What are the Average Number of Guesses in Wordle?

If you are a part of Twitter’s Wordle frenzy, you must be well acquainted with the yellow-green boxes accompanied by a score tidbit that mottle your feed. These colored grids are a graphical representation of the attempts made by the player to solve the daily Wordle “mystery word” challenge.

Wordle has become something akin to a cult with many high-priests, i,e, coders, mathematicians, and language experts, who put forward striking stratagem and programs to enlighten the community of the easiest and fastest ways to tackle the challenge. This includes extensive research on the best first words and infallible methods to solve the puzzles with moves to spare.

Wordle opens to all players like a blank slate with 6 rows and 5 columns. In 6 tries, each player has to unearth a hidden 5-letter word, primarily depending on the process of elimination. The only knowledge in your possession at the beginning of each challenge is that the word you are after is 5-characters in length. So, what determines the accuracy of your guess and your average guess rate?

What is the Average Number of Guesses in Wordle?

Assuming that you employ a working strategy in your moves, the odds of you solving a Wordle challenge touch an average of 4 guesses in the easy mode and 5 guesses in the hard mode (of course it is under the non-negotiable condition that you are a human player playing in the “fair” mode.) There is also no room for variables in the premise that at least 95% of the solution words can be deduced in 6 guesses or less.

Wordle doesn’t impose extreme qualifying criteria upon its players- i.e. you need not be an erudite player with a stocked-up vocabulary, rather a good player who can reorient your guesses to accommodate the color-based suggestions given by the system.

While there are close to 13,000 possible 5-letter words that are acceptable in the Wordle design (not excluding words with unique letters), the developer of Wordle, Josh Wardle, has further narrowed down the girth of the solution word list to a selection of 2,315 “eligible” words. The selection criteria have also led to the exclusion of rare words from the list of eligible words. All in all, the installation of such a curated word list as the foundation of the game points to the possibility of successfully devising a Wordle strategy that could work out in favor of keeping up an unbroken winning streak.

The Best Strategy to Play Wordle?

Almost all ardent players of the game have locked in on a certain strategy that works for them. Some go straight for the vowel attack, as vowels form the foundation letters of most 5-letter words. Vowel-packed words like SOARE or ADIEU make it to almost all Wordle-strategy guides for this reason. However, rather than blindly following a suggested list of words, it is important to get to the bottom of why such words make the best first words.

Let’s assume that you choose to make the first move with a vowel-packed word like “LOUIE”. It is not listed in the solution word list; however, it is not your requirement to make the first guess right at this point — eliminating the wrong letters and discovering the right letters are your objectives. “LOUIE” has 4 out of 5 vowels lined out for appraisal — either green or yellow feedback indicating approval, or gray feedback declaring rejection. If “O” and “U” both end up receiving positive feedback (excluding yellow or green on either one) you can narrow down your next move to 92 combinations of “O” and “U” out of all the 2,315 solution-words. It could be an “OU” combination like in “DOUBT” or “FLOUR,” or involve non-consecutive appearances like in “AUDIO” or “TURBO.” There is also that one rare “IOU” combination of “PIOUS” that you cannot rule out. In addition, if the “L” in “LOUIE” also receives positive feedback, your next guess could be made informed on the fact that “L” makes either the second or last letter in over 5% of the 5-letter words in the Wordle solution list like “AFOUL” or “LOCUS.” 

Just the way vowels make favored components in Wordle first words, repeated letters are deemed as the least preferred first guess components. Words with double letters tend to just roll out when you make guesses, and some of them even might send luck in green highlights for you. But the chances tip in favor of an unfavorable outcome– for instance, if you enter “FLOOR” as your first guess, but it returns an all-gray row! It also means that you lost the chance to identify another letter as right or wrong.  

Your best bet at getting useable indicators is to go for unique letters, especially by incorporating a combination of both commonly occurring vowels and consonants in the first guess. The creators of Wordle-solver bots declare that words like ROATE, SALET, SOARE are the best Wordle starter words. If you tend to be on the adventurous side and prefer to sprinkle a spell of variety every day, consider starting with valid words that carry as many common letters as possible — some of the letters that frequent 5-letter words the most (other than vowels) are E, L, N, R, S, T. This not only expands your starter words choices but also allows you to return to the pool of familiar words like ROAST, RAISE, STARE, TEARS, SNARE.

Can You Make the Correct Guess on the First Try?

Wordle results have become a topic for petty boasting amongst players who rave about their winning streak on social media. There is even a manic competitive edge that’s devouring the spirit of the game, particularly the obsession to claim the title of the “1st Guess Wonder.” While Wordle itself does not hand out any special accolades to celebrate those who achieve this “Genius” feat, the universal platform of players is more and more obsessed with reducing their average guess down to one.

Based on the data shared by the unofficial account, Wordle Stats, of the 241,489 players who shared their Wordle results on Twitter on January 22, 2022, approximately 1% of them solved it on the first try, 3% on the second try, 17% on the third, 33% on the fourth guess, 29% on the fifth attempt, and 15% on the final attempt. Only 3% of those who failed to solve shared their results.

Based on the aforementioned data, it can be concluded that striking gold on the first attempt is not impossible. However, it has also been addressed that many players (NOT ALL!) confess to cheating to achieve this outcome. There are also those few lucky clovers who make a wild guess and accidentally make it on the first try. Since Wordle doesn’t hand out any clues to anyone prior to the game, the odds they have in their favor is not any greater than it is for any other player.

The unofficial daily stats also reveal that the typical guessing range for most players (to successfully solve the challenge) is 4 guesses, as ‘4-5 guesses’ categories record the most number of players. It is also to be accounted that most players of Wordle do not share their results publicly at all, regardless of clearing the challenge or otherwise. Similarly, those who regularly share their Wordle scores on social media might show reluctance to divulge the result on the odds days in which they fail to clear the challenge.

Wordle was created with an intent to enjoy the game as if it were a fine delicacy. Obsessing over the details of the game goes against the very intent of cherishing the excitement born from the act of digging out the hidden word. If you solve it, throw a fist pump; if you don’t, laugh it off. Even more thrilling, if you scrape through on the very last chance.

19 Comments

  1. You used rows and columns incorrectly in this article.
    There are 5 columns and 6 rows.

    1. That’s right. I noticed that, too. The author doesn’t seem like a Wordle player.

    2. Yay Justin for pointing out “row” and “column” mistake. Important to get it right.

      1. Double letters should show up as purple!! I’m

  2. “If you are more advantageous…” Adventurous? There are several other errors. Was this proofread? Rhetorical question, obviously.

  3. I have done so far 24 WORDLE challenges today I did it in one. I’m very HAPPY. But I have statistics of only the last 16. I have saved the first 8. Does anyone know how to enter the first eight with the rest of my stats?
    Today: Wordle 238 1/6

    🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩

    1. Congratulations! It wa lucky, of course, but impressive nevertheless.

  4. Sorry I didn’t clarify the reason the first 8 were not included in my stats is that I was using the private mode. I’m such a fool, because I kept asking: How do I see the startustics. The last 16 were in the public mode. Wish I could combine them all. Thanks

  5. It is very easy to post a 1 line victory by cheating, it’s very unlikely that 1% genuinely achieved it. With a choice of 2500 words and no clues, the percentage should be around .004%

    1. I did it once, and personally know one other person who’s done it. It’s just a freak of coincidence.

  6. Will there be repeated words? 2300(+/-) words is finite with only that many possible games. Just curious

  7. I loved this explanation.

    Wordle was created with an intent to enjoy the game as if it were a fine delicacy. Obsessing over the details of the game goes against the very intent of cherishing the excitement born from the act of digging out the hidden word.

  8. “some of the letters that frequent 5-letter words the most (other than vowels) are E, L, N, R, S, T.”
    Erm… “E” is a vowel.

    1. A, I, O, U, Y, and sometimes E

  9. I got “heist” on the first try. I’m proud, but I don’t know why. It was just a very lucky guess.

    1. Mine was “adobe.” I thought, “THIS’ll be a good first word.” And I was right!

  10. I just got story as a complete fluke on first try. “Genius” of course !!!

  11. I am surprised that Wordle even allows words like “soare” and “adieu.” People who start with such words seem to be violating the spirit of the game.

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