How long should you hold a bingo on your rack?

by Zack
(Pennsylvania )

I've recently started playing scrabble, and am noticing that I can usually get one bingo word per game. However, sometimes I find myself with a problem, because I get my bingo, but can't play it. This is merely due to space issues, because when I have a bingo, I generally pull up a dictionary to try to find myself a place to play it. So, how many turns would you pass in an attempt to play a Bingo?

Hi there Zack - great question. The short answer is that it isn't usually a good idea to pass with a bingo rack in the hope of having somewhere to play it on your next turn. Why? Because an astute opponent will know what you're up to, and avoid creating new openings for you.

Also, you should have a think about how many points you typically score per move. A good Scrabble player scores in excess of 30 points per move on average. That means that two passes will cost 60+ points, on average! That's a lot of points to sacrifice for a bingo that may only be worth 60-70 points anyway. Worse still, if you don't get to play your bingo in the end, which is what will often happen against a good player, you've just given up a huge points tally for nothing!

In a nutshell - cut your losses. See if you can score 20-30 points for a few of your letters, while leaving a good combination of letters on your rack for the next move.

Having said all that, there are situations where it is strategically wise to hold on to a bingo rack. But they are relatively rare, and this isn't really one of them.

I hope this helps. But if you're interested in more detail about when to hold on to a bonus rack, just let me know using the comments link below this post, and we'll start a discussion about it.

All the best Zack,

P.S. Another point that just occurred to me. When you have an uplayable seven letter word, it may turn out that you can play an eight letter word through a 'floating' letter already on the board. So familiarize yourself with the most likely eight letter words to occur in Scrabble games (as well as the most frequently playable seven letter words, if you haven't learned them already!). And when you're learning words, don't forget to take note of their anagrams too. Maybe you can't find a place for CHAINED, but there's a perfect little spot for the harder-to-see ECHIDNA!

P.P.S. If you've only started playing Scrabble recently, and you're already playing one bingo per game, it sounds like you have a lot of potential. Have you considered taking things to the next level by joining a Scrabble Club?

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bingo words
by: ddben

Aren't all 'bingo' words, by necessity, 8 letter words? Except for the first word, when can you just lay a bingo word down without utilizing another word.

Hi ddben -- No, words can be played parallel to other words (i.e. alongside existing words), as long as all the perpendicular short words formed are valid.

Derek, aka Word Buff

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