The other day I played a newbie. He was so bad, I actually offered him pointers... And you know what he asked? "You mean it's not just luck?" I almost fell off my chair laughing!! And yet, when I was a newbie, I thought Scrab was about showing off my 'impressive' vocabulary.... so i guess I have no business being too hard on him.
I can hardly believe it's been at least five years since I started playing Scrabble. Well, it started with Lexulous, which was basically online Scrabble. They got into trouble with the Scrabble owners and had to change their game. Scrab started to offer the official version, which I found enjoyable, so now I've completely got off Lex. Met a lot of nice people on Lex, though. Some of my 'friends' are actually my Lexulous/Scrabble buddies. People on Scrab are usually more competitive. Only the lechers try to chat you up. Most of the time, anyway.
One thing I learned was, learn to combine the high value tiles and premium locations. Double letter points, triple word scores, both at the same time... That's how you win - by honing your math. A good vocab won't hurt either, knowing the best letter combination is crucial.
Don't waste high value tiles like J, Q, X and Z. Try to put them on triple letter point spaces (the dark blue ones) and try to double that up. You know what I mean? make them earn points twice by putting a word on top of another so that the points are counted twice. it's helpful if you remember all the 2 letter words.
It's hard, but sometimes you can earn triple letter points AND double word points on top of that. Example: triple points on Q make it worth 30 points. Word points may be.. 35. Double that up and you get 70! Isn't that great?
Another way is to make a bingo. That means, use up all seven tiles on your rack. Not the same as making a 7 letter word, ok? If you manage to do that, you earn all the normal points, plus 50. and if you manage to place it on two triple word spots, yee ha!!
But luck is important too. there are days when you'll get the worst racks all the time - all vowels or no vowels; letters which cant make up a decent word... Otherwise, its mostly skill. blocking open spots, making sure you don't leave too many openings, stuff like that. there's quite a few tips on various websites about what to look out for.
Unfortunately, I'm a careless player. It's hard to win when I play people at a similar skill level. I try to stop after 2 games, because I tend to get tired and careless, or my luck just gets horribly bad. The other thing I often fail to do is to exchange bad tiles. Trying to use them up sometimes don't work. But sometimes... you exchange bad tiles for equally bad ones. urgh. So frustrating.
At the end of the day, it's a fun game, and a good, fair game is more important than winning.