Luck versus Skill

Forum Archive : Luck versus Skill

Is there really luck in backgammon?

From:   benf
Date:   10 January 2012
Subject:   How do you compare to the Giants?
Forum: Forums

Think this is a game of luck?  Consider this.  I roll an opening 3-1.  Am I
lucky?  I would argue that I am not lucky at all!  The only reason this
roll is "lucky" is because I skillfully play it correctly.  When I make my
5 point I create an average equity for my opponent of -.229 and 11.4%

My playing the roll right gave my opponent more unlucky numbers! And I
don't think that my using an obviously played opening roll makes this less
valid.  You know those mid-game plays where you have to figure out your
game plan and there is only one right play?  If you find and make the right
play you give you opponent less lucky numbers, more unlucky numbers and
yourself more lucky numbers on your next roll!

Casper van der Tak  writes:

Still, I prefer to create my luck with an opening 3-1, over creating it
with, say, an opening 2-1. ;-)

Phil Simborg  writes:

Yes, many think you are "luckier" to get an opening 3-1 than an opening
2-1, but that is not true at all if, in the long run, you get both rolls an
equal number of times and so does your opponent.

What if you get an opening 3-1 four times in a row.  Is that luck, or is
that odds?  Some time in the future you might not see a 3-1 opening for a
month!  It evens out, as any logical, fair-minded person knows, but it only
evens out in the long run.

Ben's point is clear: the better you play, the more good rolls you will
have and the fewer good rolls your opponent gets.  And, assuming luck evens
out in the long run, the better player will win.

Casper van der Tak  writes:

I am afraid that I am not going to live a few thousand years, so I'd rather
win the lottery tomorrow than later.  And I'd call any favorable short term
deviation from the long term average luck.

Of course skill influences the long term average, so you could, if you
want, say that you make your own odds. And if you want to say that your
results improve when you do not focus on whether you are lucky or not, then
I agree, but that is more a psychological thing.
Did you find the information in this article useful?          

Do you have any comments you'd like to add?     


Luck versus Skill

Are good players just luckier?  (Douglas Zare, Sept 2000) 
Are luck and skill related?  (Eskimo+, Feb 2003) 
Does backgammon need less luck?  (Raccoon, Jan 2008)  [GammOnLine forum]
How much of backgammon is luck?  (Wai Mun Yoon, Jan 1998) 
How much skill versus luck?  (Alexandre Sierra, Nov 2000) 
How much skill versus luck?  (JP White+, Aug 2000) 
How often to win with perfect play?  (Robert-Jan Veldhuizen, Nov 2000) 
Is backgammon gambling?  (Luc Palmans+, Oct 2010) 
Is backgammon gambling?  (Kevin D. McLeaster, Sept 1997) 
Is there really luck in backgammon?  (benf+, Jan 2012) 
Recognizing luck  (Walter Trice, Dec 2004) 
Strange result  (az-willie+, Mar 2003) 
The Bower Luck-O-Meter  (Gary Wong, Aug 1998) 
Why are stronger players luckier?  (Bob Sweeney+, Oct 2002) 

[GammOnLine forum]  From GammOnLine       [Long message]  Long message       [Recommended reading]  Recommended reading       [Recent addition]  Recent addition

  Book Suggestions
Computer Dice
Cube Handling
Cube Handling in Races
Extreme Gammon
Fun and frustration
GNU Backgammon
Luck versus Skill
Magazines & E-zines
Match Archives
Match Equities
Match Play
Match Play at 2-away/2-away
Opening Rolls
Pip Counting
Play Sites
Probability and Statistics
Source Code
Strategy--Bearing Off
Strategy--Checker play


Return to:  Backgammon Galore : Forum Archive Main Page