Backgammon Tips

Advanced Backgammon Tips
by Martin Short
2001

Here is a list of 27 tips that will help you to become a better player. These are general guidelines to consider in common situations.

  1. Once a backgammon opponent makes an advanced anchor it is even more important to make one yourself. Your opponent can now afford to make bolder plays which could really put you on the defensive.

  2. If you are already substantially behind in the race it may not hurt your chances to fall further behind. When you are way behind in the race it may actually improve your timing to be hit again giving you a better backgame or avoid crunching your board.

  3. When ahead in the race, race! Break contact if you are ahead and bank on your racing advantage.

  4. When you are behind in a race it is usually wrong to abandon an anchor or a holding point. Waiting for that shot may be your only chance to win.

  5. When you are in doubt, hit. Hitting takes precedence in most situations, especially on your opponents side of the board when it makes a bigger difference in the race. Your opponent may dance.

  6. When you are behind in the race and waiting for a shot, slot and build the points in your home board in order.

  7. Always slot to extend primes, especially six-point primes since you have less checkers to work with. The exception would be when you risk being put behind a prime yourself.

  8. When considering a double, for every 2 gammons you think you will lose, you have to win 1 more game to make it up. Varies with match score.

  9. When considering a double, you should be able to win 25% of the games, if there is little risk of a gammon, to break even. Varies with match score (when behind be a little more aggressive, when ahead be a little more conservative).

  10. When trying to save a gammon, always bear into the six-point, and make crossovers whenever possible. On last roll situations, make the play which allows you to save gammon the most often.

  11. In prime vs. prime situations, make plays that don't allow you to play high numbers on your next roll.

  12. Fight for equality early in the game. Battle for your five-point and four-points on both sides of the board.

  13. When considering doubling while on the bar, a better backgammon tips is to make sure you have serious market losers, you may dance.

  14. When in doubt, lock up permanent assets. Making a key point is often better than a loose hit.

  15. When bearing off, use all your numbers to take checkers off rather than trying to smooth your distribution by filling holes.

  16. If you are 2 points away, try for the undoubled gammon rather than turning an early cube.

  17. Keep your composure during big swings of luck in a game. Consider each position as a new one and not as the one you used to have.

  18. When considering plays, try and duplicate your opponents constructive numbers.

  19. If the likelihood of getting a gammon is close to 50%, bear off aggressively; if it is very likely or unlikely, play it safe.

  20. Loose 6's are better played on your opponents side of the board. Better to try and escape or go for an anchor than to risk getting hit on your own side of the board.

  21. When you already have several of your opponents checkers back, a better backgammon strategy is to strengthen a prime than to send more back which may give them a better backgame or improve their timing.

  22. Recirculate your checkers when in a backgame. Getting hit will improve your timing and help you to avoid crunching your board.

  23. When in a backgame, consider all your opponents rolls and create shots by opening up points and increase your chances of hitting.

  24. Try and keep an even number of checkers on your highest points when bearing off against an anchor to avoid leaving shots if you roll high doubles.

  25. As a general rule, if you have fewer checkers left and fewer pips in a bearoff, you have a sound double.

  26. If you have a choice between hitting a checker on your opponents side of the board or make a point on your own side, a better backgammon tip is usually to hit.

  27. Your bar-point (seven-point) is valuable but, if you have a choice, it is better to make your five-point or four-point.

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