By Mike Corbett
How do you organize your thoughts upon looking at your rack before the opening play of a Scrabble game? I assume people prioritize according to their respective abilities. For instance, those who have studied vowel-laden bingos might use a bit more time poring over a bad rack than those of us who would quickly make a balance exchange. I personally value rack balance so highly that I carefully tailor my strategic decisions according to opponent strength, early or late game, and clock remaining.
Make Scrabble Words with these Letters: KLUTSAE
But back to opening play. Let’s say you see KLUTSAE and don’t see any baby birds. Is there some uncommon word that puts the awkward K on the double-letter?
If you have a sense of preservation of useful letters versus points, then perhaps you may be tempted by some two-, three, or five-letter words that scores higher than KA (for 12). You would prefer to banish both the K and the U from your rack but no such combination exists. The perfect five-letter mix of consonants to vowels is obviously three to two. Let’s ignore the hypothetical ignorance of AUKLETS.
Get rid of your W with Scrabble Words like Owlets
Who knows what else to consider with STOWELA? The trained Scrabble eye immediately considers possible bingos (there are none) for an amount of time that should be truncated in favor of other considerations. For example, the W that makes bingos unlikely should be deliberately played in order to remove that handicap from your rack. How to do that best may include the play of OWLETS which maximizes point value with the W on the double letter, but is it correct? Early in a game a rack like STALE with available hooks can beget a high percentage of subsequent bingos, particularly with the more versatile OW over WO. Your investment may not pay off on the ensuing play, but within the first two plays, probabilities begin to shift in your favor.
OW scores 10 and OWLETS 26 using the valuable S, so your choice has only cost you 16 points; easily justifiable in the beginning of the contest.
Counterintuitively, conservation of racks with high potential becomes much less appealing in the later stages of the game with the increased limitation of space and hooks. In fact, the bigger your leads the more tiles you should get down to rob your opponent of his drawing power – particularly when it looks as if there is at least one unplayed blank.
Studying seven-letter Scrabble Words and Vowel dumps
Admittedly my Scrabble career has been relatively short, but I find myself wandering further and further away from max-pointing in favor of other tactical considerations. My computer program to some extent corroborates all this, but with what I consider to be some shocking oversights. Anybody else sense that?
Finally, if any of the preceding makes sense, it argues for the study of seven letter words that include the most versatile letter combinations as well as those medical vowel dumps.
Mike Corbett is an author living in Fort Lauderdale. He likes to play backgammon, tennis, poker and of course Scrabble. In these games he had been successful in different tournaments.
We will publish his articles about Scrabble, finding words in Scrabble and of course learning these words easily at random intervals. Feel free to comment here or at our facebook page. If you want to read more about Mike as an author just look at his own page.
Do you know all seven letter words and vowel dumps Mike was talking about in Scrabble?
Get them here with a CSW15 Vowel dumps List with all 2- until 5-letter words!