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Posted By: Phil Simborg
Date: Sunday, 11 September 2011, at 2:08 a.m.

In Response To: Tobias Hellwag--International BG Personality--Interview (Stick)

The quote that there is "no luck in backgammon" is one of the most profound and true statements I have ever heard. It is the single best argument and philosophy that combats the argument about luck in backgammon, and I thank Tobias for coming up with this amazing concept.

For those of you who might not have fully appreciated the meaning of his statement, let me elaborate.

If you play well and get to a position where you are favored to win 75% of the time, THERE IS NO LUCK from then on. If you play as you are supposed to, with skill, and without making errors, you will win that position 75% of the time provided you play it enough times. Yes, you will lose 25% of the time, but that is not because of bad luck, it's because you are supposed to. And yes, you will win 75% of the time, and that is not because of good luck, it's because that is the odds. Now, if you don't play well, you will not win as much, and if your opponent makes errors, you will win more. There is no luck in either of those two variables either.

If you get an opening 3-1 you will win that game about 55% of the time if you play well. Some argue you were "lucky" to get that roll, but in the long run, your opponent will get an opening 3-1 just as often as you will, so in the long run you will be a 55% favorite after the first roll just as often as your opponent is (provided he plays a 3-1 correctly).

THERE IS NO FRIGGING LUCK! There is only the odds, and the only thing that changes those odds is the relative skill difference between you and your opponent.

When I first read Tobias' statement, I nearly fell off my chair. It is the most profound statement about backgammon I have ever heard.

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