World Series of Backgammon

You’ve heard of the World Series of Poker, but unless you’re a big fan of Backgammon, you might not be aware that there’s actually a World Series of Backgammon around now too. Backgammon is growing substantially in popularity online and offline and in order to meet the players’ demand for more tournaments and gaming opportunities, the World Series of Backgammon was created just a couple of years ago in 2006 by Backgammon player Andy Bell who is also a TV Producer.

Like the World Series of Poker (which the World Series of Backgammon has no other affiliation to, except for the fact that it follows a similar format for a different game), The World Series of Backgammon is a televised event. It takes place in Europe and broadcasts across a number of European sports channels, plus ESPN International which may have a North American audience for those interested in keeping an eye on the action.

World Series of Backgammon History

Since the World Series of Backgammon started in 2006, it’s grown in popularity each and every season with the number of players and the size of the audience that it has captured. Season I in 2006 took place at the Palms Casino, Cannes. The number of participants was smaller then, though one player still managed to finish triumphantly. Sean Casey from Ireland won the first ever World Series of Backgammon.

Season II was expected to be even more popular with more hype surrounding the World Series of Backgammon, so it was moved to a more prominent location in London. Sure enough, predictions were correct since there were 128 players in the main event. By 2008 when the next season of the World Series of Backgammon took place again, which saw 155 players at the final World Championship event.

As the popularity of the World Series of Backgammon grew along with the number of participants, so did the televised coverage. During the first season, the WSOB was only covered on European channels for a total of 8 hours of air time. By 2008 the World Series of Backgammon received 15 hours of coverage, and even had some famous names in Backgammon and Poker providing the commentary for the events.
In 2008, things were changed up a little bit as well when the World Series of Backgammon introduced a formal “final table” format!

Qualifying to Play in the World Series of Backgammon

As with the World Series of Poker events, the World Series of Backgammon allows players of all backgrounds and skill levels to participate in the competition. With the WSOB schedule typically beginning in the fall, at the time of writing this, specific scheduling for qualifying events both live or online was not known. However, players do always have the opportunity to play at participating online Backgammon sites in order to win seats, and even package deals from the top sites that pay their buy-in and sometimes even accommodations if they arrive at the main event. There are live satellite tournaments that take place across Europe, though it’s not these tournaments that offer players complete packages for participating. Online Backgammon sites like Play65 and Dice Arena have participated during previous seasons to allow their players to get involved with more opportunity!

Dice Arena is the online Backgammon site associated directly with the World Series of Backgammon, and since this was only implemented in 2009, it’s possible that it will be the only way to qualify online for the WSOB, although that has yet to be announced.

In addition to the satellite qualifying rounds to get a seat to the WSOB, “shootouts” are also offered which brings together the top players from previous seniors. This event is highly publicizes as the big names in Backgammon do come together, and it’s also a chance to really up the ante on the competition and allow the real pros to get a feel for what they’re up against if they make the cut!

World Series of Poker Tour for 2010

What is known about 2010’s World Series of Poker, despite the fact that a schedule and complete information has yet to be released, is that it will likely have $7,500 buy-in events for satellites and the main event, and the qualifiers through the satellite tournaments will have a chance to win the total pot at the final championship that’s a guaranteed $480,000.

Preparing for the World Series of Backgammon

Many players find it daunting to participate in such a large tournament. Backgammon may not be as high-profile as other games like Poker, but players that make the cut could still have the opportunity to play with some of the bigger names in Backgammon. As the game continues to increase in popularity, so does the “celebrity” surrounding some of the most skilled players in the industry. Despite all of these conceptions, the World Series of Backgammon really is just another tournament. Players don’t need to be anymore intimidated about it than anything else.

The best way to prepare for the World Series of Backgammon as with any tournament, is to practice, practice, practice. Players can learn the strategies by learning the different “games” and when they should implement them, and how to play at the beginning of the game depending upon what lands on the dice. Reading tutorials and participating in schools and training sessions offered by different online Backgammon sites can also help.

After that, players simply need to start joining in on the qualifier tournaments, but they shouldn’t set their expectations too high either. As with any form of gambling, it’s essential to set a limit. Just because there are unlimited buy-ins for some tournaments doesn’t mean that they should keep on playing after losses in the hopes that their luck will turn around. Players should do their best, but accept that they won’t always make it through to the WSOB and they should escape with their finances and personal lives in tact by ensuring that their expectations of themselves don’t allow their gambling to get out of control.