Bingo is a slang term used in Scrabble for a play using all seven of one's tiles. A player who does this receives 50 points in addition to what the word would normally score. In the United Kingdom, this is more often called a bonus (the term sanctioned by Mattel, the game's manufacturers there), but is occasionally called a bingo.
Bingos are an important part of achieving high scores in Scrabble. While a beginner might be lucky to score even one during a game, experts frequently score three or more. Much advanced strategy revolves around making bingos: blank tiles are hoarded, unwelcome letters are played even for a low score, and flexible letter groups like AEINST (a six-letter stem which anagrams with 23 letters -- all but J, Q, and Y -- to form nearly 70 bingos) are built up 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 bonus received for using all seven tiles is multiplied if a double-word or triple-word score is used. This is not the case: a 9-point word using seven tiles played across a triple-word score is worth 77 points (3 times 9 plus 50 points for the bonus).
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 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 bingos without a blank are "BEZIQUES" and "CAZIQUES", which amount to 392 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.
- 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" and "NOTAIRE", followed by "ETAERIO".
- A Collection of Word Oddities and Trivia, Page 14, 11 February 2008.
- "Record for the Highest Scoring Scrabble Move". Retrieved 2008-06-02.