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The main point of the issue was the effect of the dice of the game. Chance is not a material factor. Judge Stephen S.

Walker agreed. He found Barr innocent of promoting gambling, concluding that "backgammon is not a game of chance but a game of skill.

Player Name. Backgammon: Skill or Chance? Obviously, we agree completely. Another useful talent is recognizing patterns on the backgammon board.

This comes after playing many, many games and seeing how checkers often fall into certain positions that can be exploited by specific moves.

After a while, you begin to recognize those positions and memorize the best corresponding moves. Ace players have a mental library containing hundreds of such moves, enabling them to make quick decisions during a game.

Finally, don't underestimate the psychology of playing backgammon. Everyone has a certain personality and tendencies when they make moves and evaluate doubling opportunities.

As you get to know these tendencies, you can use them to your advantage. For example, you might double early in a match with an unknown opponent just to gauge her reaction.

If she doesn't take the wager, double early again in the next game. For example, if a player has exactly one checker remaining on the 6-point, and rolls a 6 and a 1, the player may move the 6-point checker one place to the 5-point with the lower die roll of 1, and then bear that checker off the 5-point using the die roll of 6; this is sometimes useful tactically.

As before, if there is a way to use all moves showing on the dice by moving checkers within the home board or by bearing them off, the player must do so.

If a player's checker is hit while in the process of bearing off, that player may not bear off any others until it has been re-entered into the game and moved into the player's home board, according to the normal movement rules.

The first player to bear off all fifteen of their own checkers wins the game. If the opponent has not yet borne off any checkers when the game ends, the winner scores a gammon , which counts for double stakes.

If the opponent has not yet borne off any checkers and has some on the bar or in the winner's home board, the winner scores a backgammon , which counts for triple stakes.

To speed up match play and to provide an added dimension for strategy, a doubling cube is usually used. The doubling cube is not a die to be rolled, but rather a marker, with the numbers 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, and 64 inscribed on its sides to denote the current stake.

At the start of each game, the doubling cube is placed on the midpoint of the bar with the number 64 showing; the cube is then said to be "centered, on 1".

When the cube is centered, either player may start their turn by proposing that the game be played for twice the current stakes.

Their opponent must either accept "take" the doubled stakes or resign "drop" the game immediately. Whenever a player accepts doubled stakes, the cube is placed on their side of the board with the corresponding power of two facing upward, to indicate that the right to re-double belongs exclusively to that player.

For instance, if the cube showed the number 2 and a player wanted to redouble the stakes to put it at 4, the opponent choosing to drop the redouble would lose two, or twice the original stake.

There is no limit on the number of redoubles. Although 64 is the highest number depicted on the doubling cube, the stakes may rise to , , and so on.

In money games, a player is often permitted to "beaver" when offered the cube, doubling the value of the game again, while retaining possession of the cube.

A variant of the doubling cube "beaver" is the "raccoon". Players who doubled their opponent, seeing the opponent beaver the cube, may in turn then double the stakes once again "raccoon" as part of that cube phase before any dice are rolled.

The opponent retains the doubling cube. An example of a "raccoon" is the following: White doubles Black to 2 points, Black accepts then beavers the cube to 4 points; White, confident of a win, raccoons the cube to 8 points, while Black retains the cube.

Such a move adds greatly to the risk of having to face the doubling cube coming back at 8 times its original value when first doubling the opponent offered at 2 points, counter offered at 16 points should the luck of the dice change.

Some players may opt to invoke the "Murphy rule" or the "automatic double rule". If both opponents roll the same opening number, the doubling cube is incremented on each occasion yet remains in the middle of the board, available to either player.

The Murphy rule may be invoked with a maximum number of automatic doubles allowed and that limit is agreed to prior to a game or match commencing.

When a player decides to double the opponent, the value is then a double of whatever face value is shown e. The Murphy rule is not an official rule in backgammon and is rarely, if ever, seen in use at officially sanctioned tournaments.

The "Jacoby rule", named after Oswald Jacoby , allows gammons and backgammons to count for their respective double and triple values only if the cube has already been offered and accepted.

This encourages a player with a large lead to double, possibly ending the game, rather than to play it to conclusion hoping for a gammon or backgammon.

The Jacoby rule is widely used in money play but is not used in match play. The "Crawford rule", named after John R. Crawford , is designed to make match play more equitable for the player in the lead.

If a player is one point away from winning a match, that player's opponent will always want to double as early as possible in order to catch up.

Whether the game is worth one point or two, the trailing player must win to continue the match. To balance the situation, the Crawford rule requires that when a player first reaches a score one point short of winning, neither player may use the doubling cube for the following game, called the "Crawford game".

After the Crawford game, normal use of the doubling cube resumes. The Crawford rule is routinely used in tournament match play.

If the Crawford rule is in effect, then another option is the "Holland rule", named after Tim Holland , which stipulates that after the Crawford game, a player cannot double until after at least two rolls have been played by each side.

It was common in tournament play in the s, but is now rarely used. There are many variants of standard backgammon rules. Some are played primarily throughout one geographic region, and others add new tactical elements to the game.

Variants commonly alter the starting position, restrict certain moves, or assign special value to certain dice rolls, but in some geographic regions even the rules and directions of the checkers' movement change, rendering the game fundamentally different.

Acey-deucey is a variant of backgammon in which players start with no checkers on the board, and must bear them on at the beginning of the game.

The roll of is given special consideration, allowing the player, after moving the 1 and the 2, to select any desired doubles move.

A player also receives an extra turn after a roll of or of doubles. Hypergammon is a variant of backgammon in which players have only three checkers on the board, starting with one each on the , and points.

The game has been strongly solved , meaning that exact equities are available for all 32 million possible positions.

Nard is a traditional variant from Persia in which basic rules are almost the same except that even a single piece is 'safe'.

All 15 pieces start on the 24th wedge. Nackgammon is a variant of backgammon invented by Nick "Nack" Ballard [18] in which players start with one less checker on the 6-point and midpoint and two checkers on the point.

Russian backgammon is a variant described in as: " In this variant, doubles are more powerful: four moves are played as in standard backgammon, followed by four moves according to the difference of the dice value from 7, and then the player has another turn with the caveat that the turn ends if any portion of it cannot be completed.

Gul Bara and Tapa are also variants of the game popular in southeastern Europe and Turkey. The play will iterate among Backgammon, Gul Bara, and Tapa until one of the players reaches a score of 7 or 5.

Coan ki is an ancient Chinese board game that is very similar. Plakoto , Fevga and Portes are three versions of backgammon played in Greece.

Together, the three are referred to as Tavli. Misere Backgammon to Lose is a variant of backgammon in which the objective is to lose the game.

Other minor variants to the standard game are common among casual players in certain regions. For instance, only allowing a maximum of five checkers on any point Britain [24] or disallowing "hit-and-run" in the home board Middle East.

Backgammon has an established opening theory , although it is less detailed than that of chess. The tree of positions expands rapidly because of the number of possible dice rolls and the moves available on each turn.

Recent computer analysis has offered more insight on opening plays, but the midgame is reached quickly. After the opening, backgammon players frequently rely on some established general strategies, combining and switching among them to adapt to the changing conditions of a game.

A blot has the highest probability of being hit when it is 6 points away from an opponent's checker see picture.

Strategies can derive from that. The most direct one is simply to avoid being hit, trapped, or held in a stand-off.

A "running game" describes a strategy of moving as quickly as possible around the board, and is most successful when a player is already ahead in the race.

As the game progresses, this player may gain an advantage by hitting an opponent's blot from the anchor, or by rolling large doubles that allow the checkers to escape into a running game.

The "priming game" involves building a wall of checkers, called a prime, covering a number of consecutive points. This obstructs opposing checkers that are behind the prime.

A checker trapped behind a six-point prime cannot escape until the prime is broken. Because the opponent has difficulty re-entering from the bar or escaping, a player can quickly gain a running advantage and win the game, often with a gammon.

A "backgame" is a strategy that involves holding two or more anchors in an opponent's home board while being substantially behind in the race. The backgame is generally used only to salvage a game wherein a player is already significantly behind.

Using a backgame as an initial strategy is usually unsuccessful. For example, players may position all of their blots in such a way that the opponent must roll a 2 in order to hit any of them, reducing the probability of being hit more than once.

Many positions require a measurement of a player's standing in the race, for example, in making a doubling cube decision, or in determining whether to run home and begin bearing off.

The minimum total of pips needed to move a player's checkers around and off the board is called the "pip count". The difference between the two players' pip counts is frequently used as a measure of the leader's racing advantage.

Players often use mental calculation techniques to determine pip counts in live play. Backgammon is played in two principal variations, "Money" and "Match" play.

Money play means that every point counts evenly and every game stands alone, whether money is actually being wagered or not.

The format has a significant effect on strategy. In a match, the objective is not to win the maximum possible number of points, but rather to simply reach the score needed to win the match.

For example, a player leading a 9-point match by a score of 7—5 would be very reluctant to turn the doubling cube, as their opponent could take and make a costless redouble to 4, placing the entire outcome of the match on the current game.

Conversely, the trailing player would double very aggressively, particularly if they have chances to win a gammon in the current game. In money play, the theoretically correct checker play and cube action would never vary based on the score.

In , Emmet Keeler and Joel Spencer considered the question of when to double or accept a double using an idealized version of backgammon.

In their idealized version, the probability of winning varies randomly over time by Brownian motion , and there are no gammons or backgammons.

To reduce the possibility of cheating, most good quality backgammon sets use precision dice and a dice cup. Online cheating has therefore become extremely difficult.

In State of Oregon v. Barr , a court case pivotal to the continued widespread organised playing of backgammon in the US, the State argued backgammon is a game of chance and that it was therefore subject to Oregon's stringent gambling laws.

Paul Magriel was a key witness for the defence, contradicting Dr. Roger Nelson, the expert prosecution witness, by saying, "Game theory, however, really applies to games with imperfect knowledge, where something is concealed, such as poker.

Backgammon is not such a game. Everything is in front of you. The person who uses that information in the most effective manner will win.

Walker concluded that backgammon is a game of skill, not a game of chance, and found the defendant, backgammon tournament director Ted Barr, not guilty of promoting gambling.

Early Muslim scholars forbade backgammon. Enthusiasts have formed clubs for social play of backgammon. A backgammon chouette permits three or more players to participate in a single game, often for money.

One player competes against a team of all the other participants, and positions rotate after each game. Chouette play often permits the use of multiple doubling cubes.

Backgammon clubs may also organize tournaments. Large club tournaments sometimes draw competitors from other regions, with final matches viewed by hundreds of spectators.

Winners at major tournaments may receive prizes of tens of thousands of dollars. Starting in January , tournament directors began awarding GammonPoints, [42] a free points registry for tournament directors and players, with GammonPoint awards based on the number of players and strength of field.

The first world championship competition in backgammon was held in Las Vegas , Nevada in Tim Holland was declared the winner that year and at the tournament the following year.

For unknown reasons, there was no championship in , but in , Tim Holland again won the title. In , Lewis Deyong, who had promoted the Bahamas World Championship for the prior three years, suggested that the two events be combined.

By the 21st century, the largest international tournaments had established the basis of a tour for top professional players.

Major tournaments are held yearly worldwide.

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Luck and skill on the professional backgammon tour: an interview with author Robert Wachtel

The opponent must either accept th doubled stake or resign to defeat immediately thus ending the game. The option to redouble belongs exclusively to the player who accepted the double.

Technically, the game can be doubled up to 64 times the score, but it rarely goes beyond 4. If the "double" is declined, the doubler wins however many points the doubling cube is showing 1 x doubling cube.

If the game is played, the resulting score will then be multiplied by the doubling cube number. This little die adds a lot of fun strategy to the game.

We recommend trying it on for size! No payouts will be awarded, there are no "winnings", as all games represented by Games LLC are free to play.

Play strictly for fun. Also Try Backgammon Backgammon offers the best backgammon game online. Backgammon Game Strategy Fortify your checkers in backgammon by ensuring all remain in stacks of two or more at all times.

Knock opponent backgammon checkers off as much as possible. This makes it more difficult for the opponent to roll to get back into the game after being knocked off.

Feeling fiesty? Intentionally leave some checkers back to try and knock the opponent off the board as they make a run for their home territory!

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Cinco de Mayo Backgammon. More Games Solitaire. Video Poker. But mastering the game can take years -- and the right mental skills.

Two of those abilities involve the part of your brain that crunches numbers. For example, the better you are at some basic arithmetic and probability, the better you'll be at backgammon.

Because backgammon relies on the roll of dice, so a good grasp of numbers and probability is enormously helpful. Here's just one example: Rolling two dice produces 36 possible outcomes.

The odds of rolling a specific number are 11 in The odds that a roll contains one of two specific numbers are 20 in Another useful talent is recognizing patterns on the backgammon board.

This comes after playing many, many games and seeing how checkers often fall into certain positions that can be exploited by specific moves. After a while, you begin to recognize those positions and memorize the best corresponding moves.

Ace players have a mental library containing hundreds of such moves, enabling them to make quick decisions during a game.

Finally, don't underestimate the psychology of playing backgammon. Everyone has a certain personality and tendencies when they make moves and evaluate doubling opportunities.

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