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Backgammon Strategy
Introduction Dice Probability Opening Moves
Tutorial 1 Tutorial 2 Tutorial 3

Backgammon Tutorial 3: What's the point?

As we showed you in Tutorial 2, it is very important to stay flexible. The reason for this is that it makes it a lot easier to make a valuable point later on. The question automatically rises: Which ones are the valuable points? And what is the right time to make a point? We will try to give you some insight in this by showing some examples.
Important to realize first is that the 5-point is the most valuable point of the board. If you want to know why you can read Paul Magriel's "Backgammon". For now, just remember.

Example 1:
Pipcount: Purple 162 / Orange 160

You are playing with purple and you roll
Now this is a very interesting roll. You have the choice between three points you can make; the 21st, the 7th and the 5th. Even though the 7th point looks very good as this will not leave a blot, the 5th is prefered here. Notice also that this will give you a fair chance to make the 7th point in the next roll. Making the 21st point is also interesting, but this option comes in 3rd.

Example 2:
Pipcount: Purple 162 / Orange 160


You are playing with purple and you roll
In this case you have the choice between making your own barpoint (7th) and your opponent's 5th point (your 20th). Remember that the 5th point is the most important point on the board. As this is YOUR most important point, the 20th point is the most important point for your opponent (it's his 5th point). With that in mind it is easy to understand why making the 20th point is the best option here. Even more because orange already made its barpoint, making it harder for you to come out.

Example 3:
Pipcount: Purple 139 / Orange 146


You are playing with purple and you roll
A lot of people will be playing 20/16 13/10 here, slotting the 10 point. This will make you a six prime and therefore impossible for your opponent to pass. However, you should notice that you are ahead in the race, and therefore you want to get to your home board safely. So the right play here is 20/13.
If you would have been behind in the race you would have made the 10 point, but remember tutorial 1: Run when you are ahead!