How often have you head opponent complain about the dice? Seems like everyone I play thinks the dice are rigged against them. Funny thing is, they feel that way even when they win!
Don’t think this is just something that happens to people who play backgammon online. Almost everyone I talk to in the losers bracket at tournaments can tell you a “horror story” about the crazy dice that caused them to lose. Some write it off to chronic bad luck, and others actually suspect that the dice are crooked or they opponents are somehow cheating.
Most of the live and on-line players swear that they get worse dice than the better players. And the fact is, they are right. But for the wrong reasons.
EVERYONE ROLLS THE SAME. Both on line and live. In the long run, everyone rolls the same dice. The same number of double sixes, the same number of doubles, and the same number of jokers (great rolls). But the worse you play, the more bad rolls you get, simply because your checkers are positioned in such a way that there are more rolls that hurt you and less rolls that help you. That, in short, is the definition of a good play….it’s one that maximizes your opponent’s bad rolls and maximizes your own good rolls.
I beat a player badly in a race the other day by rolling two double-sixes in a row. Was I lucky? Sure I was. I was lucky that he played incorrectly two rolls earlier and didn’t hit me when he should have. If he had hit me, as he should have, my double sixes would have been a terrible roll.
I rolled a 5-2 the next game to make a prime, winning me the match? Was I just lucky. Yes. I was lucky that I learned that when it is important to make a prime it is best to spread your checkers out in the outfield so that you have the maximum number of rolls that would make a prime. I could have also made a prime with a 6-2, 5-1, 3-3, 2-2, and 2-1. If I had rolled any of those numbers, he would have said, again, that I was just lucky. I was also just lucky that I was playing him, because if he had split his back checkers on the previous play, as he should have, I would not have been able to spread my checkers out so much to give me so many numbers to make the prime.
I have seen dozens of studies about the dice in online backgammon, and they all prove, conclusively, that the dice are fair. Yes, sometimes you will see four doubles in a row. That happens in real life too, and if it didn’t happen once in a while, something would really be off.
When someone tells me they think the dice are rigged, my standard reply is: why? Do you think the backgammon server cares who rolls what? Even if it did care, do you think there is a built in program that, between rolls, can figure out what is a good roll and what is a bad roll? I’ve never seen a backgammon program that fast or that smart (and I’ve studied them all).
People just like to have an excuse for losing. People only see and remember their own bad rolls and remember their opponent’s good ones. It’s human nature.
My advice: IGNORE THE DICE COMPLETELY. You will have more fun; you will play better because you won’t get “spooked” by the dice; and you will be a lot happier, nicer person as a result.