Advanced Rules of Backgammon

Backgammon is a game that’s based on skill, strategy and a little bit of luck. Playing online Backgammon can be a more straight forward way for players to learn the principles and rules of the game since typically Backgammon software does not allow players to do anything outside of the rules of the game, which they might be able to do incidentally when learning on a Backgammon board. But, regardless of the way they choose to play, it is essential that they have an understanding of the more basic and the advanced Backgammon rules.
To understand the more advanced rules, players first need to get a grasp of the more simple ones.

Overview of the Basic Backgammon Rules

(see complete guide to Basic Backgammon Rules for more details)

The Backgammon board looks the same whether you play online or using a physical board (though sometimes colors may vary). There are 24 points on the Backgammon board which are triangles, there are 6 triangles grouped together in 4 different quadrants and the colors of the triangles alternate. Each player has their own section of the board, and the point on the outermost point is referred to as the 24 point.

Players setup the board, and then they must decide who goes first by rolling the dice. The player with the higher number goes first and they play the dice that they already rolled. In Backgammon, each die must be played separately whenever possible. As they move around the board, players cannot move to any point that already has two of their opponent’s checkers on it, which is how strategy comes into play while one player tries to block the other from succeeding. The ultimate objective is not get all checkers to the home board and then remove the checkers from the board entirely by bearing off, which involves rolling the dice and getting the number that corresponds to each point that a checker is sitting on. There’s little strategy once players get to the point of bearing off.

Betting in Backgammon is recorded using a doubling cube. Players have the option to raise the stakes before they roll the dice anytime it’s their turn. However, the other player is able to refuse the raise. There’s no limit to how many times the stakes can be doubled in Backgammon, though players cannot do it two turns in a row. The doubling cube has numbers which correspond to the stakes to keep track of betting.

Advanced Rules of Backgammon

Players that have a basic understanding of the rules of Backgammon outlined above can move onto learn about the more advanced rules. Some of them are optional when playing Backgammon online or on a physical board, and players have the option of deciding whether they’d like to put some of the rules into play or not. When playing online Backgammon, these selections can be made when setting up a new table and setting the options.

this is optional. Typically, when players raise the stakes with the doubling cube, it stays on their side of the table. After they’ve made their play, they typically have to give the doubling cube up again. When the Beavers rule is in play, they can keep the doubling cube and redouble the stakes before the opponent rolls their dice. When Beavers are in play, stakes of the game can really increase, so it’s a rule that can really apply to the high-rollers in Backgammon who have a decent bankroll!

this advanced Backgammon rule works similarly to Beavers and allows players to redouble the beaver right away
Crawford rule – with the Crawford rule, the doubling cube is taken out of play when a player is one point away from winning a match. This means that stakes can’t be raised for one single game in the match. However, once that rule has been applied, the next game in the match resumes with use of the doubling cube as normal. Of course, this rule only applies when players are playing match play rather than single games of Backgammon.

The Jacoby Rule
in theory, the Jacoby rule encourages players to raise the stakes because if the doubling cube has not been used at least one time during a game, gammons and backgammons only count as one point. This rule can also speed up the conclusion of a game when one player has a distinct advantage.

Note: in online Backgammon, many of the above advanced rules are applied to single games and match games. In single games, players have the option to resume another game with the same rules and stakes applied, or start fresh. In match play, the rules apply until the conclusion, the same as with tournaments

Specific Rules for Online Play

For those playing Backgammon online, there are a couple of specific rules that address technological need.  Players that want to resign from a game for whatever reason, have the option to do so, provided the other player accepts the resignation. A player who resigns either from a single game or a match can only do so if the outcome of the game is certain (meaning the player resigning has no hope of winning). If a resigning player resigns as a gammon, twice the number of points are lost, or from a backgammon where three times the points he/she had are lost.

Since players using online Backgammon sites may become disconnected , most online Backgammon sites have specific policies in place to address this. Many offer players 3 minutes to reconnect and then they’re able to resume the game directly. Any longer, and the game is considered loss so their points are deducted.