Jurples!: How to Become an Ace at Word Poker
Word Poker is a very unique game which combines vocabulary skills with poker-style scoring. You are given eight letters and one minute during which you must form as many words as possible from the letters given. At first glance, this game seems simple, but when you look at the scores on the high score table, it is quite challenging to reach those levels! Here are some tips and practice methods you can use to improve your score at Word Poker.
Improve Your Vocabulary
One of the most essential skills when it comes to Word Poker is having a good vocabulary — after all, you can only form words that you know. Try to improve your knowledge of the Neopian dictionary by practicing the game a lot, trying out combinations of letters you aren’t sure about. When you learn a new word, remember it for future rounds! Also remember that you can use words that are not real-world nouns, but are species or characters on Neopets.com — for example, “Kau” is a legal word here. You can practice this skill by also playing other word-based games that use the Neopian dictionary such as Word Pyramid or Spell-or-Starve.
Spotting All Possible Words
Take the word ‘SPOT’ for example. How many other words can you make out of those letters? It may take you a few seconds to realize you can make: TOP, TOPS, POT, POTS, STOP, and POST. However, once you practice the art of seeing common groups of letters that go together you can learn to recognize them and squeeze all the words you can out of them very quickly. Here’s another example: RTAS. These four letters can become ART, ARTS, TAR, TARS, RAT, RATS, and STAR. With more practice, you won’t even have to think about it!
To improve your letter-rearranging skills, you can also practice unscrambling anagrams by playing The Castle of Eliv Thade.
Word Poker can be controlled in two ways: by clicking on letters on the chalkboard one at a time to form words, and then clicking ‘Enter’, or by typing and hitting the ‘Enter’ key on your keyboard to submit a word. Typing is much, much, faster and it is the method you must use if you hope to achieve a trophy score. If you are not a fast typer, don’t worry, you will become one with practice. If you get sick of Word Poker, you can also build your typing speed by playing Typing Terror.
Understand the Scoring
The scoring in Word Poker is very unique and can be hard to understand at first. There are six different scoring categories: 3 Letter, 4 Letter, 5+ Letter, Full House, Flush, and Wild. Each category has different requirements to earn points, and you must select a category at the end of each round, using each category once in one of the six rounds of the game. 3 Letter, 4 Letter, and 5+ Letter are quite self-explanatory, giving you points based on the amount of words you submitted with that number of letters. Full House will only earn you points if you have at least 15 total words, which will award you a flat 50 points, but if you have at least 25 words you can earn 150 points instead! Flush gives points according to how many words you have that start with one particular letter, giving ten points per word that start with your most common starting letter. Finally, Wild gives points for every single word you submitted, with more points given for longer words.
You must be strategic when selecting scoring categories. You obviously want the maximum points you can get, but you also want to leave flexible categories open for later rounds. For example, if you use all the categories except for 5+ Letters, and in the final round you cannot generate any 5+ Letter words, you will not be able to earn ANY points that round. On the other hand, Wild is guaranteed to give you some points no matter what (assuming you submitted at least one word!), but can also be one of your highest scoring categories so you don’t want to pass up an opportunity to net hundreds of points by using Wild earlier on. As you improve at the game, you will learn which categories are more reliable and you will also generate more words on average meaning that every category should be boosted.
Another tip is to only worry about the categories you haven’t used yet. If you are in the final round and your only remaining category is 3-Letter, you don’t need to bother wasting your time entering any words with 4 or more letters, since they won’t affect your score.
A final method of earning points which will be very, very important if you want a trophy is bonus words. For every 7 or 8 letter word that you submit, you will receive an instant bonus of 50 points added to your score! So brush up on your longer words, because bonus words are the fastest way to increase your score, and they are all but necessary to achieve a gold trophy score.
Word Poker is a game that requires luck as well as skill. Some combinations of letters will simply offer more word possibilities than others. Sometimes, one bad round in an otherwise great game can destroy your opportunity to get a high score. If you hope for a score high enough to get a gold trophy, you will have to play quite a lot of games to get one game where all six rounds offer enough words and bonus words to get you a very high score. Once you are comfortable with your skill at the game, you may even want to reset the game until you get a really good set of letters for the first round to start you off strong. Although playing so many games can be tedious, every game you play will also improve your vocabulary, word-spotting skill, and typing speed, so don’t give up! If you keep working at it, that gold trophy (and that mean Elephante’s approval) will be yours someday!