Scrabble Strategy Guide

You lost yet another game and have no idea how to win in Scrabble?

It is easy! You only need to score more points than your opponent.

Obvious isn't it.

Winning becomes natural to you once you have read this Scrabble strategy guide.

So let's get started.

This comprehensive list of strategies is how you will get better at Scrabble. Only following a couple of our tips can give you an overwhelming advantage with most beginners and casual players.

Start by learning some of these Scrabble hacks and then go play the game. If you have still trouble with winning then learn a couple more strategies. Repeat this until you win every game.

How to improve your game with 2-letter and 3-letter words

You might be surprised to find out that professional players use short words often. Using short words can give you an up to 50 points advantage. One of the best things you can do to improve your game is to learn 2 letter words. Learning more than 120 English two letter words can be a tall order which is why you should start by memorizing the highest scoring two letter words first.

High scoring 2 letter words

The exact same logic also works for 3 letter words. Knowing three letter words is not as crucial as knowing two letter words(and so on...). So if you have to chose between the two, then always chose to memorize the shorter words.

High scoring 3 letter words

Short words will help you create more parallel moves and they can often fit on blocked boards. They also give you a chance to get rid of unwanted tiles.

The secrets of rack and tiles management

Make finding new word ideas easier for yourself by ordering all tiles in your rack by prefixes and suffixes(lose letters that will not fit anywhere). Put word beginnings to the left side of the rack and word endings to the right side of your rack. This layout structure will help you discover new options faster.

Examples of common English prefixes

Examples of common English suffixes

A balanced rack is more important than always going for the move that gives you the highest score. Balance your tiles so that there are equally many vowels and consonants. Play away duplicate letters, because they reduce your probability to create bonus words and bingos.

Winning Scrabble by getting bingos

If your opponent knows how to get a bingo and you do not, then you will have a hard time winning the game. A bingo is the best word you can play in Scrabble.

You can get a "Bingo" in Scrabble by using all of your seven tiles in one play. Each bingo is worth a whopping 50 points. Experienced players will always try to score one or even two bingos in a single game. Getting a bingo takes effort and planning! Blanks can be a great help when trying to get a Bingo so don't waste them carelessly (each blank tile by itself is worth about 30 points). The best strategy is to collect and keep common tiles that are found in seven or eight letter bingos.

Most common letters in long words are A, E, I, T, N, R and S (many of the best bingo words are full of vowels). Also try to get rid of letters that will hinder you such as B, V, U, Z, X, W, K and J. If you wish to play bingos more often it makes sense to learn Scrabble bingo words and bingo stems.

What are bingo stems?

Bingo stems definition: combinations of six letters that can form seven letter words. In the Scrabble dictionary you will find thousands of seven and eight letter words. Trying to learn all of them randomly is hard work. You need a more effective plan! Here is where bingo stems come in. They give you an effective structure to learn longer words.

20 Most Useful Bingo Stems In Scrabble

The best bingo stems will give you the highest probability to get playable bingo words.

Why you should constantly search for hook words

Scrabble hook words are words that allow adding a single letter at the beginning or the end of a word to make a new one. So a hook is essentially a single letter that can be added to an existing word on the board. Always keep looking for opportunities for hooks.

Examples of front hook words: (a)way, (m)all, (s)mall, (t)all, (b)all, (y)earn, (b)east, (g)old, (b)lush, (m)ate.
Examples of back hook words: ape(x), all(y), hand(y), war(m), war(p), read(y), grave(l).

An awareness of hooks is strategically essential, because it will create amazing scoring opportunities for you.

How to effectively use high value letters like J, Q, X, Z

The highest scoring letters are J, Q, X, Z. Most people have a hard time thinking of words that use those letters. They exist so you can score big. You need to know short words that use these letters. Always use these letters as soon as possible.

Examples of short words that contain the letters J, Q, X, Z

Words containing J, Q, X, Z

What is Scrabble board management?

The first step to good board management in Scrabble is to know what your strengths and weaknesses are. The second step is being able to read your opponent and make a correct assessment about their abilities. Scrabble is not a game of luck, it is one of skill.

Every player has his or her own playstyle. Some know more long or short words while others have amazing tactics to score big on bonus fields. What you want is to play tiles on the board in a way that benefits your own style while at the same time hindering your opponent and destroying their flow.

If you face a strong player, try to limit their options by keeping the board closed.

The proven Scrabble strategy of using shorter words

Keep it simple and use shorter words! An unique Scrabble strategy is to use words that are not longer than five letters. Using shorter words makes the game more compact and you will waste less time thinking about long words. Four and five letter words are long enough to reach bonus fields.

Scrabble word lists for short words

These word lists are ordered by highest value words first. This makes them ideal study materials to improve your Scrabble skills. If you decide to learn new words from this list then use the same order that you see(learn short words first).

If you decide to go for this approach then it is crucial that your vocabulary encompasses more short words than that of your opponent. Otherwise this game plan will not work.

The easy way to know more words

Learn high scoring words

A large vocabulary will give you an advantage in Scrabble. This is why it makes sense to learn new words from the official dictionary. It is also wise to study words with which you can score big.

Learn vowel and consonant heavy words

You might often find yourself in a tight spot where you have either too many vowel or consonant tiles in your rack. In such a situation you need to know some vowel or consonant heavy words to return balance to your rack.

Scrabble tips for beginners

  • (01) Going first and starting the game will give you a slight advantage. This is probably the easiest thing you can do to score some extra points. The opening move gives you control over the board(horizontal word, vertical word, open or closed board).
  • (02) Playing defensively does not work! Play to win and actively use your tiles if you see a good move. Score big on every turn. The more tiles you use the bigger the possibility to get a new high value tile.
  • (03) High value tiles (J, Q, X, Z) and medium value tiles (K, F, H, V, W, Y) should be used as soon as possible. This leaves more lower point tiles in your rack. Most bonus words use lower point tiles.
  • (04) Sometimes it is best to exchange all of your tiles. Be decisive about it. Hopeless situations will not become better by themselves.
  • (05) Open up the board if you are behind in score. Keep the board closed if you are ahead. Short words will close the board while long words will open it up.
  • (06) Make words plural by adding an "S" to the end. Never waste an "S" on your own words(the game only has 4 tiles with this letter). Remember to use hooks. Each S is worth about 10 points.
  • (07) Know the most common English prefixes and suffixes. This will help you get wins from your opponents words.
  • (08) Save your tiles for bingos. Bingos need planning and saving of tiles. Gaining 50 points with a bingo can be the difference between winning and losing. Blank tiles should mostly be saved and used for bingos(unless you can get at least 20 points for it). Blanks are worth an additional 30 points.
  • (09) Whenever possible always use bonus squares on the board. Double or triple spaces will rise your score and essentially take the same possibility away from your opponent. This is both a defensive and an offensive tactic.
  • (10) Learn Q words without U. The game has only four "U" tiles. Most words with the letter "Q" have "U" as the next letter. If you don't know any "Q" words not followed by "U" then you will be stuck with a "Q" for the rest of the game.

Scrabble resources

Cross-tables - Ever wondered how your score would measure against the pros? Cross-tables allows you to compare against tournament player statistics, play history. They even have upcoming tournaments.

NASPA - North American Scrabble Players Association.

WESPA - World English Language Scrabble Players Association.

Best place to play Scrabble online

Internet Scrabble Club - here you can play online with other players. The best way to ingrain the strategies you have learned here is to use them actively.

Quackle - Quackle is a word game analysis tool. You can even play against it's artificial intelligence.
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