Presenting players with an excellent combination of skill and luck, backgammon is fast on its way towards becoming the next big thing after online poker. Yes, that’s right, backgammon is a predominantly skill-based game, where luck plays a part in the big picture as well. Online backgammon rooms take a rake similar to the poker rake , so the two games are rather alike in that respect, too. In order to beat your opponent, you need to learn the game itself and its strategic aspects well, or at least better than your opponent. There are backgammon computer programs out there, you can use to play against and learn. The more like a computer you play, obviously, the better results you’ll have against human opponents. Beating a human, is fortunately much easier than beating a computer. Human players will have flaws in their strategy and they’ll make mistakes in their play. All you need to do, is exploit those mistakes. Much like in online poker, most of the money is not made playing against really skilled, almost computer-like human opponents, but against those “fish” who have but a few clues about how they should play the game. Flexibility is a very important issue in this respect. Even though, playing like a computer will most probably beat weak opponents, whenever you notice a flaw in their play, you have to adapt and change your game to best take advantage of these flaws. On the other hand, you have to be aware of the fact that whenever you change your play to adapt to a weaker opponent, you’re virtually sinking to his/her level. This means that you won’t be playing your best in that game, and playing your best is something you should always strive for. There’s quite a bit of a contradiction here, but the bottom line is, you have to try to adapt, while still bringing your “A-game”. An example in this sense would be when you notice your opponent is shy about giving the cube. In this situation, you may want to be a bit more aggressive on your checker play. If he is lose on dropping the cube, you may want to step up your giving the cube, because this might provide you some serious advantages. Likewise, if you feel he’s a weak checker player avoid straight-up confrontations. Look for more complex situations where his weak checker play will become a bigger liability. On one hand, you have to work on showcasing your strengths as much as you can, and creating situations when your strengths can really kick in, on the other hand, you have to do the same for your opponent’s weaknesses. By simply sticking to good play and ignoring his weaknesses you only complete half the job. The basic idea is that you have to go out there and actively force your opponent into making even more mistakes, while keeping your own game as strong as ever. This aspect is also reminiscent of poker. There too, good things might come to those who wait, but the best things come to those who go and fetch them. Backgammon opening strategy is a lot like blackjack basic strategy: experts have put together a list of moves you can make for different dice-combinations. Do not assume you can think of something better than what they recommend. Just learn these moves and learn to apply them under different circumstances. Of course, you have to view the game as a whole. There’s no reason to believe the opening moves are worth a wooden nickel, unless you play the whole game right. Good news is though, that there are tips and strategy pointers out there, for every single stage of a backgammon match. Make sure you read up on all of them.
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