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Backgammon Online

Of all the popular games which you can play for money, online backgammon perhaps doesn’t spring to most people’s minds.

It’s true, Backgammon is a cerebral game of skill, although it does contain a strong element of luck too, so in this respect it more closely resembles Poker.

Casinos are starting to pick up on this, and it has been available in some walk-in casinos for a while, and now the online merchants are starting to follow suit (at the time of writing 888 and Betfair, for instance, offer Internet Backgammon as part of their suite of games).

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An in depth explanation of how to play backgammon is beyond the scope of this item, but we will try to outline some of the basic backgammon rules at least to give you an idea of what to expect, before turning to what sets apart this wonderful game from the mainstream game, as well as offering some selective tips on the best backgammon strategy.

In short, the idea of Backgammon casino game is to get your pieces (called chequers, or counters), 15 of them, from your side of the board (which is split in 2 halves) to the other side before your opponent. And that’s it!

The way you do this is to move along the ‘cones’, black and white or red and white respectively, of the board by the numbers rolled on a dice (part of the random factor of Backgammon) and kicking off (blotting) your opponents counters as you go, by landing on cones where their chequers are placed.

You can use combinations of the 2 dice depending on which works out best for you, for instance if the dice come up with a 3 and a 2, you can either move 2 chequers 3 and 2 cones forward respectively, or move just the one chequer forward 5 cones.

Please note that in the latter option, there MUST be an open cone ahead of you which is one of the 2 dice values (so in the above example there must be an open cone either 2 or 3 cones ahead of the chequer you want to move) or you can’t go.

As a result it is possible to block an opponent altogether if you have a line of your own chequers on subsequent cones.

When you blot an opponent’s counters they are placed on the ‘bar’ which separates the two halves of the board, and to get their chequer back into the game (or for you to do the same if the opponent has blotted you) they must start from your half of the board with the higher of the 2 numbers on the next dice roll.

There is an extra ‘dice’ called the doubling cube which is used to double the wager, from 1 to 2 (and subsequently from 2 to 4 and so on all the way up to 64) which is an additional part of casino backgammon strategy that many casual players are unaware of.

You would use this when playing an online backgammon game when you felt confident that you were likely to win.

Are there any specific differences when you play backgammon online as against face-to-face?

Largely you would be playing against the computer when you play casino backgammon online, but how does the scoring system work?

Points are usually scored, and money assigned to them, and you can set a limit as to how many points you reach before it’s game over, or alternatively play to the end as with the regular game, using the doubling cube as well.

Of course the rules of backgammon games will vary from site to site so always check these thoroughly before you commit, as this is an evolving area as noted, and it is, it has to be said, something of a more involved (and involving) game than some of the simpler online games on offer.

We also expect that in the future there will be opportunities to play Backgammon live, via video linkup, as is already the case with some other table games.

As for strategy, we’ll mention a few basics

If you’re already ahead of your opponent (ie. have got more counters off the board than they have) then one simple principle is just to get all your pieces off as quickly as you can.

Alternatively if you are lagging behind your opponent you can let some of your chequers build up on his or her side of the board, and then use that to ‘blot’ some of their counters, thus setting them back, or build up a line of blocking chequers on adjacent cones, which can have the effect of trapping your opponent behind it.

And finally, if you’re not sure who’s winning, a quick way of determining that is to calculate what the minimum number of dice rolls are needed to get each player’s counters completely off the board; whoever has the lower number is currently in the lead.

Another advantage of playing online against a computer is you can easily hit pause and take your time to both carry out this ‘pip count’ as it’s called, or think about all other areas of strategy (or go and make a cup of tea!).



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