Poker Players Strive to Become Wordle-Perfect

  • Wordle brag tweets have flooded poker Twitter over the past couple of weeks
  • Invented by software engineer Josh Wardle, the simple word game has gone viral
  • Poker players have shared strategies and worked out GTO approaches to the game
  • Wardle has confirmed he does not want to monetize the popular word game
Person playing Wordle on a phone
Word-guessing game Wordle has become very popular in the world of poker, and pro players are bragging about their scores and sharing tips on Twitter. [Image:]

Poker Twitter has gone Wordle mad

While everyone else was watching Tiger King and doing Zoom Bingo, Josh Wardle – a Brooklyn-based software engineer – was creating an elegant little word game. Beautiful in its simplicity, Wordle is unlike most online games – no flashy graphics, ads, push notifications, or requirement to sign up – and more like a throwback to the puzzle page of newspapers. 

approximately 3 million people play regularly

A labor of love in the sense that Wardle made it for his word-puzzle-loving wife, Wordle helped her pass the time during the pandemic. Eventually, Wardle shared it with his family who also loved the unique game. Then, in October, he made it publicly available. On November 3, 100 people logged on to play the daily game. Now, just ten weeks later, approximately 3 million people play regularly. 

Wordle is now so big that it is impossible to doom-scroll your social media feed without encountering those ‘rows of five blocks’ brag tweets. The trolls, virtue signallers, COVID deniers, and NFT bulls are going to have to up their games to get attention because poker Twitter has officially gone Wordle mad.

Xuan Liu is one poker pro to have recently joined in on the fun:

How to play Wordle

You get six attempts to guess a five-letter word. Every time you use a letter that is not in the solution, that selection goes grey. If you use a letter that is in the solution but in the wrong place, that one goes yellow. If you use a letter that is in the solution and in the correct place, that will show as green.

On hard mode, you can only make guesses using information already gained

On easy mode, you can disregard past guesses and plum for a word with five brand new letters. Obviously, that guess can’t be correct but it is a way to get more information for future guesses. On hard mode, you can only make guesses using information aready gained from past guesses.

The results of each attempt inform a fun, deductive journey as the player gradually hones in on the correct answer. Having played, users can then share their results on social media. There is only one game per day and everyone gets the same word. 

Poker players are coming up with Wordle hacks 

Poker players are more strategically-minded than your average person and have been quick to figure out some Wordle-hacks. For instance, Scott Brown has a tip that works in both games:

Want to figure out which vowels are in the mix? Maybe try ‘ADIEU,’ ‘AUDIO,’ or ‘OURIE.’ Another way to go is to start off with the most commonly used letters – E, S, A, R, and O. That makes ‘AROSE’ – a game-theory optimal first guess. 

One poker discord group recently discussed the popular ‘Wheel Of Fortune’ strategy of prioritizing popular consonants. ‘STARE’ and ‘SNORT’ featured high on their list of opening gambits. Although some poker players do like to challenge themselves:

L, T, I, N, D, and C are the next most common letters in five-letter words but of course, there is already some deduction at play. Some letters are more common in words that contain certain others. It is also worth noting that the game uses American spelling and the word can contain duplicate letters.

Obsession du jour 

It is often the case that new games run their course but, for now, Wordle is unquestionably the flavor of the month. Copycat apps are already out there, all looking to take advantage of the concept.

I feel a sense of responsibility for the players.”

Despite this, Wardle says he is not interested in monetizing the idea, instead deciding to focusing on the player experience. “I feel a sense of responsibility for the players. I feel I really owe it to them to keep things running and make sure everything’s working correctly,” he commented.

There was a time when the poker world was hooked on Chinese poker but a year later, barely anybody was still playing. If this obsession du jour is scratching your itch right now, poker pro Elena Stover can point you in the right direction:

Personally, I can’t get enough:

“Extinguish my eyes, I’ll go on seeing you.

Seal my ears, I’ll go on hearing you.

And without feet I can make my way to you,

Without a mouth I can swear your name.”

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

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