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Best Players Assumed to be Cheaters

Written by bloggermark

In an age of mediocrity, mischief, and mistrust, our tendency, rightly or wrongly, is to assume that anyone breaking away from the pack (whether busting the bell curve, making too much money, or scoring incredibly high in WWF) must surely be cheating.

Cheater? No, Champion.

After getting my third post on this site from someone condemning or accusing players who posted impressive boards, I decided to see what a regulated Scrabble tournament board looks like. Here is the winning board from the UK Scrabble Championship in 2009.

Now, to the skeptics out there, I issue you this challenge of intellectual honesty: If you were to see these words in a Words With Friends game, would you forthrightly accuse your opponent of cheating?

Analysis of exotic words provided by The Daily Mall here. Keep in mind that Scrabble championships are carried out with strict rules and oversight.

I cannot prove whether or not a WWF player is using outside help. But it falls well within the realm of possibility that in a community of now 3,000+ registered competitors (although, not all playing this month), we are bound to attract a number of players capable of producing a good batch of alien words in a single game. Moreover, the WWF guess and play option means it’s even easier to find these words.

Better, I think, to leave unstated any suspicion in the absence of incontrovertible evidence of cheating.

Categories: Uncategorized
Jun
08

153 Responses to “Best Players Assumed to be Cheaters”

  1. Litlbear says:

    Say what you like, I’m not challenging the words that WWF accepts, but when you look at the global scores for the current week and someone scored over a million points in one challenge, someone IS cheating.

    • Rio says:

      Absolutely. It is absurd to think that on a smaller board than scrabble multiple players can have total scores in the hundreds of thousands with word averages of 999 and higher.. Do the math.

  2. Lemur Marie says:

    Curious about opinions from fellow WWF players.
    I have found new words played by other players. Sometimes I can easily find the definition and will use that word at a later date. At times I cannot find a clear definition, for instance KED. Wiki dictionary lists a few different definitions. I am unclear which definition is the one accepted by the game. My opponent asked me rather abruptly “What does that even mean”. I responded with two of the definitions provided by wiki and that I was unsure which it was. Their response was ” So you used a word you didn’t even know” and promptly resigned. No chance to have a conversation. They obviously felt I was cheating somehow. Am I cheating? Can I not learn from other players, look up definitions and use them myself? I am confused.
    Second point: Sometimes I have tiles that I put in randomly and have discovered that it is,in fact, a word. I am not using any cheats just persistence in rearranging tiles. Is this wrong? For some reason it really bothers me that complete strangers assume I am using a cheat device.
    Would love to hear anyone’s thoughts on these points.

    • Lisa J says:

      I have often placed random letters on the board and pressed ‘play’ in hopes that it will make some sort of word ,some might say that’s a form of cheating but often times the stress of looking for a word buffers your memory to remember that word for future recall so I consider that sort of tile play a form of cognitive learning. Unfortuanly, there are certain words used in WWF that have no dentition, many of which are two letter words. If someone were to ask me the meaning of “MM” I’d be at a lost.

      I’ve committed WWF’s acceptable list of two letter words to memmory ,but I stay away from other words that I’m not clear on the definition. Just in case I’m ever challenged.

      • Lemur Marie says:

        Thank you for your thoughts. I agree that we should be using words we know and understand. KED is actually on the WWF three letter words list and like many I have managed to memorize much of those “shorties” that I can find corresponding definitions to. With multiple definitions it would be helpful if WWF indicated which one they found acceptable. (It is almost humorous that I knew two definitions of the word but the opponent still thought I was playing unfairly.)
        I don’t know if that would help players determine a cheater from someone who learns as they play but it can’t hurt.
        If anyone from Zynga ever reads this forum… I would suggest game style options. The WWF rule book includes the ENABLE word list but I see many players do not think this is fair. Tile “plugging” also seems to be a hot point, some feel its a form of cheating. Giving players the ability to choose what style of game they prefer to play would weed out many problems currently existing.
        It is difficult to please everyone but improved clarity and game style control would benefit all players.

      • Teeninchee says:

        “MM”–as far as I know (and I would use it if the opportunity arose) is the word we say when something tastes good! Hm, is what we say when we are pondering something.

        KED–learned a new word today! THX…my dictionary said it’s a wingless louse. I’ll go with that!

        There are other words that I know American English spellings for like shekel…only to find it as sheqel in WWF. Good thing to learn. It’s a great vocabulary builder–if you choose to learn from it. I was recovering from a TBI when my SIL and daughter introduced me to the game. I was an excellent Scrabble player and speller until my injury. Thank the Lord for WWF and those who play it with me.

  3. Sky says:

    Just like to point out that official Scrabble tournaments routinely find non-words used by winners. Face to face Scrabble has different rules than WWF, because non-words must be challenged by the opposition and if they are in error, then the challenger loses their turn. Thus many Scrabble players use a bluff. They CAN use non-words if the opposition is sufficiently unsure or over-awed. An electronic game with an automatic dictionary checker by necessity involves different tactics.

  4. Stephcrissey says:

    Is it possible for an opponent to use a cheater app to see what tiles you have???

  5. sharon says:

    My competitor’s first two words are “uraemias” and “begirds”. I ask if he/she is using a word generator and they respond by calling me a “sore looser” LMAO…. case closed!!! (I believe the word they were searching for is “loser”) What a joke.

    • tina says:

      THAT’S hilarious!

    • Teeninchee says:

      That’s funny, but I would use begirds, and I’ve come across uraemias before. The spelling we usually think of is uremias…which you come across if you are connected with medicine in any way–elevated urea in the blood–kidney problem related. If I had the extra “a” (and didn’t know this spelling) without a question I would be trying to see if a more Latin-ish spelling was out there!!

      And I will ALWAYS look for something that I’ve come across in old books–poetry …since people girded their loins in the Bible days. bespeak, bespoke, begoggled, bedecked WHATEVER I could put a “be” on!! IJS….

      “Sore loser” should NOT have been the response.

  6. Kirk Patrick says:

    Dear fat old ladies who are really good at Scrabble:

    This is not Scrabble. Your ability to memorize every existing word is no longer a valuable skill in the age of Google.

    Those of you whining about users who utilize existing technology are like a Samurai warrior complaining that they invented the Cannon.

    Given that you cannot enforce every user to comply to your Utopian Scrabble-lovers dream, either ask them not to, find people to play with who don’t, or start using them yourselves.

    • CaliforniaGirl says:

      Dear Kirk Patrick, your analogy is absurd for the obvious reason but I’ll point it out to you anyway: Samurai do not engage cannon. Samurai have agreed upon rules. Little old ladies playing Scrabble have agreed upon rules. JNim & his “old roommate” had agreed upon rules. If dverone playing agrees it’s OK to cheat with a word generator,
      then each player has agreed to rules.

  7. The__KT says:

    Personally, it’s nice to know that someone has to cheat to beat you, but why even bother playing at all? Lol poor insignificant souls.

  8. JNim says:

    Most of my games look like that. But I’ve played for seven years. An old roommate and I used to play each other with dictionary available. This is the only way to learn new words. Once played, you rarely forget a word. The point of WWF is to learn to new words (what the mean later) so the ethics of cheating are nebulous.

    At this point I generally know what the available words are but I will occasionally go to morewords to see for instance if there is a five letter word ending with EH, (ARMEH) being the only one. Now I know. I am certain my opponent does the same inbetween his gassing of people (anesthesiologist)

    • DejMar says:

      A correction to JNim’s five letter word ending in EH. The word is ALMEH (with an L, not an R) defined as an Egyptian dancing girl. Five additional five letter words ending in EH exist in Collins, a World English dictionary, but ALMEH is the only one that currently exists in the Words With Friends word list and the North American English Tournament Word List (TWL).

  9. Juemna says:

    I played an opponent over 50 times and had quite an impressive victory margin. The past 15 games I have lost all but one game and many have been lopsided. I accused her of cheating and she claimed she was playing more games and being more strategic. She said she now was actually looking at the whole board. She also said she was learning from other players. Is it possible to play over 50 games against someone and be that disinterested and not pick up any pointers from me. I am quite strategic and have an adequate vocabulary. I admit I try words out because there is no penalty but that is available to everyone. Does anyone think such a quick turn around is possible? I know there is a learning curve but I believe 50 games or so is too long to not show much improvement and then average almost 450 points a game. Just venting

    • Teeninchee says:

      The more games you play, the better you get–I think that is one of the BEST points of the game.

      Example: When I started playing my DIL, she lost so badly I felt horrible when I won by 200+ points. One day I played in places that gathered me few points so she could have a chance to win or at least not lose so badly. When I ‘kinda’ mentioned doing that in a game, her curt response was–I’d rather you just play! If you don’t play your best then I won’t be challenged. Let me struggle.

      Well, she’s been playing me for about a year and she has severely trounced me a few times. I’m about to get a public flogging as I type. It doesn’t happen often, but it DOES happen. (Usually, like now, I have a hand of more consonants than vowels THE ENTIRE game, or vice versa–which happened to happen in two of the concurrent games we are playing. Hard to win when you have a bad set of letters.

      I’m glad she chose to struggle because she now gives as good as she gets!

      That happened with another friend who lost a lot when we started. He got better offensively and defensively (which was a strategy I was NOT using when he thought I was. Believe me, as he got better and started beating me severely, I decided I’d better get some better skills.) We are more evenly matched now that we were when we began.

      Word games keep the mind sharp, which is why we play.

      It does happen. It took me about 50 games (maybe a lot less than that) to start beating my SIL who KILLED me by hundreds of points when we began.) TBI kept me playing like a 3rd-grader. I could only focus on one or two spots on the board, and I could barely find words in the tiles I had. It was BAD!

      WWF gave me my brain back.

      Losing to someone you beat on the regular is ROUGH! Especially losing badly. Back to my beatDOWWWWNNN!

  10. Mrwonderful46220 says:

    All I know is that my son has started beating me with regularity. My wife’s cousin, who is less competitive, is beating me too. Game should come with a warning that it may be hazardous to your self-esteem.

  11. Dino says:

    I look at Words with Friends as a chess match.

  12. MARK says:

    A point which is missing… One does not even need an app to cheat on WWF. You can attempt as many words as you like. It can be just a matter of the possible permutations of tiles one has in their rack. One may muddle through WWF by playing with their tiles on the board instead of their rack as there is no penalty for incorrect words attempted. Lots of obscure sounding words could be played simply by applying general language rules to their rack with the help of trial and error. Unless people think this is regarded as ‘cheating’ too…?

    I found this to be the best way to teach my kids how to play the game, as it does help build their vocabulary and WWF lexicon as well as improving problem solving skills and thus intelligence all round.

  13. Barbara Clausen says:

    What if a person who can’t play well unless he/she cheats wants to play against an opponent who also “cheats.” I learn new words and believe there is still a certain amount of strategizing to get your maximum points. I think there should be another game that allows you to look stuff up, that those people should be able to find and play one another without being criminalized.

  14. Mercaturae says:

    Actually, if you use the board to your advantage and minimize the opportunity for long words, you can beat cheaters. Lock them up and they will never win. I enjoy playing cheaters, better challenge 8)

  15. DaveP says:

    The problem as I see it is with opponents who suddenly go from posting what I would call ‘average’ words over a series of games, to suddenly putting down more obscure words just about every turn on the next game. There are of course, numerous ‘cheat’ apps for all sorts of digitised word games – all of which encourage cheating further by offering the dictionary definition of every word you play, thereby offering an instant answer to any sceptics who might doubt whether you really know the words.

    I take the point that with regular play, some of the more intelligent players can pick up words they never knew existed in one game and then employ them in future games where the opportunity arises.

    They key clue to working out the cheats is, as has already been mentioned, board strategy. It’s not just the sudden increase in vocabulary that marks cheats out, it’s how even the smaller, more common words suddenly garner maximum points where this wasn’t happening before. One opponent (who I knew before we’d ever played) even admitted using a cheat program because she got fed up with the idea of losing to the likes of me, implying that she had a pre-conceived notion of superiority over me and that I must have been cheating to beat her as regularly as I did, therefore it was OK for her to do likewise.. Sad, but true…

    I regularly win against my wife at Words With Friends, but regularly lose to her at Lexulous. Her board strategy at the latter is clearly superior to mine. I know she doesn’t cheat and I don’t mind losing to her and she doesn’t mind losing to me.

    I am convinced that I have been cheated against by certain opponents. In the end, it’s their loss and shows the perpetrators to be utterly inferior.

    • Marc says:

      good points, although keep in mind that even with a sudden increase in skill (seemingly) you have to be cautious with presuming an opponent to be cheating. when starting a game with subpar racks, i will often play words that return small point totals, my thinking being that it is better to receive some points than none (in lieu of swapping), meanwhile presenting little in the way of scoring opportunities to my opponent. playing a 20pt word doesn’t do me much good if in doing so i set the opposition up for a 50+pt bonanza. i would rather tread water until i can get a stronger rack.

      personally i have mixed feelings about this topic, as i do feel there are quite a few players who i am convinced are cheating, yet at the same time i have been wrongfully accused on more than one occasion, which really grinds my gears even if it shouldn’t. i’ve been an avid player for several years now, and have picked up some esoteric/obscure words just through gameplay (really, how many short Z / J / Q words – or Q without U – does one know before becoming an experienced Words player as opposed to after? :) ), but to many the use of these terms is an indication of cheating. oh well, what can you do?

      • Tricia Williams says:

        Funny, I just got accused of cheating for using the word ‘esoteric’ and I was miffed enough to see if this was a common issue and did a search.

  16. Bob-E says:

    Perhaps we create a new game out of WWF, and immediately after playing a word, we must properly use that word in a sentence using the comment feature. That might be fun!

  17. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on words with friends.

    Regards

  18. Dean says:

    I am an above average player. I have picked up many new words along the way and I fully understand how some novice players think that someone with an extensive vocabulary may be cheating. You usually pick out the real cheaters though like the ones that use 5 consanants to form a word and then on the very next turn uses all the letters to form a word that is not even in we sterns dictionary. Cme on folks you know who you are. What funny is I wind beating these idiots most of the time because this game is so much more than vocabulary. There is also applied strategy.

  19. Bob says:

    Perhaps I am showing my ignorance but, in the lower left of the pictured game, I see the two-letter word “OU.” I don’t understand.

    • Bob says:

      Oops.. I see now. The British two-letter word list is slightly different from the American list.

      • DejMar says:

        The word OU is defined in Collins as South African slang for a man, bloke or chap. In the Random House Unabridged Dictionary a word of identical spelling, but with a different pronunciation, defines OU as a rare Hawaiian honeycreeper (Psittiorstra psittacea). The word, though valid in a World English Scrabble tournament, is currently not an acceptable word in Words With Friends.

  20. morjoy2 says:

    I’m so glad I read this! I was just accused of cheating yesterday and was shocked. It’s hard to find good competition and this other player was really good. I guess he wasn’t used to losing.
    I’ve played Scrabble and other word games for years and this really helps. Also shuffle a lot! I don’t see how the game would be fun if you cheat.

    • JNW59 says:

      Returning with more experience and further thoughts: the game’s creators engineered it so that a player can plug in letters until they stumble upon an acceptable word–one need not even visit a ‘cheating’ site to cheat. This open format encourages laxness of inegrity, and so levels the field that knowledge and strategy matter little, if at all. This springs from the same technological environment that makes plagiarism increasingly acceptable….but then, a recent news item revealed that many people play in order to hook up, so this isn’t a game of substance so much as a free harmony.com. Creepy.

      • Katy Remington says:

        I ask random opponents at the onset of the match if they’d like to use outside resources such as wordfinder. I enjoy finding esoteric or archaic words and checking the definition between moves to build my vocabulary or simply be entertained. Also, it can be challenging to use these cheat sites to your best strategic advantage. However, if the random opponent is opposed to such tactics, then I will play sans cheats.

        • Kirk Patrick says:

          I agree with this philosophy. People are whining about cheaters too much – why not just agree that it’s not cheating ? We’re all online if we’re playing, so just accept that the tools are a part of the game. Frankly, I haven’t found that it impacts my scores that much. I mainly use tools when my Word-O-Meter tells me I can do MUCH better, and even then sometimes I never find the words. I do think there should be a time limit to how long you can look for a word, measured by time the screen is displaying, not time elapsed.

    • Gayle says:

      I was recently accused of cheating as well and it is shocking. Scored a bingo in one game, got great tiles and won the game. The next game I scored another bingo – spatial – and that prompted the accusation. He was a great player, but apparently a sore loser. Thanks for posting. It made me feel better.

  21. Crystal says:

    I’ve been accused of cheating a few times,but only by random opponents. At any time I have 5 games going and I’ve been playing for over a year! It’s not a game about coming up with words,it’s about strategy.When you play so much then you remember certain words,like “X” and “Z” words,even really weird ones. I also sometimes find places I want to play,and just try word combinations that will get me the most points,and then hope they are real words! I’ve learned lots of weird words that way… Of course it helps that I’m a journalism student,I’m always writing super long papers,and have a close relationship with my thesaurus!:)

  22. william says:

    I am a great scrabble player. I can spot a WWF cheater. it is not so much the words they use as how fast they use them and if they pass up (as they often do) simpler words that get the same points and use the same letters. Or if they just use these really long words that don’t help them strategically (by wasting ‘s’s or other useful letter combinations that a truly good player would hold onto for a turn or two more. The main thing though, is when you go, and right away the build on a word in a complex way and do so quickly. It is fine if they do that, but in 25 seconds you don’t do that. For one, even if you saw it you would take time to look at other possibilities. only software or website tools do that quickly.

    • casa de k says:

      Can’t agree with the 25 seconds statement. I work out words while waiting on my opponent. I’m often ready with a high scoring word or two before my opponent plays his/her next turn.

      • Dayestar says:

        I agree, I often have words ready to go, I find trying to play quickly can force the opponent into a mistake. I can tell when they use lexical word finder or the like when they come up with a word you’ve never heard of, after 10 words of playing grade 5 words.
        Also, when they use a spare with a word you’ve never heard of, comes pretty clear they are using an assistant. I played a bloke who I found on a forum who rubbished people using a word assist, however he himself displayed all the ‘signs’ of using a word finder assistant program. Where is the fun in that I ask you?

        • Jessica says:

          I have words ready to go all the time…my own sister and her husband stopped playing me because they think I’m cheating. She has never won a game simply because she always gives me opportunities to score great words and I think her husband is a sore loser. I don’t like playing cheaters and think it is unnecessary. When people speculate as to whether or not someone is cheating they need to consider the fact that people play words all the time that don’t make sense at the time…for example…playing a longer word but giving the opponent a chance to score a triple word as a result…or playing a low score word and just after submitting the word seeing another opportunity that would have at least doubled the points.

  23. Jeff says:

    Would be nice to have a Scrabble-like game that only allows like the top 10,000 used words in the English language. I get tired of seeing words that I’ve never used nor know their meaning.

  24. rofrey says:

    Actually the word was “UIACRPC”

  25. rofrey says:

    I am getting crushed by a player. who just played this supposed word
    “AICPPRC” for about 148 points.

  26. w says:

    I am sure my opponents think i cheat, but i was a very sick child (heart problems) and grew up playing scrabble 5 days a week from the time i could spell.

    I also have a photographic memory and remember words others have played. Just because someone is good doesn’t mean they cheat.

    Funny thing is, i am really ditzy so people are shocked when i play WWF or scrabble and kick their butts LOL

  27. KWF says:

    While you may not like the use of such tools by people who play this game, it is not forbidden in the official rules, which can be viewed here:
    http://www.wordswithfriends.com/rules.html
    I see a lot of people complaining about people who use tools; however, this game is not Scrabble and has different rules. I play people who use tools regularly and I still beat them. The tools don’t equal winning. That being said, if a person doesn’t want his opponent using such tools, then it is up to that person to message the opponent to lay down new ground rules (which obviously must be agreed upon by both players). I see a lot of people complaining about these kinds of things. But the fact of the matter is, this game is not Scrabble. WWF is more like a take-home test in which notes are allowed, while Scrabble is more like an in-class test in which notes are not allowed–unless otherwise specified.

    • Bumpy04 says:

      I am one who plays using the Anagram sites. I can tell you that when I first started using them, I lost more often. I plainly state to my opponents that I use the site wordswithfriendscheat.com and invite them to do the same. Yes, it has the word “cheat” in it but in the online game world, “cheat” is more like “tips and tricks”

      I consider it more of a tool. Have you ever played a computer in card games, or backgammon? It’s easy to beat them. Same for this. You still have to know your opponent and weigh what options have been left open for your opponent once you play, etc.

      Also, experimenting by placing tiles and seeing if the game will accept the word or not is a hit and miss approach to the same tool. Again, rules for Scrabble do not apply. I think of it as the internet evolution of Scrabble.

      • KWF says:

        I could not agree with you more. And all these people complaining that others are “cheating” because they are not playing the game the way they believe it should be played are simply out of line. The rules for this game are very loose. It you want to be more specific about them, then you are the one who should address the issue with your opponents. WWF is NOT Scrabble. If you want to play by Scrabble rules AND expect everyone else to do the same, then either play Scrabble or have a conversation with those who you play WWF with. Personally, I don’t care what tools you use–I’ll beat you anyway. ;-)

  28. Bob says:

    I think your analogy is a little misguided. You’re comparing the absolute cream of the crop, to what you might find on the internet. Just because it’s theoretically possible, doesn’t mean it’s common. If I told you I could run the 100m dash in 9.80 seconds, would you believe me? Seems pretty unlikely, but by your argument you can’t discount it because a couple of people somewhere have done just that. I usually give people I suspect of cheating the benefit of the doubt for the first few questionable words, but after 5 or 6 such words there’s usually no doubt left in my mind. My favourite tactic is to then engage them in chat and see how their spelling and grammar there matches up with their vocabulary. If you play “ocreates” for 78 pints, but then can’t spell “you’re” or “their” properly, I think it’s pretty clear an app is doing the thinking for you!

  29. JNW59 says:

    The use of anagram sites makes no sense to me–like using steroids for sports, and here there’s not even money or fame in the balance. The pleasure is in finding letter combinations on one’s own, then discerning best word placements while projecting the likelihood of your opponent’s next moves. Why bother playing if you’re not doing your own thinking?

  30. Susan says:

    one person I play with (against) casually mentioned he is able to see my tiles. I cannot see the tiles of my opponents. He can use my letters to sabotage my plays. I said I thought that was cheating. He said he got this ability after he had been playing a certain number of games against a variety of contacts. He has an iphone; I have a kindle. Does anyone have an opinion/insight about his being able to see my tiles?

    • Lance says:

      He says that to mess with you. Playing dominoes is the same game. If you know how many tiles there are, how many letters are on the board, you can count what is left and subract your hand. Not only do you know what is in the pile, you know what is on your opponents board. It is rather rainman, however, the finite number of tiles means all I have to do is count. With that in mind, I suspect he is able to do this toward the end of the game with 14 – 21 tiles left to play. Don’t let him in your head, then ditch the tiles in a stylish fashion like playing chess!

  31. Talia says:

    So I am playing with someone who is constantly hundreds of points ahead of me, and plays really weird words. I didn’t even think of the idea that they might be cheating until yesterday. I got really frustrated because I had a mere 50 some points, and this person already had over 300. Dont get me wrong, I’m not a sore loser, but usually I am a pretty good player, and able to keep up with my opponent. Obviously sometimes someone has a good streak and is able to take a good lead that I may not e able to catch up to. But c’mon 50-300?? So this players last turn they somehow played two words at once, non connected in any way. One of the words was on one corer of the board, and the other word was on the opposite corner. So I thought this was pretty darn suspicious. So I looked up all the words they’d played and it turns out a few of them were totally bogus. How does this happen? Then once I asked them how this happened, suddenly the second word they’d played disappeared off of the board. what kind of cheat is this?

    • Romo says:

      The two unconnected words has happened to me too. I am not a sore loser either but you can’t win if your opponent is allowed to play two unconnected words and you aren’t…

  32. Kevilinsky says:

    I like to think of my “opponent” as a teammate I’m working together with in most games, trying to score the highest possible combined score. I tend to score above every one on my list at end game, since I have a lot of former experience playing scrabble and other games of the like, So, when I mention it to them in that sense they seem to stick around a lot longer for future matches.

    WWF tallies all points combined and even has achievements for that when certain scores are reached, I believe. As for cheating, it really does need a definition. WWF has no set rules other than ones built in (such as spelling error omissions, accepted list of proper words, first word placed crossing the middle star, etc.) or whatever rules the involved players decide upon, if any.

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