The Timeless Backgammon Story

For those who love playing fast action, exciting and skill based board games that also involve an element of chance, them backgammon must surely rank among the highest of them all. Here is a game that is older than most, dating back many centuries in fact, that has remained almost the same throughout all those years and yet still commands a great deal of respect and reverence from its players and proponents.

So let's take a look at this fascinating game and try to discover what has made it the game it is and why so many people play it for whatever reasons.

A Game to Bet On

backgammonEven in its early origins, backgammon was a game used as a platform for gambling. Players could and still can use the game as a means for placing bets on whether a player believes they can win a set of games. It is certainly popular among the inhabitants of several Mediterranean countries, especially Greece, Cyprus and Turkey.

Luck and skill in relatively equal parts creates an attractive game for many people. It is highly possible for beginners to beat experienced players especially if they have some luck with the dice. However, when played over a long series of games, the upper hand is more often than not gained by the more experienced player.

The Probabilities

By gaining an understanding of the chances of certain sets of numbers being thrown with the dice, a player can place themselves in a better position with which to make right decisions in order to gain a victory over their opponent. During the game play, each player's checkers can be vulnerable to being "hit" in certain instances. When a player is fully aware of the kind of probabilities involved, they can set their play strategy in accordance with the risk factors that are involved.

In fact, there is a 6:1 chance of any number resulting from a roll of a single die. With two dice as are played in this game, the odds of any combination occurring rise to 35:1. This means that the odds of rolling two such numbers as 6 and 4 halve at 17:1. The odds of rolling a certain sum with two dice are changed for each number. As an example, the odds are 5:1 to roll a 7.


The belief is that backgammon originated as early as several thousand years ago in what was then Mesopotamia, situated within the Persian Empire. In fact, it is the oldest known board game to be recorded in mankind's long history.

Back it its early days, the game was believed to have been played on a flat wooden surface using flat stones as checkers. Dice were constituted from a variety of materials including bone, stone and wood or in some cases, pottery.

Historically, the game of backgammon had its association with the great leaders and members of the nobilities of ancient civilisations such as Persia, Egypt, Greece and Rome and in fact was known to have extended to the Far East.

In modern times, backgammon’s popularity was improved by promotional tournaments such as those organised in 1960 by Prince Alexis Obelensky. These included the very first official world backgammon championship, played in the Bahamas.

It is only recently that technology has entered the frame, with the introduction in 1990 of the world's first self learning computer-based backgammon game, created by IBM's Gerald Tesauro. This game's popularity increased further by its introduction to several dedicated backgammon servers online, enabling players in their thousands to enjoy the game.

Most recently, the introduction of online backgammon tournaments and the game's inclusion in many online casinos, the popularity of playing backgammon online is now greater than it has ever been.