Manny's Reviews > 501 Essential Backgammon Problems

501 Essential Backgammon Problems by Bill Robertie
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May 31, 09

bookshelves: games
Read in May, 2007

Attention backgammon players: this book really will improve your game! I thought I was fairly good, without ever have studied theory, and I used to play casual lunch-hour sessions with a colleague at a dollar a point. It was about even. Suddenly, one week, he started winning much more often. He must have pulled a good 40 dollars ahead before he confessed he'd been reading Robertie (he's such a nice guy). I immediately ordered a copy, read it, and by the next week we were level again.

If you're another person who plays backgammon but knows no theory: my guess is that you're not playing aggressively enough in the opening. There will be other things you're doing wrong too, but that will be the most important one. You need to take more risks. Robertie will give you the details.
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Comments (showing 1-11 of 11) (11 new)

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message 1: by Robert (new)

Robert Interesting...I'd worked out for myself that I was losing through being too cautious at the start of games. I wonder if I'm STILL too cautious despite having worked that out?


Manny Robert wrote: "Interesting...I'd worked out for myself that I was losing through being too cautious at the start of games. I wonder if I'm STILL too cautious despite having worked that out?"

My guess is that you probably are. I was quite surprised to see how aggressive you need to be.


message 3: by Robert (new)

Robert You're pretty keen on board games, aren't you?


Manny No, no, wherever did you get that idea from?


message 5: by Robert (new)

Robert So do you play against your kids?


Manny Nope, they're completely uninterested in games. But there are a couple of other kids from their generation that are getting some of my skills...


message 7: by Nick (new)

Nick Black isn't a complete theory of backgammon pretty much something you derive the first night, after losing a few packs of cigarettes? what's really going on here beyond a game tree calculation?

back in the Math Compound, you got kicked off the chess and go boards to the backgammon table once you'd smoked sufficiently to blunder at the former.


message 8: by Nick (new)

Nick Black Nick wrote: "isn't a complete theory of backgammon pretty much something you derive the first night, after losing a few packs of cigarettes? what's really going on here beyond a game tree calculation?"

To answer my own smart-arsed question, I went to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backgamm... it's Wikipedia, but this pretty much (a) agrees completely with and (b) contains my own thoughts on the matter...which I considered pretty certain. Would you disagree with the analysis therein?

If not, I can't imagine "501 backgammon problems". I feel confused! Manny, help!


Manny Um... the game trees are big (high branching factor), probabilities are involved, for human players you need to learn a lot of heuristics.

If you think backgammon is easy, try playing for money online against really strong players. You'll soon change your mind.



message 10: by Bram (last edited Jun 02, 2009 04:35PM) (new)

Bram Damn, could have used this advice a couple years ago--I used to work at a bar and would lose to the bartenders about 70% of the time. Should have known that I wasn't just unlucky, haha.


message 11: by Nick (last edited Jun 02, 2009 04:20PM) (new)

Nick Black Manny wrote: "Um... the game trees are big (high branching factor), probabilities are involved, for human players you need to learn a lot of heuristics.

If you think backgammon is easy, try playing for money on..."


Fair enough; I'm sufficiently intrigued to order this, I think. I'll let you know the results!


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