About a year ago I made the statement that people who buy vowels on Wheel of Fortune are morons. Further watching of the show has convinced me that I was wrong. There are still vowel-buying morons out there (the people that buy a vowel to confirm that they know the answer, or, even worse, the people that buy a vowel to finish a puzzle), but in many cases it's a good strategy to buy vowels.
Here's why you should buy vowels:
1. Winning Wheel of Fortune is all about maintaining control of the board and not giving the other contestants the opportunity the solve the puzzles. The winner of the game is nearly always the person that wins the prize puzzle (nearly always a high value trip that puts you out of reach of the other contestants), so you should do everything in your power to win that round.
2. Buying a vowel means that you don't spin, eliminating the risk of hitting Bankrupt or Lose a Turn.
3. Of the 10 most commonly used letters in the English language, 4 are vowels (E, A, O, I), so vowels are low risk especially in larger puzzles.
4. E is powerful - it's the most common letter in the English language and more than twice as common as R. Buying an E is the quickest way to fill in the board.
Correcting the Wheel of Fortune Consonant Myth:
R, S, T, L, and N are the favored consonants by Wheel of Fortune players, but are these really the best letters to guess? The top 10 consonants in the English Language in order of frequency are T, N, S, H, R, D, L, C, M, W so until I see a breakdown of the consonants used on Wheel of Fortune that convinces me that L is a good letter to guess, I'm sticking with T, N, S, H, and R.
The next puzzle to solve is why I'm watching Wheel of Fortune in the first place when I should be watching Cash Cab.