Backgammon opening rolls

Besides being a game of chance, because players use dices in order to determine the number of checkers to move and where to move them, it is actually much more a game of knowledge, a game in which the experience of the player is very important, making it easier for the player to win. Besides knowing the rules of the game, the first step in order to gain experience is to learn some of the most important and advantageous moves.

There are a few opening rolls, actually the best ones that you can start with, called the Big Five opening rolls. People always tend to use them as described below, in order to have more chances of winning. These are:

  • 3-1 – when this dice combination occurs, the player usually makes a 5-point. Besides the fact that this move creates a home-board point, which is always a good thing, giving the other player fewer chances of entering in case he gets hit, it is also a good blocking point
  • 4-2 – for this combination, you can make the 4-point. This move, although not as good as 3-1, also give you the chance of blocking your opponent.
  • 5-3 – move your checkers in order to have a 3-point. Some people argue about this move. In 1970’s many of them said that a 3-point is somehow useless early in the game, but nowadays most people agree that a home-board point is better and safer than any other move
  • 6-1 – the best move for this combination is to make the bar point. This is considered the third best opening, after 3-1 and 4-2. It makes it harder for the opponent to manage to escape your home-board, and gives you the chance to make additional points, in order to block the adversary even more. It creates a compact position, leaving no wholes in which your adversary may have the chance to move his checker. The only thing that makes this move less advantageous than the other two, is the fact that it is not a home-board point.
  • 6-5 – this dice combination is usually the best way to run one of the back checkers into the mid-point. This dice combination gives you the opportunity to run, is completely safe, and allows you to use the six-checkers on your mid-point in order to be builders, to make new points, and to attack the other player in case he tries to escape.