One page guide: Scrabble tips

While my site is devoted to tips for players to become good at Scrabble, many players prefer not to look at an entire website of tips, and instead prefer a one-page tips sheet filled with everything they need to know about Scrabble strategy. While this page may not be as comprehensive as my website, it does contain a list of Scrabble tips that are both useful and easy to apply!




1. Learn the twos and threes. These words are the building blocks of Scrabble, allowing you to form a solid foundation to learn the rest of the game. Learning these short words can help you score points and give you good scoring spots to play otherwise unplayable words. There are just over 100 two letter words, and just over 1000 3 letter words, most of which you probably know already! A list of twos and threes can be found here.



2. Using those twos and threes, look for parallel plays. Parallel plays are the most common type of play among top Scrabble players, as they allow you to score well with clunky, difficult-to-use high point tiles. Pay special attentions to using spots for parallel plays that use hotspots, such as the Triple Word Score.



3. Look for hotspot combinations. While double and triple bonuses are nice, what you’re really looking for is a way to link bonus squares together. For example, you want to make a play that uses both a double letter and triple word, or a word that uses a triple letter and double word, as this allows you to maximize the value out of the high point letters on your rack.



4. Look for bingos using all seven of the letters in your rack. Many bingos involve prefixes such as RE-, OUT-, and UN-, suffixes such as -ING, LY, and -ED, and other letter combinations such as CH, QU, and ST. Searching for bingos is especially when holding a blank or many one point tiles on your rack.

Using all seven of your tiles is an extremely important part of Scrabble, as doing so will give you a lucrative 50 point bonus. Besides the blank, the best bingo tiles are in the phrase ‘DARN TILES’ with the next best tiles coming in the word ‘CHOMP’, so save these tiles if your goal is to play a bingo.



5. Look for hooks to make perpendicular plays. Hooks can provide you with places to play words in your rack and give you a lucrative way to score points. While the most common hook is the -S hook (pluralizing a word), watch out for other hooks, both beginning and ending pre-existing words on the board.




6. Focus on using duplicate tiles and high point tiles, or any surplus of consonants or vowels. This will make it easier for you to find high scoring plays or bingos when they exist while also ensuring that you retain good tiles so you score well next turn. High point tiles are often difficult to use, while duplicate tiles limit the number of words you can make on your rack.



7. Save the blank and the S. The blank and the S are easily the two most valuable tiles in Scrabble because of their ability to pluralize words and either score or form a bingo. As a general rule, you should keep an unduplicated S unless you can score at least 10 additional points with that S, and you should keep an unduplicated blank unless you can score at least 30 additional points with the S.



8. Learn about the tiles. Scrabble players should learn about the individual components of every letter from A to Z. Understand that some tiles are just better than others, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of each tile. The best four tiles are widely considered to be the blank, S, Z, and X, while the worst four tiles are the Q, U, W, and V.



9. Exchange bad tiles. Whether it’s 6 vowels or 5 high-point consonants or just a few really bad letters (i.e. QVG), if you can’t score well and/or keep a good leave, you should strongly consider an exchange. Good players exchange more than once every 20 turns. As a general rule, if you can’t score at least 20 points or keep a balanced, bingo-prone leave you should strongly consider making an exchange.



10. Track tiles. Tracking tiles can tell you which tiles are left, which is especially important in the later portions of the game, including how many vowels/consonants are left, how many blanks and S are left, and also allowing you to avoid potential tile duplication.



11. Look to set up the remaining tiles on your rack, especially if it is unlikely your opponent likely cannot use those openings. Consider creating hooks for your S or blank as well as creating spots for high point tiles such as the X can prove especially lucrative, especially if it’s unlikely that your opponent can use the spots that you have created.


Other Tips:



12. Don’t be afraid to try words you’re not sure of. Often, our first instinct is correct when thinking of whether or not something is a word, and there are tens of thousands of obscure words in the Scrabble dictionary. Above all, Scrabble is a game of fun and experimentation, so don’t be afraid to try words. There’s also a chance that even if your word isn’t valid, your opponent won’t challenge!



13. Likewise, don’t be afraid of challenging a word you’ve never seen before. While it’s okay to let the occasional word through, it is imperative to keep your opponents honest and stop them from bluffing you, and sometimes your opponents might be trying a word they are unsure of, might be misspelling a word, or might just be flat out mistaken. Worst case scenario, you’ve learned a new word!



14. Look to build your Scrabble vocabulary. Learning words such as short JQXZ words, vowel-heavy words, or common bingos can lead to dramatically higher scores while expending minimal effort. A short list of useful Scrabble words can be found here.



15. Find multiple candidates. Many new players don’t spend enough time finding possible options and just make the first good play that they see. By forcing yourself to find multiple candidates, you can drastically reduce the likelihood that you are overlooking an even better play.