Backgammon Books

  Backgammon for Blood!

  AUTHOR: Bruce Becker
  YEAR: 1974
  PUBLISHER: Avon Books, A division of The Hearst Corporation
  CITY: New York, New York
  ISBN: 0-380-41137-7
  BINDING: Softcover
  PAGES: 176
  SIZE: 18 cm high, 11 cm wide


     "Chapter 4 outlines Becker's approach to backgammon strategy. Basically, what he advocates is building a prime by making the 5, 7, 9, and 10 points. Meanwhile one never moves the back men (unless forced to do so by an early double-six roll), and maintains the option of playing a back game to the greatest possible extent.
      Becker's map of the world is missing a couple of continents. One of them is Attack. It seems never to have dawned on him that you can win by closing out an opponent's checker.
      I was surprised to find Backgammon for Blood worse than I remembered. A great deal of the content amounts to filler. Much of what substitutes for exposition of the game's strategy is trivial, and most of the rest is wildly wrong."—Walter Trice, GammonVillage, June 2007.


     "Backgammon for Blood was a very popular book and good enough to turn many beginners into winners. Becker's writing style is entertaining, and his comments on luck, probability, doubling and attitude are worth absorbing. His recommendations on opening moves are not, and his recommended strategies are no longer good enough to beat competent intermediate level players.
      Becker hates a running game and has nothing to say about an advanced anchor holding game. His recommended strategy has two parts: First, he goes all out for a prime extending from the 5 point to the 10 point. Second, he doesn't really care if the slotted checkers get hit because he's eager to outplay his opponents in a back game."—Daniel Murphy, July 1997.


     "Backgammon for Blood doesn't stand up against modern strategy, but taken in context of the time it was a pretty radical and useful book."—PTaber, June 1999.


     "It is a terrible book that was spewed out during the backgammon craze of the early 1970's. Its catchy title fooled me into buying it, reading it, and trying out some of its principals. Unfortunately, for me, it made my backgammon play worse at the time. It tricked me into being gammoned and backgammoned more often."—Michael Fuhrmann, August 1997.


     "I was playing tournament backgammon at the time of publication of Backgammon for Blood. It was never considered to be anything but a joke."—Donald Kahn, June 1999.


     "I can't help speaking up for Bruce Becker's book. As far as books that provide a lively introduction to fundamental strategic aspects of the game go, Becker is pretty good! At least he writes in a vigorous, conversational way that doesn't put you to sleep. Magriel's book is a great work, but I would never drop it on newcomers to the game. Becker may well motivate new players to get hooked on the game."—Albert Steg, May 1994.


     "Backgammon for Blood" will help the novice player improve her game, and that will result in winning more games against other novices. More importantly, it forces the reader to think, since it poses questions and challenges the more widely accepted views on strategy such as those found in Jacoby and Crawford's 1971 introductory book. In this respect, Becker's book does some good, and we now know that the staid ideas of the old school really were in need of being challenged and refined."—Darse Billings, May 1994.


     "Despite the unsuitablity of the content as a modern learning tool, the book may still be regarded as a classic, if only for the novelty and entertainment value. Beckers passionate prose and wacky advice makes for an excellent light-hearted read and is guaranteed to not to put the bedtime reader to sleep, if only from fits of laughter."—Mark Driver, December 2001


     "Lewis Deyong, author of The Playboy Book of Backgammon, some time in or around 1980, issued a challenge to Bruce Becker. It was something like a challenge to a 17 point match, with Deyong willing to lay 6 to 5 (I think it was $6000 if Becker would put up $5000) provided that Becker would use the opening moves he recommends in his book. Either Becker never received the challenge, or he simply declined."—Shuman Lloyd Lee, August 1991


     "I bought the book with high expectations. Indeed, the title piqued my curiosity. What I found, though, was a very dry book with few diagrams after the section on opening moves. Furthermore, there was very little strategy mentioned other than 'playing the odds.' To Becker's credit, there is a good section on bearing off that I would recommend to anybody."—lekkerstuk , Customer Review at, December 2002


     "The first book on backgammon I bought was The Backgammon Book by Jacoby and Crawford that I picked up in the mid-to-late 70's. I couldn't read the whole thing and was about to lose interest in learning the game until I picked up this book from Becker. It really turned me around and I had a whole new perspective on backgammon. Becker gets you enthused about the game. I now realize Becker lacks a great deal of rational, logical and objective material but, what the heck, I still enjoy reading it to reignite more subjective emotions for the game. I'd give this one first to anyone considering learning the game and then quickly move them to Magriel's book."—Reader from the United States, Customer Review at, February 2002

1.  Science and Chance, and the Science of Chance
2.  Basics for Beginners
3.  If You Can Count to 36, You're into Probabilities and Odds
4.  Battle Strategy: The Basic Approach to War
5.  Insidious Openings
6.  Retaliations: Replies of Consequence
7.  Battle Strategy: Tactics During the Game
8.  The Pregnant Back Board: The Odds of Bearing Off
9.  The Diabolical Doubler: Betting for Blood
10.  The (Short) History of Backgammon
11.  Chouette
12.  Tournament Survival
Appendix:  The Rules of Backgammon and Their Variants in Play
  COVER: When Bruce Becker first learned backgammon, he learned it the easy way, the Drawing Room way—and, like plenty of other beginning players, he soon got bored with the game. But one lucky day, he happened upon a full-tilt, damn-the-torpedoes backgammon game played by two guys who were out for blood. And that's when Bruce Becker learned what backgammon was really all about!
      Now he's written it all down—the rules, the strategies, the unparalleled excitement of backgammon—in the one backgammon book that gives you both the playing tools and the "psyching" skills you need to win—and win big!
      There are two ways to play backgammon: nice and easy, the way most people do it ... or fast, tough, and strictly for blood. That's Bruce Becker's game, the real backgammon—the game that has intrigued and thrilled players for thousands of years.
      In Backgammon for Blood, backgammon master Becker shows you—
  • rules of the game and their
  • basic tactics for beginners
  • insidious openings
  • ruthless retaliations
  • tactics during the game
  • the back game: bearing off for blood
  • diabolical doublings: betting for blood
  • tested tips for tournament survival
and much more!
      Whether you're novice or expert—whether you play for money or the sheer enjoyment of it—backgammon is the most fun when you play to win. And Backgammon for Blood is the winner's choice.

  QUOTES: "If you're a gamesman, you'll like Bruce Becker's book."—Kirkus Reviews

"Interesting and lively ... movel approaches for the practical player."—Alan Truscott, The New York Times Columnist

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