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.

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233 Responses to “Best Players Assumed to be Cheaters”

  1. padlok y'know says:

    imo: a player’s tile placement as pertains to strategy and defensive play will reveal their skill level, low skill with a big vocab may be a cheat or may be a well educated noob, while high skill players often know tons of obscure words, (i do). and you can always check their stats, cheaters won’t have a reasonable win/loss ratio (mine’s about 2:1). also some people are just good at this. i played a lady with what i thought had to be a cheater’s score , 35 pt.s (i thought i was doing well w/ 24) until we started playing, and it became obvious that she was a highly skilled player and had an enormous vocab. and if they want to cheat? hell, let ‘em! better competition makes you a better player.

  2. Tracie says:

    Have long believed that WWF allow words in some games and not others but never done anything as games were few and far between but today I’m playing two games, my opponent plays a word that gives EE as a secondary word. I’m certain this has been poopoo’ed when I’ve played it. Happen to move on a game or two and see the chance to play EE myself. Lo and behold. Not acceptable. I have screen shots of both games. Feel very cheated

  3. Dennis Scarla says:

    Anybody out there want to talk about how insane the allowed and disallowed words are in this game? They defy their own rules with their dictionary, which I assume must be being written by a room full of monkeys.

    • MC Gray says:

      Yes, I have a few issues:

      1. Why are misspellings of words allowed? This is infuriating as well as confusing.
      2. Why are words allowed that are not in any dictionary – and are admittedly undefined by WWF? I do not mind enlarging my vocabulary but I need a definition in order to do so.
      3. Why is the word “Jew” (one example) not allowed but “Greek” is? In my opinion this is PC’ism at its worst.

      • Chris says:

        I was puzzled by not being able to play “Jew”, but the reason is that it’s a proper noun. It’s always spelled with a capital J. Greek, on the other hand, although it’s usually spelled with a capital G (pertaining to Greece, or a native of Greece) has a third meaning in the Oxford English Dictionary: it can be used as a verb, “to greek” either means to play the role of a Greek scholar, or can also be used to mean cheating as in “greeking at cards”.

        Having said that, even though the latter usage isn’t a proper noun, the implication that Greeks are cheaters could be construed as a racial slur!

  4. PKQ says:

    I have played a few people that I suspected of cheating because their word play got much better and they were playing a higher level of exotic words than before. That being said, I cannot be sure; I might have just been jealous of their incredible word knowledge. It is impossible to know for sure if they are cheating. If you suspect a cheat stop playing them. I however believe the article is right, most complainants are just used to mediocrity.

  5. Don says:

    If an opponent is replying in less than 30 seconds with a bingo AND using letters I just played, I need no other evidence of cheating. It is impossible for an opponent to reply that quickly using letters I just played for a 7 letter word.

    One opponent who did this said he was studying the board while it was my turn. No problem. But how did he know what word I was going to play or what letters I had?

    Cheaters are usually obvious.

    • PKQ says:

      Actually very good players will know as soon as they get their tiles what words they can form. I am very good but my brother runs circles around me because he plays tournaments and knows every word

    • Tyra says:

      I have been a lifetime Scrabble player and now a consistent WWF player and as soon as I have my tiles I start arranging my word possibilities. I have had letters on my board for a 7 letter word and just need my opponent to place something in the “right place”. Not all instant bingos are cheats but I do believe there are some people out there cheating on the regular.

  6. Talia Jess Morris says:

    I am an avid Words With Friends player (as well as being a Mensa-eligible former gifted child with a very, very large vocabulary). I have never cheated in the way you describe, nor have I seen others doing so. Every time I question the legitimacy of a word, I look it up – and have never failed to find it. (I’ve learned several interesting, new words this way). Maybe at a time when correct spelling is considered fussy and old-fashioned and homonyms like “there-their-they’re” confound a lot of people, the game’s detractors are just jealous because some of us know more words than they do!

    • MC Gray says:

      I have an above-average vocabulary and do not mind if someone uses a word that I do not know. What I do mind is looking up that word and finding it not only “undefinable” by WWF but also that it doesn’t exist in any dictionary. There need to be SOME standards or we’re all just making it up as we go along.

  7. Fred says:

    I agree with Vee. In my opinion it depends on the expectations and morals of the player. If both use help (online or a dictionary), it is fine. It is cheating if one person violates the rules both parties agreed on.

  8. Sean McGhee says:

    Games have rules. All games must have rules. Even buzhkashi has rules though I am challenged to find them (I think you have to be on a horse and that’s about it). The thing is, the rules need a ghost of a chance of being enforced. Scrabble has been used as the exemplar here against the seemingly outlaw nature of WWF.

    WWF has no rules, per se. It was never meant to. Even the helper sites which admonish you NOT to cheat have the word “cheat” embedded in their URL.

    To impress these rules on a game which doesn’t have any is basically a mawkish attempt to impose order on chaos. It cannot and should not be done. Scrabble and Words With Friends, in my opinion are 2 totally different games that just happen to look and feel exactly like each other.

    Yes, I have cheated and also have not. I will find my own moral balance…

    • Paula says:

      Agree! WWF is not the same game as scrabble. So I use the electronic aids and make sure others know what I’m doing. Makes it interesting. It still takes study and strategy to place tiles.

  9. Irene kidd says:

    I was told today playing the word Zep was cheating . The word has been used in games I have played by other opponents . An accepted word in words with friends . Abbr for Zeppelin . I have been enjoying playing but I am not a cheat .I have now blocked this player

  10. J.D. says:

    How to spot a cheat? When you’ve beaten them many games in a row, then suddenly overnight they become Houdini and score 30-plus word after 30-plus word combinations irregardless of what you play. Happens to me multiple times a week on WWF.. One girl from the Philippines apparently digested a dictionary overnight and when I casually mention that I’m a writer and it’s amazing she knows more words than me despite English not being her first language, she went silent despite having been very chatty (and using very bad grammar) before.

  11. Lucy says:

    I find people spend far too much energy on an unproveable fact. If I play someone whom after a couple of plays I suspect is using an anagram site, than I use one too. On the other hand, with people I know in real life, I never use the anagram site. I always begin with a new player using no outside help. Once a flurry of words come along that are unknown to 99% of the population, I assume the new player is getting outside help and I have no qualms doing the same.

  12. Picturesquefish says:

    I laugh. Seems anyone with a high IQ is accused. I find this hilarious. Once accused I challenge them to a game using no more than three or four letters, their choice. I still stomp them. And still get accused. Sore losers. And I lose. But I don’t go around calling them cheaters. I learn new words from them too. Those who blow off others for suspected cheating are cheating themselves… From a better education. Just my two cents. I urge new players to use them to learn the game. Seven years later, I have some pretty cool words with nerds friends.

  13. Vee says:

    I can tell who is using the cheater apps a fair amount of the time (but not all of the time). Example: Someone started a game with the word EPHEBOI, using two blank tiles no less! Now when I challenge an unknown opponent, I simply state that I don’t use ‘computer-generated words’ and prefer playing others who don’t. I know it’s an honor system but I’m OK with that. Also, if both players agree to using the cheater apps, it is not cheating.

  14. Debbie says:

    Johnpats is a disgrace not just because of alleged cheating but I was constantly abused with messages about my country of origin and my playing style. I should have ignored but when I replied he said he would post my name all over social media saying I was gay. Very disappointing.

  15. Grainne says:

    I am an avid scrabble and words with friends player. There is only one word on that board I don’t know. I also can spot a cheater in words with friends very easily. I love a good challenging game but cannot stand when these little snakes play 5 long words in a row that barely register in the average dictionary. That does not happen in any scrabble game. Avid players are not fools, we can spot cheaters. I personally call them out, then block them.

  16. DW-TX says:

    I disagree with the writer of this piece in voicing skepticism.

    Try these two user ID’s and tell me if they are not using outside aid. Word to the wise, expect a vociferous response if you suggest there might be something more than grey matter driving their play.



    Don’t say I didn’t warn you!!

    • David says:

      Johnpats is a coward. I challenged him as soon as i hit him for a good play he sends me a message says he knows what im.up to and declined. I just wanted a game and see if he was a real cheater.

      • -ephemeron says:

        JohnPats3 got put in Random Match with me and began a 30 minute series of taunting me, berating me, telling me that UC Davis was a… subpar school (I won’t use his exact words), and a number of other obscene, lewd, vulgar, and threatening messages. He said he would even go as far as to steal my identity (which I didn’t believe at first… but then he managed to find my e-mail address, send me an e-mail with a file attached of a picture of me and some… unsettling alterations to it). I have no idea how this guy managed to find my contact info (let alone my e-mail) or why he felt it was a good idea to send me a ton of trash comments, but man, he’s by far the worst player I’ve come across. And I’m pretty sure he had to use aids also to come up with words in order to take away my 100 point lead.

  17. Phyx says:

    Calling people cheaters because they use words they don’t really know makes no sense. If I can’t find a good play, I just drop random letters down and try combinations. Unlike Scrabble, the game won’t let you put a BS word down. I didn’t know that “AA” was a word, but I tried it and it worked.

    • korgy says:

      Phyx, trying out words in WWF is different from using anagram generator sites, which allow you to enter your tile letters, plus one on the board, and come up with all the possible words. the latter i consider cheating.

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