Match Play

Forum Archive : Match Play

Free drop

From:   Willis Elias
Address:   will@BIGSKY.AERO.ORG
Date:   10 October 1994
Subject:   Re: FIBS Etiquette and doubling from behind

Kit Woolsey was saying:
> If your opponent reaches match point and you win the Crawford game,
> it is definitely your best strategy to double as soon as legally
> possible.

I have a question about the strategy Kit discussed. Supposing I am two
away after winning Crawford's.  Say my opponent gets the first roll
and it happens to be an excellent opener: say 3-1, 4-2 or 6-1.
Is it still in my  best interest to double right before my first roll
of the match?  Is there any possible benefit to me holding off on the
double and waiting until I gain an advantageous position, _then_
double with the hopes that my opponent may drop?

avernesse on FIBS

Gerald E Mortensen  writes:

Your opponent will [should] drop any time you're 50% to win the game
since by dropping he gets one last winner-take-all chance. But
if you're really over 50% for the game you don't want him to drop,
since that drops you back to 50% to win the match.

Split all the post-crawford games -2:-1 games into 2 groups:

1) Games where at some point in the proceedings you're over 50% to
   win the game.
2) The other kind.

Now for type 1), when you get to the point where you are the favorite
you will wish the cube was already at 2 without your opponent being
able to cut his losses.

As for type 2), you lose either way.  Better luck next time :)


Dick King  writes:

Indeed when you are -1 and your opponent is -2 you drop any
disadvantage.  This is called the "free drop".  Your opponent needs to
win _that_ game to win if you take, but he needs to win the _next_
game if you drop, and the question is which game you would rather

When you are -1 and your opponent needs an odd number of points you do
not have a free drop because your opponent will need one fewer game to
win the match [assuming taken doubles from then on] if you do drop.
For example, if he is at -3 he needs this game and another if you take
the double, but he only needs that other game, or perhaps yet a third
game if you take a free drop then, if you drop.

Life might get interesting if your opponent is at -4.

If your opponent rolls a 31 and you roll a 52 you will drop when he
doubles, because you would rather play the next two games than this
one and another. This is of course a free drop.


Suppose your opponent gets his first chance to double after you are
only bruised, not battered.  It's a legitimate question whether you
should play on, therefore forcing your opponent to win this game plus
your choice of the next two games, or take your almost-free drop at
which point he needs to win the next two games and you don't get to
duck out on your obligation to finish what you have started.

Kit, you deal with this sort of stuff.  Do you ever think about
whether you are willing to play a slightly unfavorable game in order
to preserve a free drop for later in the match?


Kit Woolsey  writes:

This is really getting into some technical stuff, yet it is a very
valid point.  Certainly when you have the potential for a future free
drop you will be more inclined to save it if your are at a *slight*
disadvantage.  However, usually the disadvantage isn't as slight as
one might imagine.

Pretty much any time the opponent wins the opening roll and you don't
fire back a clearly good return you are at a fairly substantial
disadvantage, which means the free drop should be exercised
immediately.  I would recommend exercising it any time it is clear to
you that you are at a disadvantage, even if you think the disadvantage
may be slight.

Did you find the information in this article useful?          

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


Match Play

1-away/1-away: advice from Bernhard Kaiser  (Darse Billings, July 1995)  [Long message] [Recommended reading]
1-away/1-away: advice from Stick  (Stick+, Mar 2007)  [GammOnLine forum]
1-away/1-away: and similar scores  (Lou Poppler, Aug 1995) 
2-away/3-away: playing for gammon  (Tom Keith, Feb 1996) 
2-away/4-away: Neil's rule of 80  (Neil Kazaross, June 2004)  [GammOnLine forum]
2-away/4-away: cube strategy  (Tom Keith, Dec 1996) 
2-away/4-away: practical issues  (Mark Damish, Jan 1996) 
2-away/4-away: trailer's initial double  (Kit Woolsey, Jan 1996) 
3-away/4-away: opponent's recube  (William C. Bitting+, Feb 1997)  [Long message]
3-away/4-away: racing cube  (Bill Calton+, Nov 2012) 
3-away/4-away: tricky cube decision  (Kit Woolsey+, July 1994) 
3-away/4-away: what's the correct equity?  (Tom Keith, Sept 1997) 
4-away/4-away: take/drop point  (Gary Wong, Oct 1997) 
5-away/11-away: redouble to 8  (Gavin Anderson, Oct 1998) 
7-away/11-away: volatile recube decision  (Kit Woolsey, May 1997) 
Both too good and not good enough to double  (Paul Epstein+, Sept 2007) 
Comparing 2-away/3-away and 2-away/4-away  (Douglas Zare, Mar 2002) 
Crawford rule  (Chuck Bower, May 1998) 
Crawford rule  (Kit Woolsey, Mar 1997) 
Crawford rule--Why just one game?  (Walter Trice, Jan 2000) 
Crawford rule--history  (Michael Strato, Jan 2001) 
Delayed mandatory double  (tem_sat+, Oct 2010) 
Delayed mandatory double  (Donald Kahn+, Dec 1997)  [Recommended reading]
Doubling when facing a gammon loss  (Kit Woolsey, Jan 1999) 
Doubling when opponent is 2-away  (David Montgomery, Dec 1997) 
Doubling when you're an underdog  (Stein Kulseth, Dec 1997) 
Doubling window with gammons  (Jason Lee+, Jan 2009) 
Free drop  (Ian Shaw, May 1999) 
Free drop  (Willis Elias+, Oct 1994) 
Gammonless takepoint formula  (Adam Stocks, June 2002) 
Going for gammon when opp has free drop  (Kit Woolsey, Jan 1998) 
Going for gammon when opp has free drop  (Kit Woolsey, Apr 1995) 
Holland rule  (Neil Kazaross, Apr 2010) 
Holland rule  (Kit Woolsey, Dec 1994) 
Leading 2-away with good gammon chances  (Douglas Zare, Feb 2004)  [GammOnLine forum]
Match play 101  (Max Urban+, Oct 2009) 
Matches to a set number of games  (Tom Keith+, Oct 1998) 
Playing when opponent has free drop  (Gilles Baudrillard+, Dec 1996) 
Post-crawford doubling  (Scott Steiner+, Feb 2004) 
Post-crawford doubling  (Maik Stiebler+, Dec 2002) 
Post-crawford doubling  (Gus+, Sept 2002) 
Post-crawford mistakes  (Rob Adams, Sept 2007)  [GammOnLine forum]
Post-crawford/2-away: too good to double  (Robert-Jan Veldhuizen, July 2004) 
Slotting when opponent has free drop  (onur alan+, Apr 2013) 
Take points  (fiore+, Feb 2005)  [GammOnLine forum]
Tips to improve cube handling  (Lucky Jim+, Jan 2010) 
When to free drop  (Dan Pelton+, Oct 2006) 
When to free drop  (Tom Keith+, July 2005)  [GammOnLine forum]
When to free drop  (Gregg Cattanach, Dec 2004)  [GammOnLine forum]
When to free drop  (Kit Woolsey, Feb 1998) 
When to free drop  (Chuck Bower, Jan 1998) 
Which format most favors the favorite?  (Daniel Murphy+, Jan 2006)  [GammOnLine forum]

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