Backgammon Roll-Over Strategy

The roll-over is a highly recommended tool in backgammon because it adds strategy, lowers the chance of luck and reduces frustration. It makes the game more interesting, enhances the quality of a match and is especially useful for players wanting to erase a devastatingly bad roll.

If you use the right roll-over strategy, it can be an effective weapon. Some things you need to know beforehand:

Don't let emotions dictate use of a roll-over

You will be tempted to use your roll-over every time you feel frustrated by bad luck.

While it can erase a bad roll, remember you can only use a roll-over once. So don't let emotions determine when you use this strategy.

Know the 7 times that are best to use a roll-over:

  • Your opponent gets a roll that will allow him to double you out.
  • Your roll allows the opponent to double you out.
  • You have a 70 percent chance of putting the opponent in a deep hole and miss it.
  • Opponent rolls double 4s, 5s or 6s in a straight race.
  • Opponent gets a 1-in-18 or 1-in-36 roll that really hurts
  • You do not bear at least two men off with just a couple rolls left in a game.
  • Opponent bears off more than two men with just a couple rolls left in the game.

Don't wait too late to use roll-over

While emotions should never tempt you to use your roll-over after every unlucky roll, don't save it for too long either. You should use your roll-over before you are doubled out. Use rollover before the game becomes a straight race.

Consider roll-over in conjunction with a backgammon doubling strategy.

Always take a roll-over situation into account when deciding whether to double or whether to accept a double.

Remember: Since there are 36 possible rolls, a player has a 1-in-36 chance of rolling a particular double such as 5-5 and a 1-in-18 chance of rolling a specific combination such as 6-3 or 3-6. In certain games a 1-in-18 roll by your opponent hurts you badly and suddenly puts him far ahead or erases your big lead. Those are the best times to use your roll-over.

Opening and Early-game Backgammon Moves

The beginning stage of a backgammon match is crucial because it sets the tone for the rest of the game. If you use the correct opening and early moves, you'll usually build a blockage, gain the lead, win the game and possibly gammon.

Think of it like the initial possession of a football game, when the receiving team seeks to drive down the field and score a touchdown or field goal to put pressure on the opponent.

On the flip side, those who start off on the wrong foot find it difficult to recover. Yet you can come back and win if you use the correct strategy. I'll discuss some of those later. Never thrown in the towel unless it's the right time to decline your opponent's double.

The best opening moves build your blockage between your 3-point and 9-point. If you get a roll that can either make your 5-point or hit an opponent's blot in an outer board, make your 5-point. It's too risky to leave a blot in your inner board.

You will gain a substantial lead if you can hit a blot on your opponent's inner board. This is a good strategy for throughout the game, not just the early stages.

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