Last update: November, 2023
Why are so many people turned on to the game of backgammon?
The reason is quite simple. Everyone craves excitement, and backgammon is the most exciting game you will ever learn. Whether you are playing in a casino for huge stakes, killing time on a tedious plane journey, or just livening up a quiet evening at home, you inevitably find yourself playing on a little longer and a little longer. Backgammon players have learned to acknowledge that "Now, these have got to be the last three games - and this time I really mean it" is one of the most pointless sentences in the English language.
If you enjoy solving problems of logic, backgammon will constantly challenge you with new situations. If competition is what you like - "thrill of victory and agony of defeat" stuff - backgammon tournaments will gratify your wildest fantasies. And, of course, if gambling is your bag, prepare to get hooked for life. The game requires time to learn, but once mastered, backgammon repays its devotees with endless hours of high drama.
(From the excellent book Backgammon - Learning to Win by Lewis Deyong)
right balance between a board game where thereís real skill in
maneuvering the pieces - which of course it has in common with chess
- and a gambling game like poker, where youíre betting on
probabilistic outcomes. Itís a very nice merger of the two.
Backgammon is a deceptive game. Players of all levels invariably
underestimate its profundity; it is a complex game of tactics
and strategy. On every roll, a decision must be made, and the
cumulative weight of these decisions is a vital factor in
is an elegant amalgamation of probability, statistics, game
theory, and psychology. It is a game of considerable long-term
skill punctuated by short-term uncertainty.
Backgammon is a rich, complex game of strategy that is far from
solved. Top players like myself are constantly learning new
Backgammon, like life, is decision making under a constant circumstance of uncertainty.
- Neil Kazaross
Backgammon is a much more subtle, difficult, intricate game than people can possibly believe. The difficulty comes not in explicit calculation of odds; it comes, like chess, in the understanding and recognition of the strategy. In chess thereís no calculating of odds, yet thatís a very difficult game. Backgammon is an extremely misleading game in the sense that it seems a lot simpler than it is.
The fact that thereís the dice element masks the deep subtlety, the complexity, the beauty of the underlying strategy. Thereís so much more going on beneath the surface than people usually can possibly imagine. All different levels. People at all levels pretty much think they know all there is to know, they brush up a little about odds when theyíre just a million miles away from understanding. But the dice disguise the fact that itís a game of position and strategy.
Backgammon is very misleading. Itís hardly a simple game at all. The complexity certainly rivals, I believe, that of chess or bridge. Thereís a lot more to the game than people can possibly imagine. There are all sorts of different levels of ability and skill. You keep on getting better and better but people just donít recognize that there are all different levels, these different levels of play. So itís a very subtle, very profound game. But it appears to be a very, very simple game, which is part of the fascination of it.
- Paul Magriel
Where does that leave us in our quest
for the perfect game? If I was going to have to pick one, I would
choose backgammon. It is full of drama, twists and turns. The lead
can shift dramatically with a roll of the dice. As with the
mathematics of chaos, small changes can send things in completely
new directions. A beginner has the ability to beat an expert, but
even when the dice seem against you, strategic play can still give
you the upper hand. The rules couldnít be simpler, and yet, in each
of the thousands of matches Iíve played, the story is different
every time. And as well as being one of the most perfect games, it
is also one of humanityís most ancient Ė able to trace its origins
back to the game Finkel decoded at the British Museum.
How did I become a
Here's my story!
My collection of
Photos of some of
my backgammon sets
Is backgammon a
game of skill or chance?
Read this article from the
September 1982 issue of
from Bill Davis
Here are a
backgammon probability charts
you may find interesting
Here's a very simple
wrote many years ago,
and the laws of probability
Here's a very
backgammon lesson, again,
that I wrote many years ago.
Playing For Keeps:
A Weekend With The
Below are a few backgammon links
|Young Backgammon Player A Star
|The Gammon Press
|Nack Ballard's website
|Backgammon Learning Center
|Database of Backgammon Matches
All About GNU
|Why Isn't Backgammon More Popular?
|Paul's Backgammon Vaults
Rollouts for Robertie's
Sports Illustrated Article
A Gamesman's War Against Luck...
Developing a New Java Algorithm
for Playing Backgammon
Playing For Keeps: A Weekend
With The Backgammon Sub-Culture
|Backgammon at BoardgameGeek
|Custom Backgammon Boards
|Backgammon: Luck or Skill?
|The Ultimate Backgammon Board
|Temporal Difference Learning and TD-Gammon
|TD-learning, neural networks, and backgammon
|Backgammon Sets from Zontik Games
|Arizona Backgammon Club
|Carol Joy Cole's Backgammon A La Carte
|Double Sixes: What Backgammon and My Daughter Taught Me About How to Lighten Up
Love of Backgammon:
To Arabs, It's the
1 Game That Counts
at Two Plus Two hosted
by Bill Robertie
34th Monte Carlo Backgammon
World Championships 2009
|Backgammon Stock Photos & Images on 123RF
Global in Its Appeal,
Backgammon Is on a Roll
|Kit Woolsey's Gammon Online
|World Backgammon Association
|Backgammon on YouTube
Let it roll with
|Las Vegas Backgammon Club
|Backgammon Sets from Crisloid
|Backgammon Club Database
|Backgammon at Wikipedia
|Backgammon merchandise on eBay
|Backgammon at Games.com
|Mochy at Twitch.tv
|Backgammon By The Bay
|American Backgammon Tour on Facebook
& Images on Photobucket
|Chris Bray Backgammon
|Orange County Backgammon Club
|Collection of Unique Backgammon Boards
|Hardy's Backgammon Pages
|Gammon Backgammon Boards
|FTH High-Class Tournament Boards
|US Backgammon Federation
|The Chaos of the Dice
|The P-40 Backgammon Board
|Nordic Backgammon Boards
A 1979 Sports Illustrated
Article on Paul Magriel
Large collection of
games to play with your browser
Paul Magriel Memorial -
Tribute by Robert Wachtel