Backgammon Doubling Strategies

The question is often asked when is the right time to double. A follow up question is when will it be better to take or drop the offer. We should answer these questions in the context of each fundamental backgammon strategy. Since each of these strategies will have different situations and gaming conditions, we should rather get the answers individually.

When playing a priming game you will only have a couple of things to check when it comes to a doubling strategy. If you are in a prime versus prime type of priming game (i.e. you and your opponent both have established primes), you should check the length of the primes. If your opponent's prime is fewer than five points (meaning that yours is longer) or has been decreased to less than five points in the course of a game then it is a good time to offer the cube. Another condition you should check is that if back checkers have escaped. When that happens in a priming game it is time for you to offer the cube.

In a holding game, players should check the distance of the contending anchors. If your block and your opponent's anchor are more than six points apart (meaning you are in the lead) it is a good time to double. Nevertheless, it is still a good idea for the trailing player to take.

The position of the anchors in a holding game also play their part. Generally speaking if you are stuck with low anchors in a holding game you should drop when offer the cube. However, when you have anchors on better positions (e.g. the five-point on the opposing side) then you should take.

Back games will follow suit with the back game when you check out the doubling strategies for this game. The position of the anchors also play a tremendous part in your doubling decisions. The rule is to double (or take on the offer) when you have high anchors and pass when you have low anchors.

The backgammon blitz on the other hand will take on a different position when it comes to its cube action. If you're the attacker in a blitz and you have successfully made four or more home board points then you should offer the cube. If you only have three home board points you offer the cube only when you have brought down a builder from the mid-point to act as insurance in case your opponent tries to escape back checkers. You can offer the cube in a blitz even if the defender has anchors.

In a running game you double when your lead in the pip count by four points. However, if your lead in the pip count is three points then it is quite right to redouble when you have ownership of the cube.

These are the cube actions for each fundamental backgammon strategy. Each doubling strategy applies to each game in backgammon.