Stefan Fatsis wrote a highly entertaining book called Word Freak a few years back. It’s all about the strange world of competitive Scrabble players. Among the many quirky characters highlighted is Dallas’ own Chris Cree, who’s currentlyÂ ranked No. 21 in the U.S. Cree has agreed to play in the D Magazine Words With Friends Tournament, which gets rolling on June 1.
Sign up here for a chance to join the field that will play.Â Here is what Fatsis wrote about Cree:
Chris Cree is best known in the Scrabble world not for his steady run of top-notch play, his folksy Texas twang, or his successful forklift business. Nor for his golf-course attire, country-club Republican politics, endless cigarette, unfailing generosity, adept guitar strumming, or well-timedÂ Goddamn!s when the tiles don’t fall his way. No, Cree is a legend because of what happened at the Scrabble Superstars Showdown at Bally’s in Las Vegas in 1995.
It is 7:30 a.m. Cree has been drinking beer and playing blackjack all night. In the last forty minutes, he’s come back from the dead, from $15,000 in the hole, to pull even. Then the cards really start falling, and Cree keeps betting, $5,000 per hand, three hands at a time. Then eight or nine hands at a time. He can’t lose. From 8:00 to 9:00, Cree wins $177,500, pushing his winnings during the Scrabble tournament to nearly $200,000. Mike Baron has been monitoring his inebriated friend, prodding him to stop – not because he’s drunk, not because he’s just won two hundred grand, but because the Scrabble tournament is about to resume.
There’s more, but I’m pushing the boundaries of fair use. Buy the book. And sign up for our tourney.