How to Roll Better


By Phil Simborg


Do you find yourself consistently dancing on a 2 point board?  Does your perfect back game usually crash when you roll double 4’s or 3’s?  Do you never seem to hit your opponent’s checker?  Do you seem to roll nothing but 1’s when you’re bearing off?


I can help you.  If you think you roll badly, or at least worse than your opponents, the truth is:  YOU PROBABLY ARE!


The reason, however, might surprise you.  You are not rolling worse because the Dice God has it in for you.  You are not rolling worse because the dice are crooked or, if you play on line, because the server doesn’t like your nickname.  You are rolling worse because you are playing worse.  Good players do roll better—because they put their checkers in positions that minimize the number and effect of bad rolls and maximize the number and effect of good rolls.


I was recently playing a match with a very nice lady who had a great back game, but then she rolled 4-4 which completely destroyed her timing and her game.  She commented how unlucky she was.  I had to bite my tongue, because I knew that on the previous roll she could have and should have taken a checker out from my side of the board, and if she had done that 4-4 would not have been such a bad roll at all.

So she thinks she rolled bad, but any good player knows she played poorly to be in that position.  AND THAT IS OFTEN THE CASE!   When your opponent rolls that 6-6 to win the game, often he is very lucky, but how many mistakes did you make along the way that allowed him to get to a position where 6-6 could win? 

If your name is Mochy, or Neil Kazaross, or John O'Hagan, and you lose to an inferior player, you probably can say you were unlucky and it would be true (though players of this caliber rarely make this statement because they know it is bad form).  But unless you are a player of that caliber, you probably don't have a right to make that claim.  And even when you do get really unlucky and lose, let's remember that you have gotten just as lucky and won just as often...unless, of course, you don't play perfectly!

So, to answer my initial question:  how to roll better?  PLAY BETTER!