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How to Win at Online Scrabble

February 21, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

These are not guaranteed techniques to work in every instance, but if you’ve been losing against your opponent in Scrabble, here are some tips to give you the edge you need to win.

1. Play for the best possible points, not for the best possible word. Sometimes you’ll have a really good word you want to play, like oh say, QUIET, but it may be that simply playing QI may give you the best possible points. You may need to forgo the full word in favor of the two-letter abbreviations that work for you. Online Scrabble tells you the points you’d have if you proceeded with that play.

2. Use the dictionary feature available to you. It’s there for a reason. (This is different from going to a word generator on the Web that spits out all possible combinations of words from the letters you’ve been given. That’s definitely cheating. Don’t do that.) But some people I play with consider using the dictionary cheating so I don’t use that feature when I play against them. But otherwise, you may be surprised to discover the words that exist with the letters you’ve been given!

3. Aim to play high-point tiles on score-laden squares. See if you can play that 5-point K on a triple-letter square. Maybe you can arrange a word to play that J on a double-letter square. This will help give you the maximum amount of points.

4. Aim to play along the double-word square or triple-word square. That usually maximizes points as well.

5. Playing along the triple-word square may not necessarily give you the maximum amount of points. Depending on the letters surrounding the triple-word square, playing letters like AH may be best played against adjacent letters such as EM, for example.

6. Don’t play low-scoring words just because they’re cool. You don’t have to play TIT because you can. If TILT gives you more points, play that.

7. Don’t exchange tiles unless you absolutely have to. To me, it’s like wasting a turn. It’s very possible to play off of a letter already on the board with a tile rack of all vowels (AERIE or EERIE perhaps) or make a word from all consonants (CWM, DRY, and SHY are all valid words).

8. Play a bingo if you can. That means using all 7 letters provided to you. This gives you an extra 50 points.

9. If you sense that you have a bingo, don’t play until you’ve thoroughly explored all your options. Even if this means a day or not of not making a move, you’ll be happier if you took the time to discover that bingo. (Sometimes, you may be one letter off and it’s also important to know when you’re just short a bingo.)

10. If you have a bingo sitting on your rack, don’t pass a turn hoping your opponent gives you something to play off of. (I’m guilty of doing this, but usually if I’m far enough ahead in the lead.) Remember, the goal is to score the best possible points with the letters you’ve been given in the turn that you have. One, there’s no guarantee your opponent will set you up for what you want, and two, you give your opponent the edge in winning.

11. Learn from the teacher. The teacher is very good (not perfect; I have outscored the teacher) about showing the maximum amount of points possible that you could have played. Ignorance is not bliss if you keep losing in Scrabble. Be open to learning.

12. Sometimes, it’s just the luck of the draw. You have a better chance at winning if you get the higher-scoring tiles such as J, Q, X, and Z. If you get one of those tiles or tiles higher than 1 point (eg, C, Y, H), use them to your advantage.

13. Study your opponent’s moves. If your opponent is a consistent high scorer, study his or her moves and the words he or she uses.

14. Learn new words. Expand your vocabulary. See what words you can come up with when given the following letters: YESSTHC.

Those are my tips on giving yourself the best possible chance at winning at online Scrabble. Hopefully, they will help you improve your technique and win against that opponent who keeps beating you!

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