JavaScript must be enabled for Sign In.
Please check your broswer settings.

Home \ Community \ Blogs \



Full Contact Backgammon

By: jergul @ 12:09 (EST) / 545 / Comment ( 1 )
A number of years ago my brother played backgammon in the cafe circuit in Odense, Denmark. He told me one day he had a theory he called full contact backgammon. In simple terms, the strategy revolved around whacking his opponent over the head with the backgammon board every time my brother lost. His goal was to create a pavlovian response and players would learn reluctance to defeat my brother in that game.

He never actually put the theory into practice for as far as I know, but the principle seemed relevant. In the backgammon world I tried two things:

1. Make any game so complicated that my opponent also no longer understood how to play the pieces.

2. Whack better players (which was virtually all of them) immediately with the double die as soon as I thought he would forfeit the game by not accepting (in backgammon you can double up the value of a match - the other player can either chose to accept the doubled value, or give up and just lose a single point in a match to say 9). I never became an accomplished player, but at least I irritated better players than myself on a regular basis. Which is a good thing. I think.

I created a pokerstars account close to two weeks ago (I played at another sight for a couple months back in the mid 00s), so am a poor and inexperienced player needing any crutch he can find. Which lead me to thinking how to best irritate better players than myself using backgammon as template.

Here is what I think today (and boy am I going to feel embarrassed some time down the road when I review what I thought today):

In any micro MMT, a lot of players are going to be better than me and a number of players will be like me or worse. The problem here is I get squeezed from two sides - predators stealing my chips as I limp along and a horde of lower level players swarming any pot I bid in. So for step 1.

- Duck and cover. The horde of all-in with anything from any position drowning my AKs tend to fade with time...and assuming I have a bit of time...I just let them die off before playing anything but the strongest hands.

Assuming I survive, then I face players for the most part better than me and almost inevitably me having less (sometimes far less) than 20 Big Blinds.

I realize that I will always be outplayed after the flop, so the best I can do is avoid any decisions after the flop. This leaves me with elegant options. I either shove, or I fold.

If I lose, I am out a buck and back to a new game to try again.

If it works...well, I usually gain the blinds and a few limpers. On a really lucky hand my inevitable predator will also lose his call-2,3,4-bet as he folds to my mighty all in. On a really lucky hand I double up, leave my comfort zone of less than 20 BBs and invariably experiment with stuff that loses chips and brings me back to my comfort zone again.

My strategy involves 4 things:

1. Having a shove range of hands I stick to.

2. Trying to imagine if my opposition will get irritated by my all-in (which from my backgammon experience I know is good) and if I imagine that is the case, then I have a strong argument for shoving on this or that hand.

3. Semi sort of almost but not quite understanding resteals and steal stack concepts. It ties into irritating people. Someone with about double my chipcount is going to be a lot more irritated by my shove than someone with 4 times my chip count. At least I think that is so. I know people with half my stack irritate me a lot more with a shove than tiny stacks do at least.

4. Never ever make decisions post-flop. The other players are better than me. Why give them the advantage of outplaying me?

While I hesitate to gloat over my success, I can attest that it on average takes me a significant number of hours to lose a dollar.

I'm not quiting my day job anytime soon.
In order to comment, you must login or register.
Take Quiz
New here? Take our Poker Assessment to start your education.
already a member? sign in here
JavaScript must be enabled for Sign In.
Please check your broswer settings.
Learn From basics to advanced strategy
Practice Improve your skills with our trainers
Win! Establish yourself as a winning player
/Featured Promotions/
Progressive Jackpot Progressive Jackpot Playing our new 'Scratch & Match' game is free and very easy. If you match 3 symbols you win a prize!!!! View details
Earn 10 Tournament Tickets Today! Earn 10 Tournament Tickets Today! Invite your friends to join Poker School and you could earn up to 10 tournament tickets as a reward! View details

Getting PokerStars is easy: download and install the PokerStars game software, create your free player account, and validate your email address. Clicking on the download poker button will lead to the installation of compatible poker software on your PC of 51.7 MB, which will enable you to register and play poker on the PokerStars platform. To uninstall PokerStars use the Windows uninstaller: click Start > Control Panel and then select Add or Remove programs > Select PokerStars and click Uninstall or Remove.

Copyright (c) All rights reserved, Rational Group, Douglas Bay Complex, King Edward Road, Onchan, Isle of Man, IM3 1DZ. You can email us on