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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  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  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,  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. PartyGaming sponsored the first World Series of Backgammon in from Cannes and later the 'Backgammon Million' tournament held in the Bahamas in January with a prize pool of one million dollars, the largest for any tournament to date.
The event was recorded for television in Europe and aired on Eurosport. In , the WBA collaborated with the online backgammon provider Play65 for the season of the European Backgammon Tour and with "Betfair" in When backgammon is played for money , the most common arrangement is to assign a monetary value to each point, and to play to a certain score, or until either player chooses to stop.
The stakes are raised by gammons, backgammons, and use of the doubling cube. Backgammon is sometimes available in casinos. Before the commercialization of artificial neural network programs, proposition bets on specific positions were very common among backgammon players and gamblers.
The game is included in Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics for the Nintendo Switch , a collection of tabletop games. Backgammon software has been developed not only to play and analyze games, but also to facilitate play between humans over the internet.
Dice rolls are provided by random or pseudorandom number generators. Real-time online play began with the First Internet Backgammon Server in July ,   but there are now a range of options,  many of which are commercial.
Backgammon has been studied considerably by computer scientists. Neural networks and other approaches have offered significant advances to software for gameplay and analysis.
The first strong computer opponent was BKG 9. 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.
You might find that she is reluctant to accept a double -- a habit that could be her undoing. It's this unique combination of luck, skill and strategy that has made backgammon such a popular game for thousands of years.
It offers ample opportunities to have some fun and meet interesting people, and, if you like to gamble, it can satisfy that need, as well.
Just keep in mind Dutchman Jan Steen's painting of a good backgammon game turned sour -- and leave all of the hitting on the board. Prev NEXT.
Backgammon Skills. Walker agreed. He found Barr innocent of promoting gambling, concluding that "backgammon is not a game of chance but a game of skill.
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It is played with two players lucky you, we have a computer player to enjoy! The object of backgammon is to move all your checkers around the board in a clockwise motion and ultimately bear off the checkers from the board.
The first player to remove all their checkers is the winner. Alternate turns with your opponent moving checkers toward your home in the upper right hand quadrant of the backgammon board.
Move checkers by rolling the dice. The numbers on the dice refer to how many spaces you may move with one or more checkers. Highlights show you where the checkers can possibly move.
If you roll doubles, you get to move each die twice, concluding in four moves for that turn. You may move your checkers onto any Point so long as it is occupied by your checkers, is empty, or has 1 opponent checker.
You may not move your checkers onto a Point with two or more opponent checkers. If you land on a Point with one opponent checker, you knock the opponent's checker off the board and send it back to the beginning.
The opponent must now roll and move into an empty spot in your home territory to get that checker back into gameplay. They may not move any other checkers until that knocked off checker is returned.
Beware though! Leaving your checkers open with only one on a point leaves them open to be knocked off by your opponent as well! Once you move all your checkers into the upper right quadrant in the single player backgammon game , you may start bearing off.
This means you can place your checkers into the slot on the right, removing them from the board. Whoever manages to do this first wins! One to three points can be awarded during the backgammon game dependant on where the loser's checkers are on the board when the winner wins.
If the losing player has not borne off any of their checkers by the time the winner has won, the winner will achieve 2 points, and is known as losing a gammon.
If the losing player has not borne off any of their checkers and has checkers in the opponent's home board lower right quadrant or are still knocked off, the winner scores three points, which is known as losing a backgammon.
The doubling cube is a fun option for players who are seasoned backgammon aficionados. Turn this option on or off in the menu at the start of the game.
It is a marker, instead of a die. 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! Picture Puzzle.
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