Rules of Thumb for Doubling Cube

RULES OF THUMB

FOR THE DOUBLING CUBE

By PHIL SIMBORG

 

  1. Think about your cube strategy, match equity, and take points, before each game begins.

 

  1. Think about whether or not you should be doubling before every roll.

 

  1. Major things to evaluate the position on the board are race, opportunity, and threats.   Use MCV to evaluate the position as well.

 

  1. If you are thinking about doubling, apply Woolsey’s Law:  Put yourself in your opponent’s shoes and ask yourself if you are sure if it’s a take or sure if it’s a drop, and if you’re not sure, then for sure it’s a double. 

 

  1. If you are thinking about doubling, apply Simborg’s Law:  Put yourself in your opponent’s shoes and ask yourself which decision causes the most pain.  Would you love to see the cube or hate to see it?  (The goal, in Backgammon, is to cause as much pain as possible to your opponent.)  Do the opposite of what you think your opponent would want you to do.

 

  1. If you are not sure whether to take or drop, Simborg’s Law also applies.  Put yourself in your opponent’s shoes and ask yourself if you hope he would drop or hope he would take, and then do the opposite. 

 

  1. When you are thinking of doubling, always ask yourself if you are “too good” to double.  (Too many gammons?)  Weigh the odds of the gammons against the odds of losing to make your decision.

 

  1. If you are thinking about doubling but are not sure, ask yourself how many “market losers” you have if you don’t double to help make your decision.—Use Robertie’s Definition of Market losers to help you.

 

  1. When you’re not quite sure whether to give the cube or not, give it.  You might be making a mistake not to cube, and you might be making a mistake to cube, but you only give your opponent a chance to make a mistake if you do cube.

 

  1.  When you get doubled and you are completely unsure of the situation, use “Reverse-Woolsey’s law.  If you’re not sure it’s a double, then FOR SURE you should take.

 

  1. If your opponent is in a back game, and it’s a money game, it’s generally right to double to activate gammons/in matches, the decision is trickier but activation of gammons is also important at certain scores.

 

  1. At 2-away/2-away double as soon as you are up even slightly.  If you’re not sure, double anyway.

 

  1. At 2-away/2-away take any cube if you think you can win 1/3 of the games or more.  (Gammons and backgammons don’t matter.)

 

  1. At 2-away/4-away the take point is around 18 percent for both players; at 2-away/ 2-away it’s 31.5 for both players.  At most other scores, it’s not far from the take points for money games, or 22-30%.  DON’T FORGET TO CONSIDER Gammons and the price of gammons at different scores.

 

 

  1. If it’s post-Crawford and you are losing, give the cube on the first roll if you have an odd number of points (and you need an even number to win the match).  If you have an even number of times, you might wait to cause your opponent to drop in error (but don’t wait too long if there are gammon chances).

 

  1. If it’s post-Crawford and you are winning, if your opponent is an even number away from winning the match, you have a “free drop” if your position is under 50 percent.  Use that free drop!

 

  1. Don’t forget that you are playing a human being, and take into account what you know, or think you know about that person’s tendencies relative to taking and dropping cubes.

 

  1. Every position is a different position.  Use reference positions to help, but consider all the factors before making your decision.

 

  1. Evaluate positions over the board considering ROT, but also apply MCV.  Check yourself using the dice log.

 

  1. If your opponent is 2/away and you are not, think about giving the cube at the first sign of potential gammons and good winning chances for you.  When you double earlier at this score, you don’t have as much to lose, because if he wins 1 point and gets to Crawford your odds are poor anyway, so you might as well turn the cube.  Once the cube is turned, gammons are big for you and meaningless for him.

 

  1. Most prime vs. prime situations are takes—certainly not all, but when you are on the fence, you will probably be right taking more often than dropping.

 

 

 

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