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Tricky/Answer by Perry Gartner

It is important to play out to your opponent's bar here.  Below is the rollout from extremeGammon, and if you scroll down you will get Perry's insights and explanation on this play.


Here is the way I resolve this position.

1.    What are my racing chances if I get to race? Estimate 30%.

2.    What are my hitting chances if I stay back?  Only immediate shot numbers are 6-5 and 6-2.  Red’s a big favorite to improve his board and decrease future shots. Therefore hitting shot chances are  slimmer than 30%.   If pointed on now or the next roll, gammons are increased substantially for Red.

3.    Red only hits with 18/36 if Blue comes out. 4-1,5-1, and 6-4 do not hit.  It means Blue get to race immediately about 16/36, when not hit.

Red gets 5/36, or 6/36 returns when hit with 15 of the 18/36 hits ( no returns with 1-1, and 6-6) by Blue on the bar. You don’t get that many shots when staying back.

4.    Coming out to the bar prevents Red from making an inner point on most rolls.  When you do get hit on the bar you could come in on the 1 point which is more likely to generate hits. Or, come in on the 3 point which is easier to escape from.

 

Let’s see how many wins coming out generates with my estimates of coming out: 30% x 16= 4.8 games, plus 15% of 15 = 2.2 games, plus 1 game after being hit and coming in, and 1 game after being closed out.

 

The rollouts show staying back isn’t terrible. It is possible to escape into the outfield on the next or future rolls and it is possible to get shots so this combination also seems to end up with about 9 wins, except gets gammoned more.

 

Another point that Phil mentioned is the value of holding the cube in a race.  You have many rolls to get into a position to re-double effectively, whereas if you play for contact the game will effectively end sooner when you get pointed on or when you hit your opponent.

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