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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13 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:

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


  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.


  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….

  12. John Hinsley says:

    My recent results are 768 in 434 games, or about 1.77, so I agree with the other figures quoted for players of a reasonable standard. Note though, that I play to UK rather than US rules, which could affect things a little. On the one hand the official UK dictionary has more words, and particularly, more 2-letter words, so this could lead to more bingos under UK rules. On the other hand, the typical “false challenge” rule used in the UK is that you can challenge for free (ie without penalty if the word stands) whereas I believe that the typical US rules are that a false challenge results in the CHALLENGER losing a turn. This would lead to fewer challenges, and more bad words standing – so perhaps, more bingos under the US rules!

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