I’ve been playing for decades as well as playing online for a few years.
FWIW, I have an Elo rank of 1400 but I now play about 85% of my games against the Hasbro CPU. Online strangers are either too slow, disappear, are obviously cheating (or any combo of the three). I average 350-375 points per online game against the CPU.
My friends don’t like playing meatbag space Scrabble with me for several reasons and I’m getting bored playing solo.
How seriously might I embarrass myself as a beginner entrant in an in-person tournament?
I thought I was good at Scrabble until I played someone who was actually good at Scrabble. Turns out having a good vocabulary isn’t all that important; it’s more useful to memorize weird two- and three-letter words that can be used to optimize placement to create multiple words.
This is probably obvious to anyone who plays Scrabble competitively but it was a bit of an eye-opener for me
I don’t play Scrabble competitively, but this is pretty much right, from what I can tell. Read Word Freak. Fascinating introduction to competitive Scrabble.
I suspect if the OP is averaging 350-375 and they have friends who won’t play the game with them IRL, that they’ve probably figured this much out and have the 2- and 3-letter word lists figured out and probably a good number of the bingo racks.
[just my take on things, and probably not what the OP is interested in:]
Maybe ask yourself why you want to play Scrabble.
Me, I play Scrabble for fun.
But I’ve noticed that competitive tournament players never seem to be having much fun.
Make sure you know the entire lists of two-and three-letter words. (the twos are easy, and kinda fun. There are only a few dozen words, and it’s fun to remember their meanings).
But the list of three-letter words is (to me) just a vast jumble of meaningless combinations of letters. No fun at all…It’s like memorizing random 3-digit numbers.
(imagine memorizing that, say, 584 is a legal move, but 843 is not. Repeat hundreds of times)
As you can guess, I don’t play tournaments.
Be prepared to work hard, and find your satisfaction from within yourself, not because anybody else will be applauding you.
And best wishes!
I seem to recall that one of the Scrabble world champions was able to enter (and win) a competition in a language that he didn’t speak by memorizing the valid Scrabble words in that language. He claimed he was actually at an advantage by simply doing pattern matching without word meanings cluttering up his thinking.
You won’t. They’ll welcome you with open arms. One of my Bridge partners is Neil Scott, a world-class Scrabble player - he placed 20-something in the world championships in Australia a few years back and won the 2018 Scottish Masters - and they love new players. The way it works over here is that you get triaged so that people of similar skill levels play each other.
Seconded. A very interesting, funny look at the quirky subculture of competitive Scrabble. What surprised me is that those players are getting “bingos” (using up all their tiles in a single turn) all the time, many times in a single game. If I get a bingo every three games, it’s a big deal.
Yeah, I think for experts it’s like 2-3 times a game on average. I average probably about one a game. It’s just a matter of holding on to high-percentage racks with a lot of flexibility. I don’t have anywhere near the words memorized, but I know (or I should say knew, as I haven’t played Scrabble in about 20 years) a good number of the bingo stems.