It’s not known when the game of backgammon was first invented, but boards and pieces have been found in many ancient archaeological sites, including a 5000-year-old Mesopotamian burial chamber. Despite the complicated setup, the rules for playing backgammon are actually quite easy to understand, since it’s based on the throw of two dice, rather than complicated strategy such as is found in chess.
But if you have never been exposed to this ancient game before, never fear. In this article, you can find out all about the rules for both the traditional game and casino backgammon basics and how you can make a bit of cash off both of them.
Basic backgammon rules
In case you don’t know what backgammon is, we’ll start with the absolute basics. This game is ancient, and as a result, the very easy backgammon rules you see below will have you playing the game in no time. In fact, the most difficult part of the game is setting it up, like football. But like football, there are a couple of tricks to make it interesting. The sneaky part is in the simplicity.
Looking at simple backgammon rules, we can see that the traditional board game is one that is played between two people, where the object is to clear your 15 pieces from the board before your opponent can clear his. You do this by rolling 2 dice and moving 2 pieces, or one piece twice, the number of points (bars) indicated on the dice. There are 24 points, with one player moving clockwise, and the other one moving counterclockwise. Neither can move backwards.
The backgammon setup and rules are, of course, the same for both players. If your start point is 24, and your destination is 1, pieces are placed as follows: 2 pieces on the 24 point, 5 on the 6 point, 3 on the 8 point, and 5 on the 13 point, for a total of 15. Once you’ve set up, each player rolls a die and the highest total goes first.
To complete a move, each player rolls both dice and must move 2 pieces, or the same piece twice, according to the numbers on each die. So, if a player rolls a 4 and a 5, one piece must move 4 points, and one must move 5. Basic backgammon rules are simple, right? Not so fast!
If it were that easy, it would be like playing snakes and ladders without the ladders, or the snakes. And since we all remember how much “fun” that was when were children, it’s understandable that there is a little bit more to that game than just rolling the dice and moving a piece. There are some restrictions on movement, so here’s the next complication in backgammon rules for beginners.
Easy backgammon rules for beginners
If your opponent has two or more pieces on a point, you can move over them, but you can’t land on them. However, if there is only one, you can knock the piece onto the center bar, from whence he has to re-enter the board. He has to do this before he can move any other piece, making this quite a useful tactic.
Once all your pieces are in the home section (points 6 to 1), you can start clearing them off the board, and the first person to clear all his pieces off the board wins. So that’s the basic rules of backgammon. Let’s kick it up a notch, then.
Another part of the whole game is the issue of the wager. The wager is an important part, as, according to the traditional backgammon game rules, wages have to be accepted, raised, or declined. As in many types of betting, though, if you decline the bet, or fold, you automatically lose the game.
Wagering increases exponentially in this game, though. Say you wager €10 at the start. Your wager is recorded according to the doubling cube, which is “set to one,” or showing 64. You decide you want to up the wager, and so take the cube and offer to double the wager. Your opponent agrees but then wants to up it again. Since you can only ever double the wager, your initial bet of €10 doubles to €20, then €40, then €80, and so on.
Although there’s theoretically no limit to the wager, and nothing in the basic backgammon rules for beginners and professionals, the practice is to keep doubling to a maximum of about 4 a match, although this isn’t always the case.
Casino backgammon is slightly different, as in this (seldom-seen) game, players wager on whether pieces will jump the center bar and make it out the half-sized board in a certain number of dice rolls. The betting rules for backgammon – online or in a casino – of this type are significantly different to the ancient form of backgammon. This game is not seen very often, though, and in fact seems to have disappeared from O’Sheas Casino, its original home. There’ll be more on this in a little while, though, so don’t fret.
Rules for playing backgammon online
If you prefer to play online, you’ll be pleased to know that the basic rules of backgammon online are identical to those for the game in the real world, especially if you want to play the traditional form of the game. While there are very few places that offer the newer casino backgammon, you can still find them on occasion, and the simple rules for casino backgammon make it a quick and easy game to learn.
The older game, of course, is present at many online casinos and other websites, so have a look around and see which game takes your fancy. If you can play for a small (or a large) wager, all the better!
Casino backgammon betting rules
As has already been said, the newer version of the game involves placing wagers on whether pieces will clear the Jump Bar at the center of the board. Wagers start on the first point, next to the bar, and as players win, they have the option of betting on the later points. Online backgammon betting rules also follow the same format, but they are published on the casino’s website, so you can get acquainted with them before you start playing. However, it hasn’t proven to be very popular with the punters, so it’s not very widely spread, or widely played.
So there you have it. You too can learn backgammon casino rules, and thereafter start playing this ancient game as it was intended to be played. Good luck, and enjoy!