RULES OF THUMB
FOR THE DOUBLING CUBE
By PHIL SIMBORG
about your cube strategy, match equity, and take points, before
each game begins.
about whether or not you should be doubling before every roll.
things to evaluate the position on the board are race, opportunity, and
threats. Use MCV to
evaluate the position as well.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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.
2-away/2-away double as soon as you are up even slightly. If you’re not sure, double anyway.
2-away/2-away take any cube if you think you can win 1/3 of the games or
more. (Gammons and backgammons
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.
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).
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
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.
position is a different position.
Use reference positions to help, but consider all the factors
before making your decision.
positions over the board considering ROT, but also apply MCV. Check yourself using the dice log.
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.
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.