This Wordle trick kept my streak going — and you'll probably hate it

The game Wordle displayed on a smartphone in front of a screen showing another Wordle game
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Want some Wordle advice? Even if you might not like it, I've got a tip that's helped me get better scores in my second streak in the game. Why am I such an amateur expert? 

Of the 71 Wordle puzzles I've played, I've only lost one, and I'm currently on a 38-day streak in Wordle. My colleague Marc McLaren, who keeps our today's Wordle answer story updated may have a much better record (271-1), but I bet you don't see this advice in his next guide.

So, and this is the part of the Wordle advice you're not going to like. You've got to stop using the same word for your opening gambit. So turn off that "RADIO," say goodbye to "ADIEU," and all your favorite standard first words.

I've got a different strategy, and I think it can help you. Oh, and if it matters? I am playing Wordle on hard mode.

Keep using different first words

Look at this below list of recent Wordle answers, and tell me if you see any pattern other than each having five letters. Aside from a lack of past-tense words, I doubt you'll find any tricks.

  • Wordle #271: MOVIE
  • Wordle #270: CATER
  • Wordle #269: TEASE
  • Wordle #268: SMELT
  • Wordle #267: FOCUS
  • Wordle #266: TODAY
  • Wordle #265: WATCH
  • Wordle #264: LAPSE
  • Wordle #263: MONTH
  • Wordle #262: SWEET
  • Wordle #261: HOARD
  • Wordle #260: CLOTH
  • Wordle #259: BRINE
  • Wordle #258: AHEAD
  • Wordle #257: MOURN
  • Wordle #256: NASTY
  • Wordle #255: RUPEE
  • Wordle #254: CHOKE
  • Wordle #253: CHANT
  • Wordle #252: SPILL

I demonstrate that to say I have a hard time thinking that letters in any one standard word will reliably help you get to the right answer. I could make an argument that only seven out of those 20 words have no vowels in the first two letters, so it could be a good idea to find vowels early. But that ratio isn't strong enough if you ask me.

The trick to my best Wordle wins has been figuring out as much of the start of the word as early as possible. For some reason, I have an easier time figuring out the end of a word than the start of a word. I'm hoping that my first and second guesses will give me either greens in early slots or yellows I can then try at the start of the word in round two. 

And since it doesn't seem like Wordle seems to have easily identifiable patterns, I started to just change it up. The first times I used new words — 'PLATE,' 'HOCUS' and POWER,' I found myself getting to the answer in three rounds. 

My wordle card for SAUTE, which I'm shocked I got in only 3 tries

(Image credit: The New York Times)

Take my Friday (March 18) win. 'SAUTE' is not a word I would have guessed in a million years, but I was lucky in two ways here. First, getting the last three letters early enough helped, and I'd argue that my approach to using a wider range of opening words enabled that. Getting greens in the fourth and fifth slots that early, though, did nothing to help me think of 'SAUTE.;

It's the yellow 'A,' though, that was just as valuable here. I immediately tried a word that fit with the A in the first slot, to both narrow down the space it fits into. And after round 2, knowing that the A belonged in the second slot? That was where process of elimination kicked in, and when I was cooking, pardon the pun.

Using the same word got me in trouble

Meanwhile, many of the times I used words I thought were my standard words — 'AUDIO,' 'RADIO' and 'CODES,' I wound up needing all six rounds. One of those, was February 8, where I recorded my only loss. I wasn't playing on hard mode, either, and looking at what I did, I only really had one poor round (using 'A' and 'R' twice in round 2, having seen Wordle use a lot of double letters recently.

My wordle card for my first and only loss

(Image credit: The New York Times)

So the way I see it, the more you diversify your set of opening words (sometimes I've gone at random), the better chance you have of striking green gold. 

If you want to have a word with a ton of vowels to help your process of elimination? Then cycle through a set, going with SOARE, ADIEU, AUDIO, RADIO, and loop back around on your fifth game. Check out our guide to the best Wordle start words to see even more options.

That said, Wordle is (arguably) all luck

Some of my colleagues don't think you should use hard mode. That it eliminates your ability to do more trial and error guessing. But with my ever-changing opening word strategy, I haven't had any trouble beating Wordle since I started using hard mode.

Your mileage, of course, may vary. But the more you experiment with that first round, the more you'll be adapting to the seemingly random answers in Wordle game. Wordle is arguably a game of luck, so why not play into that pattern by trying to anticipate the unexpected?

Read next: Your Wordle streak is about to get a multi-device boost — here's how to get it set up

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.