You have better odds of winning the lottery than you do in winning Scrabble

By web gangsta | Published:

If you’ve ever played a game of Scrabble, you probably fall into one of two categories of players:  those that can always figure out a way to play a seven-letter word on a Triple Word Score (and typically win a game by more than 200 points), or you struggle determining where to place an “E” for a 2 point score.

If you fall into the latter group: don’t panic – you’re not alone.  Not everybody can memorize word lists and play any Scrabble word at will.

Scrabble Letter Tiles
Scrabble Letter Tiles

Web Watch has one Scrabble rule.  Okay, we probably have more than one Scrabble rule, but go with us on this one: whatever word you play, it has to be one that a normal person would use in a normal, everyday conversation.  It’s one thing to spell a valid, legal word on the Scrabble board, but if you couldn’t say what it means or the last time you’ve used that word in a casual conversation, then that word can’t be played.

We don’t get to play Scrabble very often because of this rule.

But all of this does lead to answering one frustrating question that novice Scrabble players have: WHAT ARE THE CHANCES OF PULLING A COMPLETE WORD OUT OF THE RANDOM SCRABBLE BAG OF SCRABBLE TILES?

It ends up, based on the math, that you may be better off buying a lottery ticket than you would playing Scrabble.

The biggest question is whether you’re trying to pull a SPECIFIC WORD out of the bag, or ANY WORD out of the bag.

In math terms, the chances of pulling ANY word out of the bag is definitely more likely.  Heck, most two-letter words would qualify under this entry.  And there are lots of times you’ve pulled three-, four-, or even five-letter words out of the bag yourself.  You may not have been able to play them on the board when you wanted to… but you have had those words on your tile rack.

But the math gets more interesting when you’re trying to pull a SPECIFIC word out of the bag.

According to the linked article, the chances of pulling one specific four-letter word from the bag is around a whopping 0.7%.

Pulling a specific three-letter word from the bag can range from 5%-7%, which is probably why we see players playing those three-letter words, because they’re readily available.

Chances of pulling a specific five-letter word from the bag?  It’s going to be even less likely than that 0.7% figure.  Go to that page, do the math — you’ll soon see why you don’t have a chance to ever win at Scrabble with those odds.