. This may sound like a daunting tasks but it’s often surprisingly simple. Consider the follow starting hand:

In this scenario, the potential four of a kind bombs that the opponents may already have are:

  • Threes
  • Sevens
  • Jacks

All other four of a kind bombs have already been blocked. You simply need to observe when one of each of these is played and then you will know that bomb is no longer possible. In the case of threes and Jacks, two must be played to account for the special cards that increase the number of these available.

It is also worth considering what bombs may be created using either the red ace or eight. Unless you hold both of these cards, or they have been played by your partner, you must also consider the values for which you have only one blocker. These are:

  • Twos
  • Fours
  • Fives
  • Sixes
  • Nines
  • Tens
  • Aces

Aces can immediately be crossed off the list as a n additional ace can’t be created with the red ace or eight. For each of the others you must keep track until at least one has been played as there is the potential an opponent could have a surprise bomb. Additionally, instead of discounting the cards from the first list, once a single card has been played, that value should be added to the second list in order to continue to keep track.

You should also consider straight flush bombs. With this hand there are only a limited number of these possible:

  • Green nine to king
  • Green ten to ace
  • Blue three to seven
  • Blue four to eight
  • Blue five to nine
  • Blue six to ten
  • Blue seven to Jack
  • Black two to six
  • Black three to seven
  • Almost any red five card straight using either the red five or red queen.

In this scenario you can select just six cards that once seen, will block all possible straight flush bombs. For example although there are five possible blue straight flushes of length five or more, all of them must contain a blue seven, or the red seven.

Therefore in order to know that there are no possible straight flush bombs in play, you only need to watch out for:

  • Any green card from ten to king
  • Blue or red seven
  • Any black card from three to six
  • Red five and queen

Once those have been played you no longer need to worry about a straight flush bomb, except from a player who has played the red ace.

Confirmed cards

You should also remember which cards you have passed to each player. For the card you have passed to your partner, you can consider this as if it were in your own hand the majority of the considerations above.

For the cards you passed to your opponents, you should remember these until they have been played as they are a confirmed card that exists in their hand, unless changed by the red three, eight or king.

The same is true for the red seven, and any cards picked up by the ten. These should also be remembered.

Summary

In summary, these are the basic things that you should be keeping track of during a hand in order to ensure you have the information available to able to make optimal decisions while playing.

How to approach remembering all of this information will be the subject of a future post.