The Poeltl Game – Wordle For The NBA

The Poeltl game is taking hold in the genre of Wordle, but this one is for the NBA, guessing current basketball players

By Doug Norrie | Published

poeltl game

By the time it’s all said and done, if you have a theme or a subject, it will have a game ending with -le (or some offshoot) associated with it. That’s just the nature of the online space these days with more and more games cropping up that give folks a chance to test their knowledge in this arena. Frankly, I’m here for it seeing as how these offer a daily reprieve from the drudgery of the regular world and offer a chance to brag to friends and online denizens about how quickly you can solve a meaningless puzzle. It’s almost why the internet was created. One of them making the rounds in the professional sports fan community is the Poeltl game, which is basically Wordle for basketball.

Let’s take a look at the Poeltl game, where the name comes from, how to play, where these games got their beginnings, and what other versions and themes are out there.


Before the Poeltl game, the online craze around daily guessing games under a certain theme is credited to have started with Wordle, the one that put this stuff on the map. Started by Josh Wardle in 2021, the game has a remarkably simple premise that isn’t always as easy as it should seem. Each day, players are asked to solve a five-letter word within six guesses. With each guess, clues are given along the way. If a letter is in the word and in the correct place, the tile will be shaded green. Correct letter but the wrong location? That’s going to be a yellow tile. And if the letter is gray then it isn’t in the final word. For all intents and purposes, this is a simple venture.

Wardle’s Wordle creation took off in the public sphere in the beginning of 2022 and it appeared like just about everyone out there was playing it on a daily basis. Some (like yours truly) still fire it up each and every day. The craze took hold thanks to a low barrier of entry and the ease at which players could share their results. In the end, The New York Times saw fit to get into the Wordle business and purchased the game from Wardle. The terms weren’t made public but it’s believed that the number to buy it outright was somewhere in the one million dollar range. It’s still free to play on the NYT website.


poeltl game

In the wake of Wordle’s crazy popularity, a number of other games cropped up that served to mimic the style of the original but around a certain theme. It wasn’t long until sports entered the arena and we got the Poeltl game, the NBA version of Wordle. It is named after the NBA player Jakob Poeltl of the San Antonio Spurs. The mechanics of the Poeltl game are generally the same as Wordle in that players have a certain number of guesses (eight) to land on a current NBA player. But there are major differences because of how the answers ultimately line up.

For starters, unlike Worlde, the Poeltl game isn’t letter-based when it comes to the guesses. This makes sense seeing as how players have all different numbers of letters in their names. Instead, the Poeltl game players have their clues coming in seven different categories which will help narrow down the final answer. Your NBA knowledge is going to need to be on point to drill this down though because it’s not always just the superstars included in the mix.

The Poeltl game categories are Team, Conference, Division, Position, Height, Age, and Jersey Number. Each category works a little differently in terms of how one narrows down guesses. As with Wordle, if a section is green that means it’s the correct current information. For most categories, that’s easy, though with the Team category one difference is that there can be a guess that shows up yellow. That’s if the player was, at one point, on the team but now plays with a different team.

For Conference and Division, the guess will either be green (correct) or gray (incorrect). For Position, there can sometimes be a yellow label as well if a player plays more than one place on the court and you have part of it. For example, some players are guards (G), while others might be a guard-toward combination (G-F). 

Then for height and age, the Poeltl game will help you get close on a guess by telling you if your player is taller or short, or younger or older. This is done through up and down arrows which let you know which direction to go with your next guess. The final Jersey Number category operated the same way, letting players know if it is a higher or lower digit.


Of course, while the Poeltl game is for basketball, there are versions for some of the other major sports. For the NFL we have Weddle which is named after the safety Eric Weddle. It works much in the same way as Poeltl in that clues are given for team, position, etc. One difference is that Weddle only highlights players on the offensive side of the football and only those at the skill positions (quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end) so it’s more in line with folks playing fantasy football.

And then for baseball, there is WARdle which is hosted at The WAR is a reference to Wins Above Replacement, a popular baseball stat for determining value. It is much the same as the others with things broken down by age, position, team, etc. Again, like these other games, you are going to really need some knowledge of the current player pool to have a chance, and even then it’s tough.

As we said, there are so many games like this Poeltl game that can keep you going for some time. Word games include Sedecordle, Quordle, Qwordle, and Octordle. If music is your jam then Spotify’s Heardle has you covered there. Geography your thing? Well, try out Globle. Feeling hungry? Give Foodle a try. There are so many of these popping up that we’ve surely missed some along the way as well.