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Is Backgammon a Casino Game?

If you’re in Vegas and you see a bunch of people mixing dice and checkers, you might be watching a Backgammon tournament. Backgammon is a game that’s played around the world. It is popular in the Middle East and its board is often found inside of travel chess and checkers sets. The basic rules of the game are quite simple. Players take turn rolling the dice. They move their pieces around the board until all of them are ‘home.’ If a player’s checker lands on a single piece alone, the other player’s piece is placed on the bar and has to start play over again. Even a first grader can learn the basic rules of backgammon.

At first glance, backgammon looks like a game of chance just like craps, but it is actually a strategy game. Since players can ‘take’ the other player’s pieces, and block them by putting two or more pieces on the same spot, a player can block his opponent from making progress. On the other hand, spending all of the game worrying about one’s opponent means not getting one’s own pieces around the board fast enough.

In recent years, there have been a few programming projects using a method called neural networking to determine the best move in any given backgammon games, proving that backgammon is much more a game of strategy than a game of chess. In this, it strongly resembles poker. On the other hand, a backgammon game allows only two players at a time. In addition, while there is betting, the betting does not have the level of importance that it has in poker.

In backgammon, in addition to the two dice that each player holds, there is an additional doubling die. If a player feels that he is in a winning position, he can offer his opponent a double. The player can either accept the double or resign the game. Additionally, if a player wins before his opponent has gotten any of their pieces ‘home,’ the win is doubled. As such, backgammon lends itself to wagering easily.

On the other hand, you’re not likely to see backgammon hit Atlantic City or Vegas as quickly as it’s hit some online casinos, because there’s no place for a dealer. Moreover, a single game takes a long time and can only accommodate two players. As a result, it is not profitable for land-based casinos to host backgammon on a regular basis. Some host backgammon tournaments once or twice a year, but it is rare to find a casino that hosts regular backgammon games.

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