Joined: 17 Aug 2006
| Post subject: How To Be Luckier at Backgammon
|HOW TO BE LUCKIER AT BACKGAMMON, by Phil Simborg
"God does not play dice with the universe, but he does play games with the dice."-- Phil Simborg
Backgammon is a game of skill, but we all know that it is also a game of luck. People have been debating for years how much of the game is skill and how much of the game is luck. The answer, to me, is very simple. The greater the difference in skill there is between the players, the less luck there is, and the closer the skill levels, the more luck there is.
If you have two players of identical skill and they both play their best, the winner will be the one who was luckier.
We all know that we can do something about our skill level. We can study; we can take lessons; we can watch and learn from better players; we can practice; we can use the computer programs to help us understand the game better. But is there anything we can do to change the luck factor? YES!!!!!
As I stated above, the better you play compared to your opponent, the less luck will enter in to your wins and losses. Another way to put this: the better you play, the less chance you give your opponent to roll a good, or "lucky" roll, and the less chance you give yourself to roll bad rolls.
By "definition," a good play reduces the number of good rolls your opponent could get and increases the number of good rolls you could get in the future. It also increases the number of bad rolls your opponent could get and decreases the number of bad rolls you could get in the future.
The same thing applies to cube decision. Bad decisions give your opponent more opportunities to roll well against you, and give you more opportunities to roll bad rolls. Good cube decisions increase the number of bad rolls your opponent can have, and decrease the number of bad rolls you could have.
Are you the kind of person who believes they consistently roll worse than your opponent? Chances are you are either not really looking at the rolls honestly and fairly, or maybe you really are rolling more bad rolls or fewer good rolls than they are. And if you really are, it is probably because you are playing people who play better than you, and you just didn't realize that was the reason.
Here is a real, simple example. Let's say you are playing a beginner, and he is bearing off his checkers, and he leaves you a shot that he didn't have to leave at all. He just played his checkers poorly and left you a chance to win by leaving you a shot. And you get "lucky" and hit the shot and win the game. The bad player only knows how lucky you were to roll that 4 and hit him. He knows that if you did not roll that 4 he would have probably won. He walks away feeling that you were luckier than he was. But if he had played his checkers right and not given you a chance to roll a 4, there was NO ROLL that was good for you. There was NO WAY FOR YOU TO GET LUCKY.
A lot less obvious situations like this come up all the time. I might make a great play and decide to block 6-6, which would be the only roll that could give my opponent a chance to win, and then, on the next roll, he rolls a 6-6. He thinks I am lucky that I rolled the number that allowed me to block the 6-6 the roll before, but I could have played that number several other ways, and a worse player might not have blocked 6-6. So was I lucky, or did I make a good play? The truth is, he was unlucky. He was unlucky that he got me for an opponent!
So, would you like to be luckier than your opponents? Play better, and you will be.