Backgammon Strategies: to Double or Gammon?

One of the best examples of the kind of complex decisions you will have to make in Backgammon is whether to offer the doubling cube or go for the gammon. Although primarily a problem for new players, even experienced ones have difficulty when faced with this choice.

First, some definitions. A gammon takes place when the losing player fails to remove any checkers from the board. When that occurs, the winning player earns twice the value of the cube. The doubling cube, of course, is used to add to the stakes being played for in the game.

When considering whether to offer the doubling cube or not, you will have to evaluate a number of factors in the Backgammon game. If you are leading the game and confident of winning you will want to go for the gammon. But if you have not yet offered, you will have to assess the situation carefully.

If you offer the cube to your Backgammon opponent, he might drop and you will win. On the other hand, he could take the cube and he could end up winning the Backgammon game. The same thing could happen when you play for the gammon; you could end up chasing it, but because you did not offer the cube, lose the game.

Clearly there are a lot of questions that need to be answered, and there are no definite answers. However, if you have been winning 1 out of every 4 Backgammon matches, you will want to go and play for the gammon.

If you are not certain, then the best Backgammon strategy to use is to offer the doubling cube when you are leading. The reason is that it is better to win based on what the cube has to offer (should your opponent take it) than lose trying to go for the gammon.

There will be times, however, when you will not want to offer the doubling cube. For example, if you are leading 3-0 in a first to 7 points match, you will not want to give it up. If you do and he takes, you could be in trouble. If your opponent wins the game, he could easily offer the cube back at four times the value, putting you in a tight spot.

When playing Backgammon, there are a lot of things that you will have to learn to evaluate. Choosing whether to aim for the gammon or to use doubling cube is just one of them. However, the more time you spend playing the game, the more you will learn which option to use. The key is to just keep playing.