Backgammon Strategies

Most people think that as backgammon is played with a pair of dice, that it is a game of chance. Not quite so. The rules are deceivingly simple, yet as you play along, you will realize that the game entails skill. Backgammon involves a combination of strategy and luck. Luck certainly helps in aiding a lousy player but in the long run, skill still dominates in the game. Multiple matches can eliminate the luck factor and fairly evaluate a player's skill. While moves are dictated by the roll of the dice, there is ample room to strategize - block the opponent? head for home? capture opponent's piece but leave your pieces exposed? Counter moves by the opponent also need to be considered making the game an exciting one to play.

Like chess albeit less complex, backgammon has been studied for its strategic intricacies. Perhaps the most important is the opening move. The starting position occurs in each and every game. Thus, it is good to know and study the best play for each possible opening move and responding to your opponent's openings. For some rolls, the best opening moves are without a doubt clear. However, for some rolls, there are no definitive answers to the best opening moves. So conversely, it also helps to know the worse opening plays to know which play to avoid.

After the opening moves, players adapt strategies according to the progress of the game. Strategies include:

1) running game - player moves as quickly as possible. Most often used when a player is at an advantage.

2) backgame - player leaves checkers in the opponent's home board while building own home board to block opponent's checkers and create opportunity to capture opponent's checkers as they move across. Converse to the running game, this strategy is usually used when a player is at a disadvantage.

3) holding game - player keeps checkers in the opponent's bar point such that an advantage may be created by hitting an opponent's checkers or by rolling high large doubles such that player's checkers can jump over the opponent's and start a running game

4) priming game - player builds a wall covering 6 consecutive points to effectively block the opponent's checkers from behind the wall

5) blitz - player closes the home board while the opponent's checkers is on the bar preventing the opponent's checkers from re-entering the board

Strategizing will aid in improving your game and increase your chances of winning. After all, gambling becomes much more fun if you win.

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