Letting a bingo go

sowpods-medNow why would anybody intentionally do that, really? The truth is, there are actually a number of reasons why we would, or should. But before we go to the whys behind such a stunt, let’s have a look at the diagram below.

letting go a bingo_1 (cut) 7575

Yes, this is a bingo alright—J9:OUTAGES (67) or 11I:GASEOUS (80). But look again. The bingo (either one, it doesn’t matter) while not being a bad move itself, will deplete the last blank not only from the rack, but also from the game. And with what we could nakedly see from the ’tiles left’, chance is both players will be playing short words for the rest of the game.

And we have some ‘security issue‘ here. Either OUTAGES or GASEOUS will give the opponent a chance for a crazy bingo (by using two TWS in one move).

But if we forget the bingo and dump the last ‘U’ for ‘Q’ by playing 1D:QUAGS instead, it will not only give 45-point (meaning scoring 40+ twice with ‘Q’—about 90 in total), but also let us keep the last blank as well—for another bingo (hopefully).

letting go a bingo_2a (cut) 7575

Sometimes we just have all the luck. Now N6:DOTTIER is fine, but since this is a SOWPODS game, TOTTIER (64) would be better. About 110 point (45+64) in two moves, using eleven tiles. This time ‘the stunt’ (letting go a bingo) works.

Yet please note that just like with any other stunt (or plan), sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t (or even backfires). But as there are games you can’t win, there are games you can’t lose. And it’s clear that in this one Red fought alone, while I had the tiles backing me up.


There are two types of conditions in general when players deliberately forfeit a bingo. The first is ‘the would situation‘, that is, when it’s just an option (for whatever reason). The game above, for example. I let go the bingo for a (hopefully) better scoring average (had I made OUTAGES or GASEOUS, there wouldn’t be much chance that I would score some 30 point on the next move—to make a total of 110 in two moves).

The second one is ‘the should situation‘, that is, when it’s like an obligation. When letting go a bingo seems mandatory; when doing otherwise looks like a suicide. Like this.

empty board (do not bingo)

Look at the diagram (this is just an illustration, so never mind the emptiness). Supposed the score is tight and two S’s and one blank are still missing. Now if the only big-pointer you can make is a humble bingo O8:TRAINEE (the yellow arrow), would you do that (that is, inviting your opponent to make a smashing hit as indicated by the blue arrow)?. Not me.



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