Win Every Game of Scrabble With These 7 Powerful Strategies
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1. Memorize Short Words
The biggest determining factors in a game of Scrabble are often the smallest words. You can build off of words already on the board to create new words. The inclination might be to go for longer words, but short words, in the right situation, can lead to more points.
Memorizing two-letter words will put you ahead of many other players. These are words you can create using only one tile. They can lead to the creation of other, high-value words. And, they can let you nab some easy bonus points if you place them on a bonus square. You should also memorize as many three-letter words as you can. They have almost the same level of utility as their smaller brethren.
2. Memorize Irregular Words
Some of the best words to memorize for Scrabble are ones you’d probably never dream of using anywhere else. These are the complicated and sometimes lengthy words that no one would ever want to encounter in a spelling bee.
What’s good about memorizing these words is that many of them are consonant or vowel-heavy. There will come a time when your tile rack is filled with too many of either letter type. Knowing some words that use them can get you out of a tight spot.
A few examples of words worth memorizing include:
Phpht: A sound made to express one’s annoyance
QWERTY: The standard keyboard layout
Rhythm: The regular and repeating motion of soundwaves, typically in music
Faqir: An Islamic person who owns no property or money
3. Add Hooks for Quick Points
There are times when all you’ll want to do is play a single tile. Doing so is called hooking, and it can generate advantages. Technically, hooking is what you do anytime you play a two-letter word. Hooks can also let you claim the points from bonus squares while simultaneously preventing your opponent from doing the same.
Say that the word “luck” is to the right of a valuable bonus square, like the triple word square. If you don’t have a full word to play to claim that square, you can play a P or C to create “pluck” or “cluck.” That one letter will earn you the points for the word and the bonus square. Plus, you’ll block your opponent from using it.
4. Play Multiple Words at Once
The phrase “two birds with one stone” comes to mind here. This is like hooking, but you play a full word rather than just one letter. You connect a new word to the start or end of an existing word.
One of the most common and valuable methods for doing this is using an S tile. There are almost countless instances when you can do so. One example is if “gamer” is on the board and you have “LSAYP” on your rack. Add the S to the end to create “gamers.” At the same time, add the “LAYP” tiles overtop of the S to create “plays.”
5. Exchange Unhelpful Tiles
Sometimes, even when you know all sorts of useful, weird words, the tiles on your rack just won’t play nice. They might be the most random assortment of letters that do you no good for anything. When that happens, just get some new tiles.
Swapping your tiles for new ones in the bag can mix things up and lead you to the options you’ve been hoping for. And, you don’t have to exchange all your tiles. You can keep the ones that you know are likely to help you later on, like the common and powerful “AEILNRST" tiles.
6. Aim for the Bonus Squares
We’ve mentioned them a couple of times already, but you do want to make a habit of playing for the bonus squares. These score-multiplying squares regularly decide who wins. Wasting time trying to play only long words won’t save you. While you’re doing that, your opponent will use regular words to land on every triple or double word square.
Pay closer attention to the bonus squares the further you get into a game. Give yourself plenty of room and opportunity to land on them. At the same time, don’t accidentally leave any bonus squares open for your opponent. There’s nothing more annoying than when you create a word that lands next to a bonus square and your opponent hooks that word to get way more points.
7. Plan for the Bingo
Earn a bingo bonus when you play all seven tiles on your letter rack in one turn. When that happens, you get 50 bonus points, along with the points for the words you created and any bonus squares you landed on. (You get 35 bonus points for a bingo in Words With Friends.) Basically, even a single bingo can give you a massive score boost or win the game for you.
To score a bingo, you need to do some planning. Study the board, see what letters are available and try to hold onto some of the AEINLRST tiles when you get them. These letters commonly combine with the other letters in the alphabet to create seven-letter words.
Avoid Being a Scrabble Screw-up
These strategies will help you win every game of Scrabble. Commit them to memory, turn them into habits, and you’ll compete with the best of them. But, don’t let your knowledge stop there. Just as there are habits that help you win Scrabble games, there are habits that help you lose them too. Thoroughly study our guide discussing nine common Scrabble mistakes to make sure you don’t make a play that you’ll regret.
Zac Pricener has been a content creator for the past eight years. He’s a bit of an all-around nerd, and he has a bad habit of working movie and TV show references into conversations whenever possible.