Backgammon Master

Backgammon Strategy

To win in Backgammon, luck of the dice is a factor, but besides pure chance, there are game strategies that make winning more likely.

Is backgammon a gambling game?

If two equally strong players play against each other, the chance of winning is 50% for each player. However, if you play with tactics and strategy, the chance shifts from 70% to 30%. A good player wins 70% of the game, the weaker player had the luck of the dice for the remaining 30%. This means that backgammon cannot be completely classified as a game of chance, so you can learn to play backgammon better.

Many backgammon beginners overestimate the factor of luck in the game, backgammon strategies make it much more likely to win. Is backgammon rather luck or skill? The backgammon strategy can consist of different types of games, for example „running“, where you try to bring your checkers into your own field as fast as possible, and „holding“, where walls are built to prevent your opponent from entering your field.

Here are 2 important points for a local strategy, i.e. within the game, described:

Block formation and chances of hitting

Backgammon Strategy

Never leave more than two checkers on one point in Backgammon, so that you can force your own block formation. Avoid making „holes“ (consecutive empty points, or points with only one checker (blot), so that they are not uncovered and the risk of being hit is minimized.

Before you hit a stone in the opponent’s field, you should consider the chances of this stone being hit when returning from the bar. Therefore, force the blocking of your checkers in your own inner field. If a single stone is to be placed close to the opponent’s stones, you should get as close as possible.

If you are in the process of removing the stones, give priority to blocking them. If an opponent’s checker is still on the bar It pays off to move the checkers over the outer and inner fields in block formation rather than moving individual checkers in isolation. Blocking is done by placing two pieces (primes) next to each other, making it more difficult for the opponent to jump over the blockade. At the same time you move your own stones in such a way that they lie on top of each other (anchors) and are placed at certain points.

One of the best books on backgammon was written by Paul Magriel. The English edition is usually a bit cheaper than the German edition – but the price of the book is worth it. Situations are vividly described and one gets many insights into backgammon strategies.

Backgammon moves and game strategies

Beside the regular tactics, like the occupation of important and strategic points, there are different kinds of games, which one should know on the one hand to estimate the strategy of the opponent correctly and to react appropriately and on the other hand to force the own game.

How to play the backgammon running game?

One of the easiest ways to play the game of backgammon is described with the running game. The aim is to move your checkers past your opponent as fast as possible with the highest possible dice combinations. One should take care not to be hit (two or more checkers on each other). This kind of game is especially suitable for beginners or for the player who is further ahead.

What is the backgammon blockade game?

A blockade means to occupy several points or points in a row with at least 2 stones. The largest possible blockade consists of 6 consecutive blocked spikes and is called Prime - the opponent cannot get over this blockade, because the highest possible number on the dice is 6. It is advisable to create the blockade in your own home field, so that the opponent (should he be defeated) cannot get out of it or it is more difficult. A blockade is best built between the 11-point and 2-point and try to play further towards your home field during the game.

What do you have to pay attention to when playing Backgammon holding game?

The aim of the holding game is to position the checkers in the opponent's home board in such a way that they have the possibility to hit the opponent or to move them safely out of the opponent's home board by a double. Ideally the anchors are positioned on points 4, 5 or 6.

How does the Backgammon Backgame work?

In the backgame you play rather defensively and try to place your own checkers in the opponent's home board or even on the bar to hit your opponent's checkers. This strategy should only be used if you are far behind and want to get the chance to turn the game around. This strategy also carries the risk that the opponent wins with a gammon or backgammon if the strategy is not successful.

What is the Backgammon Blitz attacking game?

In the attacking game you hit your opponent's checkers in your home board as early as possible and try to occupy and block it. This makes it harder for the opponent to enforce his own game, because the checkers have to be played back from the bar first. If this strategy is successful, the chances of winning the game with gammon or even backgammon are increased.

Backgammon Tips on tactics

If the described backgammon tips are taken to heart, there are also certain vertices or triangles which are more important than others. As in a strategy game, you should try to occupy these points and force your backgammon moves accordingly.

The most important points to aim for with two or more stones are the bar points (7 or 18) and the five point points (5 point: 5 or 20). If these tips are occupied, the opponent has a significantly harder time to push his game.

In addition to this tactical assessment, an estimation of the dice probability is equally relevant. Read more about the Backgammon dice theory.

Not only when playing with friends and acquaintances or in a café with a nice backgammon suitcase, but especially when playing online backgammon it is important to have a good strategy. If you play online backgammon and want to win, a tactic is essential. Players are ranked and assigned according to their skills and wins. The better you play, the more likely you are to get an equal player. However, if you take advantage of this, backgammon is a lucrative hobby that is fun as well as rewarding.

You already have experience in playing Backgammon and want to play against real opponents online? You know the rules and are looking for equal opponents?

Play online backgammon against real opponents

Backgammon Theory of Dice

Backgammon Würfeltheorie
The dice decide on successful moves

The backgammon game is largely decided by the dice. In addition to backgammon tactics and strategy, the dice roll is a factor that cannot be influenced by good dice – but regardless of this, one should know what possibilities there are with the dice on a playing field. Knowing the probabilities on the dice helps you to make moves and decisions in Backgammon with confidence. With an equal probability, 36 different combinations of dice can be achieved on two dice. The doubles count as a single roll, since the same numbers appear on the dice. If, for example, you roll 4- 2 and 2- 4, these are two events, and are therefore counted as two different pairs of dice. The dice theory is therefore essential for a good player in backgammon.

Overview of the available cube combinations

AZ AZ AZ AZ Optionen
zusammengefasst ergibt dies 36 Optionen
Legende: AZ = Augenzahl

You already have experience in playing Backgammon and want to play against real opponents online? You know the rules and are looking for equal opponents?

Play online backgammon against real opponents

The probability of hitting a blot

Often in a Backgammon game you are faced with the decision which move to make with a pair of dice. It becomes especially difficult when a checker stands alone and there is a possibility that it can be hit. Having the dice theory in mind is very helpful.

In good backgammon tournament boards the dice are hardly audible – felt inserts are used in the dice cups and on the playing field.

An example also for this: Your opponent stands with his blot three points away from your single blot. He now has the following options for hitting your checker on a dice roll: 1+2, 2+1, 1+3, 3+1, 2+3, 3+2, 3+3, 3+4, 4+3, 3+5, 5+3, 3+6, 6+3 and thus the probability of hitting your checker is 13 to 36. The fewer combinations of dice your opponent can roll, the lower the probability of being hit. Certain number combinations and their probability are based on simple mathematical rules.

Here is an example of how high the probability of rolling 2 and 4 is: If you assume 25 rolls, there is the theoretical possibility of rolling the number combination 2-4 or 4-2 twice. However, the combination is not rolled 34 times and the chances are 17 to 1 or 34 to 2.

The probability calculation becomes even clearer when using the example of a double. No matter what kind of doubles (two of the same number) – the probability is 1 in 35, since the combination is so rare.

Probability of hits

The probability of hits is based on the assumption that there are no enemy checkers between you and the backgammon checker. If one or more points are occupied between the opposing blot and your blot, the number of hits is less than shown.

EntfernungTreffermöglichkeitenGegnerische Wahrscheinlichkeit Sie zu treffen
11111 zu 36
21212 zu 36
31414 zu 36
41515 zu 36
51515 zu 36
61717 zu 36
766 zu 36
866 zu 36
955 zu 36
1033 zu 36
1122 zu 36
1233 zu 36
1511 zu 36
1611 zu 36
1811 zu 36
2011 zu 36
2411 zu 36

Probability of coming in from the bar

After your blot has been hit, it is possible to calculate the probability of the blot being returned from the bar back into the game. Thus the possibility is based on the points already occupied (you cannot enter there) as well as the free and the possibility of dice eyes. You can find an overview as a table here:

Die Anzahl der Punkte, welche besetzt sindDie Wahrscheinlichkeit in das Feld wieder rein zu kommenAnzahl der Möglichkeiten in das Feld rein zu kommenChance hereinzukommen
135 zu 363597%
232 zu 363289%
327 zu 362775%
420 zu 362056%
511 zu 361131%

The backgammon setup is the basis, you should know it inside out and then think about a tactic to win. Once you have internalized the dice theory and can combine quickly, you don’t need to be afraid of entering an online backgammon room. If you still want to raise your skills to a new level by taking an online course, the Backgammon Masterclass is the next right step for you.

You already have experience in playing Backgammon and want to play against real opponents online? You know the rules and are looking for equal opponents?

Play online backgammon against real opponents

Using the doubling cube correctly

Backgammon Dopplungswürfel
doubling cube

In addition to the dice theory with the odds of hitting and blocking, the doubling cube is often an instrument that beginners use relatively rarely and do not understand the strategy of doubling at all or only partially. However, there are also rules and methods that can be used to master doubling and thus maximize the profit within a game. If the doubling cube is used cleverly at the right time, it is an instrument that every backgammon player will enjoy using. In this case, the doubling cube has less to do with luck than with skill.

In the Backgammon Masterclass, the use of the doubling cube is explained, as well as how to play it out, and you get the information you need to take your game to the next level.

Backgammon tip for doubling cube

Raccoon Regel im Backgammon
The raccoon rule – a special feature of doubling

The doubling cube is often used when playing backgammon for money. It is used to double the stakes if the opponent agrees and wants to call the double for the stake.

An elementary tip for doubling is to only double if you are absolutely sure you are in a better position. Remember that the other player then has the power to double again and you may be at a disadvantage at that point. In the rules, good players only double up to 4x or a maximum of 8x.

What does a raccoon have to do with doubling? The raccoon rule is a special feature that can be used in backgammon games after the Beaver rule was applied.

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