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Bingo is a term used in Scrabble for a play in which a player puts seven tiles on the board in a single turn. Mattel, the game's manufacturer outside North America, uses the term bonus to describe such a word. In French, it is called a scrabble. A player who does this receives 50 points in addition to what the word would normally score.
Bingos are an important part of achieving high scores in Scrabble. While many beginners rarely play even one during a game, experts frequently score three or more. Much advanced strategy revolves around maximizing one's chance of playing of a bingo: blank tiles are kept, poor letter combinations such as BVW, LLNNN, or IIIUU are broken up, and flexible letter combinations such as AEINST (a six-letter "stem" that anagrams with 24 letters -- all but Q and Y -- to form nearly 70 bingos) are aimed for until a bingo is formed. This strategy is often at direct odds with that of placing high-value letters on premium squares.
A common misconception is that the 50-point bonus received for using all seven tiles is multiplied if a double word score (DWS) or triple word score (TWS) is used. This is not the case: for example, TRAINER(S) played at 1A (with the T on the TWS) without forming additional words scores points.
These facts are according to the SOWPODS lexicon as amended in 2006.
- The highest scoring 7-letter bingo is "MUZJIKS". The tiles total 29 points, and it scores 128 on the first move.
- The highest scoring 8-letter bingo in Collins is "QUIZZIFY" (using a blank for one of the Zs). Placed on two triple-word squares with the Z on a double letter square, it scores 419.
- The highest scoring 8-letter bingo in TWL and the highest scoring 8-letter bingo without a blank is "QUINZHEE", which amounts to 401 points when played across two triple-word squares.
- The lowest possible score for a bingo is 56. This is achieved by making an 8-letter word with six one-point tiles and two blanks, or by making a 7-letter word with one blank and a two-letter word with both blanks. The word must not be doubled or tripled, and no one-point tile may be doubled or tripled. A 55-point bingo is theoretically possible in tournament play, by making a two-blank play on an empty board that misses the center star.
- The highest scoring 15-letter bingo is theoretically "OXYPHENBUTAZONE" (an anti-inflammatory drug most often used to treat arthritis). With 8 letters already placed between three triples, the word can score 1785. There are no reports of a triple-triple-triple ever being played in a competitive game, as it requires very unlikely circumstances.
- Based on the tile frequency, the most likely bingos in SOWPODS are OTARINE#/NOTAIRE#, followed by ETAERIO# (the # denotes words not in the TWL lexicon). Using the TWL lexicon, the most probable bingos are ANEROID, AILERON/ALIENOR, ATONIES, ELATION/TOENAIL, and ERASION.