Backgammon Cue: The Could Haves of Taking a Shot

When we play backgammon online, the fact that we're playing against another person is always a factor in how we make checker decisions. We know that this person won't always make moves that we expect and they could even drop us at any minute before the game actually ends. That's why it's interesting to see the dynamics of the "would haves" and the "could haves" of playing our rolls, more specifically, the "could haves" of taking a shot.

If we've been playing backgammon online for a time, we'd notice that we'd have periods of unluckiness. That is, no matter how good our moves are at first, alas, the dice tends to roll against us. Now, we might be playing against a better opponent but the consideration that this is not our best game cannot be denied. And in those times, in stead of taking a shot, we decide to pass and make a safer play to guard against our unlucky throws.

One of the "could haves" of taking a shot is when we get a chance to hit an opposing blot in our inner board. When our inner board is not as closed as we'd like and our roll allows us to hit and slot on our home board, the "could haves" of making that play enter our minds.

We can't help but think that if we hit that blot, it's very likely to go awry and hit us back on its re-entry. But without the knowledge of probabilities, we are led to make that decision under one condition. That is, how good our opponent's home board is defended. Yes, this basis is founded on what can possibly happen afterwards if we make that move.

Given the fact that we're convinced that the rolls aren't working in our favor, we are persuaded to think of the worst case scenario which is that our opponent will hit us upon re-entry. So if our opponent's home board is strong, we shouldn't take that shot - we could but we shouldn't. But if our opponent's home board is quite open, we should take that shot and hopefully, re-enter immediately and run home.

The simplicity of making decisions based on gut feelings despite the complexity of playing against another person when we play backgammon online is part of the interesting psychology of this game. Rather than taking in math and probability, we can't help the fact that there are times when we are unlucky and there are times when we are on a roll with our dice throws.

So the fact that we could've taken a shot but didn't may surprise our opponent for a bit which can be good for us, in a way. In other words, if we believe that we should be conservative in stead of making the expected backgammon online play when we feel that it's one of those unlucky days for us, deciding that we shouldn't be taking a shot when we could've for our peace of mind is actually good in it's own simple way.