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Scrabble Play

What are the possibilities when you play Scrabble? Card players have long been interested in percentages and probabilities to gain an advantage when they compete, so why not consider such things when playing the world's best board game? It goes unsaid that no matter how good a Scrabble player you become, the chances to make good scores don't always come because of the tiles drawn.

Counting Cards and Scrabble Tiles

Counting cards is one way for card players to excel at their game, and the same thing can happen with Scrabble. Counting is different when you do it in English because other languages often have a different total in tiles. For instance, there are 100 tiles in English Scrabble, but both the Portuguese and the Italians have 120, which ties for the most.

On top of the fact that the numbers of tiles may vary from one country to another, other differences come in the points gained from the different letters. For instance, in France there are 5 tiles that count 10 points - K, W, X, Y, and Z.

The number of tiles for each letter varies from one nation to another. In Malaysia, there are 19 tiles of the letter "A," more than double those in the American game. Counting tiles might be difficult if you change countries and languages.

Youngest Scrabble Champion

What are the chances that you can set a record as the youngest player to win the National Championship of Scrabble? You might be a little late for acquiring that honor for the youngest person was the ripe old age of 15. Allan Saldanha set the unexpected mark in 1993. If you have passed the teen years, you still have a chance as the oldest person to win, just keep practicing.

World Championships and Linguistics

If you think you can't win the gold because of the language you speak, consider there are world championships in French and Spanish, as well as English. That doesn't limit other languages, and you might find another tournament in your preferred language to increase your probabilities.

The Scrabble Laws of Probability

The laws of probability hold that drawing seven tiles to begin the game results in a 12.5% chance of using all seven in one turn; that is, if you are playing the English version of the game.

Additionally, two things to note in English that have nothing to do with probabilities; the longest word that can be played using only vowels is "euouae," which is a Gregorian cadence. The flip side of that is "crwth," which can be pluralized, and it is the longest word without any vowels. This is an old stringed instrument once popular among Welsh musicians.

To follow past a perfect play on the first turn, what do you think are the chances of making a second turn of unloading all the tiles you have? This would mean making a word of at least eight letters because you would be playing off something on the board. Since it would be less likely to occur twice in a row and there are the variables of what your opponents have done since your first turn, the probabilities of two in a row is more like 3%.

Even though probability has relevance in every Scrabble game played, it doesn't determine the outcome of a competition. The real test that makes or breaks a game is the memory of the player. No matter what letters are drawn, there are usually ways they can be used by the player with the largest vocabulary.

Striving to make the 12.5% percent range and use all the tiles on the first turn is commendable, but having an arsenal of two and three letter words that will pull you out when you have odd letters is the best way to score and win Scrabble games.

Copyright 2013 BattleLine Games LLC.