How often do you bingo in Scrabble®?

How often do you bingo during a typical game of Scrabble®?  Lately, I’ve been thinking about this question.  Maybe it’s because I’ve started studying words and am trying to a) justify the time spent studying and b) find a more efficient and effective way of studying.  As I previously wrote, we know that dedicated, systematic, and structured preparation (i.e., study) can lead to what we call "expertise".  But what and how should one study?

A few years back, Craig Rowland (director of the Mississauga Scrabble Club) held an afternoon of "Scrabble School" during which he shared a recommended study strategy.  I’ve been studying so that I can try to bingo more frequently because it’s the fastest way to score points – if you can get lucky, you can score huge points.

Anyway, I asked Craig how often he, and other experts, bingo in a typical game.  I expected him to say two or more, but he surprised me.  He said that on average, he bingos less than two times a game (something like 5 bingos in 3 games or 12 in 7 games), and would expect the same for other experts.  Maybe I only recall the anomalous games when a player has 4 or 5 bingos, but I honestly expected experts to bingo more than twice a game.  Granted, the examples he gave suggest something very close to 2 bingos a game, but not exactly.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have any data to back-up my assumptions.

I did a bit of digging and have compiled some statistics for the 32 games I’ve played in 2008.  Here is the data:

  • My average bingos per game:  1.59
  • My opponents bingos per game:  1.22
  • Combined bingos per game:  2.81

That’s a bit less than even I expected.  I plan on collecting this data for all of my games played and will see what happens.  I’ve been asking around at the club, and a few experts said they expected two per game, but then changed that to "under two" being a more realistic value after thinking about it.  I’d love to learn how others do – feel free to share your statistics/numbers below.  I’ll post updates on my figures later in the year to see if my studying increases the number of bingos I play.

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12 Responses to How often do you bingo in Scrabble®?

  1. james c says:

    This is really interesting to think about. I keep a note of how many I make and will do an analysis on my 24 or so club games. Going from our director’s weekly newsletter the award for most bingos in a night usually goes to a player with 8-12 in 4 games. I think I heard someone say the record was 14ish. We have 30 players on average with about 10 of those in the expert category. I think it would be great to know player’s bingo stats – my hunch is that the boundary for real ‘experts’ would be about 1.9.

  2. Hans says:

    1.9 sounds reasonable. Just for reference, ScrabblePhreak has the Mississauga club record for most bingos in a night at 10 in three games. You can read about here: http://scrabblephreak.livejournal.com/29315.html

    All I know is that 10 in three games is amazing.

    Hans.

  3. Pingback: What is a bingo worth? « Scrabble Adventures

  4. littlebangtheories says:

    i’ve just had 6 in one game

    Under gHOSTsHELL on ISC

    scoring 580+

  5. My wife and I play a lot. I usually win, but only by a few points. When she wins, she almost always trounces me.

    In one memorable game, I had three bingos early on. She never had a single one, but beat me at the ends… I’ve had higher scores, more bingos, more exciting games, but I will never forget that one 🙂

  6. Barbara Lue says:

    My husband and I play a lot. The most either of us have ever gotten in one game is 4- but he once got 3 bingos in his first 4 turns!

  7. Hans says:

    HI Barbara,

    Thanks for the comment. I think Craig Rowland (our former club director) recently played five bingos in a row and had 11 bingos on the night.

    Hans.

  8. My Bingo Partner and I have been keeping score on a google docs spreadsheet for the past 200 games or so, but we’ve never checked our average Bingo Count. I went through the last 25 games, and I’ve averaged 1.8 per game, while she averaged 1.2. Most combined in one game is 7. Neither of us have ever had 6 in one game.

  9. Maggie says:

    Question.. If a player puts a 7 letter word and gets the 50 bonus points can another player add to that word and get the 50 bonus points again?

  10. Craig says:

    You can only get the 50 bonus points by playing 7 letters on one turn.

  11. Kk says:

    I’m not sure if online scrabble counts but this person I played had won/lost around 4000+ games and had more than 15000 bingos….the rest of the words they played were mediocre making me wonder if they were using an app or just saving letters to make a possible bingo….

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