It’s easier to detect a cheater when playing in person – simply because they are sitting right in front of you! There are numerous tiny things that an opponent can do to try and cheat at Scrabble that might go undetected. First of all, there’s trying to get better tiles for themselves. Some players are good at sneaking a peek at the tiles in the bag – most tournaments insist that people take tiles in the bag as it’s above eye level, and just to be sure they also ask that the individual turn their eyes off. If your opponent is taking tiles from the bag while it’s on their lap, or you grab them sneaking a peek – that they might be cheating.
Some players are very good at “brailling” the tiles, meaning that they can feel with their fingers what letter is on the tile. If your opponent spends a long time fumbling in the bag then maybe you may telephone them a Scrabble cheat! An even sneakier way of cheating is to take out tiles from the bag than they are supposed to, and hide them until they can use them to make a high-point word. This is a hard approach to detect if your opponent is particularly sneaky.
Some fairly obvious ways of being a Scrabble cheat is to use an online tool that builds words out of the tiles on the participant’s rack. Additionally, there are hand-held electronic tools which empower cheating in this manner, and a few tournaments stop people leaving the area during breaks to protect against this sort of cheating. People have been known to hide tils under their chairs, or put them up their sleeves however, these tactics are much easier to catch. If you’re playing online, the only way might be to understand the person that you’re playing against well. If they begin using all sorts of bizarre Scrabble phrases that never appear in conversation then perhaps you can ask them exactly what the definition of this word is to assess if they are cheating.
By making you aware of the sort of techniques that Scrabble cheats utilize, you might be able to have a more enjoyable game free of the anxiety which you might be playing against a cheater.
Dave Shimoda is a developer and Word match addict who made an online Scrabble Cheat to help you assess what words can be reached from the letters on your rack.