Friday, 15th May 2020 ◆ To deceive three hundred thousand (5) ◆ Comments (1) Wodka

Wodka is a 4-player trick-taking card game played by two teams of two. It's now available to play on Kangaroo.

It can get a bit silly, here's the sort of confusing trick you can expect to see:

Silly trick

If you want to play, there is a Discord channel for finding games and chatting.


Each player is on a team with the player sitting opposite them. You score 1 point for your team whenever you get rid of all the cards in your hand. Additionally, you can score points by winning wagers that you will go out first. The first team to 15 points wins.

In Wodka, you must keep the contents of your hand secret. You cannot communicate about the cards or tricks you have to either your teammate or your partner.

1. Dealing cards

Shuffle the deck of 52 playing cards.

Deal 8 cards to each player from the deck.

Each player then decides if they want to place a Grand Wodka. This is a 4-point bet that you will get rid all of your cards before all other players. If you successfully go out first, your team gets an additional 4 points. Otherwise, the opposing team gets the 4 points.

Initial deal

Example: Mikey has a pretty good hand with a pair each of Aces and Kings. He thinks he will have a good chance of going out first and decides to place a Grand Wodka.

When a player decides whether they will place a Grand Wodka, they draw an additional 5 cards from the deck bringing their hand total to 13.

 2. Passing cards

Once all players have drawn the additional cards, each player must pass a card from their hand to each of the other three players.

Passing cards

Example: Raph wants to help his teammate Mikey go out first because Mikey placed a Grand Wodka. He passes the best card he has (a Queen) to Mikey. To Leo and Donnie, his opponents, he passes lower cards. Raph doesn't want to break up his triple-2, or pair of 5s and 6s, so passes a 4 and a 7.

Remember: You cannot communicate freely. You can't ask for specific cards during this phase, you have to do your best with limited information!

 3. Leading a round

The player who holds the red 7 goes first, but they are not obliged to play this card in their first trick.

The leading player chooses which type of trick to play. It must be one of:

  • Single card
  • Pair
  • Triple
  • Four of a kind
  • Consecutive pairs
  • Consecutive triples
  • Consecutive four-of-a-kinds
  • Straight (of 5 or more cards)

Consecutive pairs/triples/four-of-a-kinds (also known as stairs) are 2 or more of the given trick type in sequence.

E.g. 5, 5, 6, 6 is two consecutive pairs. 6, 6, Q, Q is not as Q does not come after 6.

The ordering of cards is : 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K, A. Ace is always high.

Playing cards

Example: Donnie holds the red 7 and goes first. He decides to play a triple 7 hoping no-one else will be able to beat it.

 4. Playing tricks

In turn, each other player may choose to pass or play on the trick. If you pass on a trick, you may play on it later in the round.

At any time before you play your first card, you may place a Wodka. This is similar to a Grand Wodka, but it is a bet worth only 2 points.

To play on a trick, your trick must be of a higher value and of exactly the same type and number of cards.

  • A, A (pair) cannot be played on 7, 7, 7 (triple) as the trick type is different
  • 7, 7, 8, 8, 9, 9 (consecutive pairs) cannot be played on 4, 4, 5, 5 (consecutive pairs) as the trick has a different number of cards
  • 7 cannot be played on 7 because the value is not higher

Once three players have passed in a row, the last player to play wins the trick and leads the next round.

 5. Going out

When a player gets rid of all of their cards, they go out and their team earns 1 point.

If they are the first player to go out, then we check the Wodkas.

If the player themselves has a Wodka/Grand Wodka, their team earns an additional 2/4 points, and the Wodka is a success.

If any other player (including the teammate!) has a Wodka/Grand Wodka, the Wodka is a failure, and that player's opposing team gains 2/4 points.

Going out

Example: Mikey went out before any other player, meaning the Grand Wodka was a success. He earns his team 5 points: 4 points for the Grand Wodka, plus an additional 1 point for going out.

 6. End of the round

When both players on one team have gone out, the round ends.

If neither team has 15 or more points, or if the scores are tied, then the deck is reshuffled and the round begins again at step 1.

Otherwise, the team with the most points wins!

Addendum 1: Bombs

Normally, you must follow each trick with a trick of the same type. There is one exception: you can always play bombs on a trick. A bomb is either:

  • Four of a kind
  • Straight flush (of 5 of more cards)

A straight flush is a straight where all the cards in the trick share a suit.

Bombs can be beaten by any bomb with more cards in it, or with a bomb of a higher value.


Example: Raph sees that Leo is about to win a trick with his Ace. He really wants his teammate Mikey to go out first, and decides to bomb the trick by playing four-of-a-kind. Unless another player plays a higher bomb on it, Raph will win the trick and can lead with something he thinks Mikey can play on.

Addendum 2: Special cards

There are various special cards which can be used in Wodka. It is recommended to play without them for your first few games. After that, you can choose various ways of introducing specials to the game.

For example, you can randomly select 4 specials each round and play with those.


Stephen Smith ◆ Friday, 4th December 2020 at 12:16

This is very interesting! The rules are clearly written, and I can follow them, but I am still wondering exactly what the play will feel like. I will try it out with some family and friends over the winter holidays!