The Luck and Skill of Scrabble

Via the Revolutions Blog, The Luck and Skill of Scrabble. If you play enough Scrabble, you probably know these conclusions already:

  • The blank is worth about 30 points to a good player, mainly by making 50-point “bingo” plays possible.
  • Each S is worth about 10 points to the player who draws it.
  • The Q is a burden to whichever player receives it, effectively serving as a 5 point penalty for having to deal with it due to its effect in reducing bingo opportunities, needing either a U or a blank for a chance at a bingo and a 50-point bonus.
  • The J is essentially neutral pointwise.
  • The X and the Z are each worth about 3-5 extra points to the player who receives them. Their difficulty in playing in bingoes is mitigated by their usefulness in other short words.
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