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Eliters Newsletter
Issue Number 24
February 2005
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Backgammon Strategy - Use of the Cube

Backgammon (BG) is the oldest game known to man. Versions date back to ancient Egypt, 5000 years ago. It wasn't until the 1940s or 50s that someone gambling at BG came up with the doubling cube. Until the cube came to being, BG was a much duller game.

There is no sure fire way to learn how to use the cube, you only learn through experience. There are, however, a few guidelines that will help you to make better decisions. We will look at 2 areas, when to double and when you are doubled.

When thinking about cubing

  • consider the score and how doubling will help/hurt you.
  • will your opponent take? or is your position so good you should play for gammon.
  • when at match point for your opponent and not crawford game, ALWAYS throw the cube before your first roll.
  • ownership of the cube can be a powerful advantage for your opponent.
  • doubling early is dangerous, however can be very profitable (comes with experience)
When your opponent has cubed you
  • when in doubt, DROP, and live to fight another game !
  • use the "3-1 principal" that is, if you have a 1 in 3 chance of winning the game, the general rule is take. Ownership of the cube is power.
  • watch out for hidden gammons, for they count 4 points instead of 2 and can cause you to lose the match.
If the cube is in the middle (no one has doubled) be more aggressive. If you already own the cube, be more conservative. You are in the game until the end if you own it, with the prospect of redoubling your opponent out of the game.

These are just some general rules, there are as many reasons for taking\dropping as there are snowflakes. Learning how to use the cube correctly takes experience, but it is what separates the good players from the great. Watch top players play, read "Backgammon" by Paul Magriel and study. Never stop learning. Books have been written about the doubling cube, go to your library and read them. Most of all, play. There's no substitute for experience !

Note: "Double", "doubling", "cube", and "cubing" all refer to the use of the doubling cube in Backgammon.

For help on How to Play Backgammon (including rules of the game, its history and background), visit: Backgammon - Yahoo Help or Backgammon - Pogo Help

Our thanks to Kevin (tosscube) for providing helpful BG Strategy tips!

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