Backgammon – Luck versus Skill

Backgammon is a game that is based on luck and skill, and depending on who you ask it’s one, the other or both. The discussion over which category Backgammon falls in has taken place throughout its history that dates all the way back to ancient times. It’s also been debated in courts and other legal venues in order to determine which gambling laws should apply to the game of Backgammon, because in terms of legalization and licensing, luck versus skill does make a difference.

Needless to say, luck and skill both do play a role in Backgammon. An inexperienced player can win a game based on luck, but a really skilled player can really ensure that they win many of the matches that they play, especially if they are more skilled than an opponent.

There are some things that are always consistent in Backgammon. Each player receives 15 checkers which are setup the same way in every game. The goal in every game is for each player to move their checkers to the other side of the board, called their home board. Luck and skill both play a role along the way, but there is a lot of strategy involved in a successful Backgammon game in terms of blocking opponents and gaining the upper hand, and these elements are based on skill not just luck alone!

Where Luck Plays a Major Role

Some believe that Backgammon is based on luck primarily because checker moves are dependent upon the way the dice land after each role. That is not something that can be controlled by players, however, what happens after the dice are rolled can be. So the question is, what really means more when it comes to playing a game of Backgammon? What lands on the dice, or what players do with the numbers they are dealt?

Luck can make for a better Backgammon game. Players that make good rolls can get across the board faster, re-enter from the bar, and bear off once they get to their home board. Good rolls can make for a better game, but they do of course depend on the strategy applied by both players as well.

What Strategy Does to a Game of Backgammon

Since there’s no way to know what players will roll on the dice, of course, luck plays a role; but what’s even more essential is how they respond. There are tons of strategies that can be applied in games of Backgammon which require skill to carry out. Players not only need to understand how to play out the specific strategies; they also need to know when the best time to apply them is.

Early in the game, there are also strategies that can be played dependent upon the initial roll of the dice. Utilizing skill in Backgammon also requires players to memorize the tactics. Of course, all of these tactics and strategies can be learned, but actually carrying them out requires players to practice and gain intuition about the game.  With more practiced players often having more success, it proves that skill definitely plays a major role in the outcome of any game of Backgammon.

Some believe that skilled Backgammon players don’t rely upon luck, because they create their own. For example, when an opponent has blots on an inner board, it’s a great time to take risks and as a result, players will end up with better rolls than their opponent, and that’s strictly by taking advantage of the way that the game played out.

The Conclusion

While there might never be a true resolution – with so many thinking that Backgammon is about luck while others think it’s about skill – the reality is it’s about both. However, a good player takes advantage of that luck, makes their own and uses additional strategies that enables them to make the best moves possible regardless of what happens when they roll the dice.

Backgammon takes strategy and planning in order to inhibit the strength of an opponent’s game, and carrying this out requires skill. Rely on luck alone, you’ll get by playing Backgammon, but not once you’re up against players that are well-practiced and advanced their skills in the game. Those with skill, definitely find a way to pull ahead in any Backgammon game or tournament.