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about those doubles

Posted By: Phil Simborg
Date: Thursday, 30 April 2015, at 4:03 a.m.

When I first started playing on line many years ago, I heard constant complaints from people about how many doubles I was rolling compared to them.

Last week I got a phone call from someone who wanted to prove to me that if you only count the number of doubles each player rolls you can determine who will win the match and who was luckier. (He believed that the rules should be changed so that doubles don't count as doubles--by the way, that is the rule my brother and I have played for years after there is no contact. I don't advocate that rule because it takes away from a lot of the fun and excitement of the bearoff, but it does somewhat reduce the luck factor in that situation.)

When I play live, I constantly hear people complain about doubles.

All a bunch of crap.

Everyone rolls the same number of doubles in the long run, and it's not the doubles that determines who wins: it is the skill and the luck. And luck is not measured by how many doubles there are. It is measured, fairly well by XG, as the number of good rolls vs. bad rolls you get compared to your opponent. Doubles are often bad rolls, and even when they are good rolls they are not always the best rolls. Of course they are generally very good rolls in a race, and certainly it is somewhat valid to equate luck in a race with rolling doubles, but even that ignores the very high and very low rolls and the misses you might roll. In the long run, everyone rolls doubles 1/6th of the time.

I can sympathize with people who were hung up on doubles many years ago before we had bots and a more analytical way of measuring good and bad luck, but those days are long gone.

So what if I danced with a 6-6? There might be rolls that I can come in with that are even worse than dancing. And there might be other rolls that also dance.

If you are going to waste your time looking at luck, at least consider what really matters...doubles is only one part of it and they can be good or bad.

It is human nature to notice your opponent's good rolls and your own bad rolls more. Almost everyone walks away from every game thinking their opponent was luckier than they were, except when it is extremely lopsided or when you have a bot that clearly proves otherwise.

But even more important, there are only two reasons I can see to study the rolls at all: 1) to make sure the dice are truly random, and that must be a very long-term study indeed, and; 2) to help determine if someone is cheating, either with crooked dice or dice manipulation. Yes, if someone gets a very high percentage of the right rolls at the right time, there is a possibility of fowl play. If you see someone take 3-roll/3-roll positions and similar positions that are clear passes, and they consistently win, there is a good chance something is wrong.

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