Backgammon Glossary


ABT: The American Backgammon Tour. An association of Backgammon players and clubs in the United States that compete in tournaments.

Accept a Double (Take): To agree to play for two times the present stakes when your opponent offers to double them.

Ace Point (Guff): A players 1 pt.

Ace Point Club: A popular backgammon club in New York City.

Ace Point Game (or One Point Game): A game when the only chance of winning is if a shot is hit from the ace point while the opponent is bearing off.

Acey Deucey: A variant of Backgammon popularized in the Navy and also a roll of 1 and 2 on the dice. In Acey Deucey, a roll of 1-2 allows you to move the 1-2, any set of doubles you wish and then you get to roll again.

Across: See Movement of Checkers.

Action: The term used by players describing the opportunity to play money games.

Action Play: A specific type of play in backgammon to provoke contact used when opponent has escaped the back checkers.

Active Builder: See builder. A checker that is completely free to help develop another point.

Advanced Anchor: An anchor on the opponents 4pt or 5pt.

Air Ball: A term from Basketball meaning a complete miss (of a shot).

Anchor: Having two or more checkers on a point in your opponent’s inner board.
Around the Corner: See movement of checkers.

Attacking Game (Blitz, Wipeout): A position where you hit and attempt to close out your opponent, usually hitting in your inner board.

Automatics (Automatic Doubles): An optional rule in backgammon whereby the cube is automatically turned to 2 if both players throw the same number while contesting for the opening move. Players usually limit these to one per game.

Awkward Number: A roll which can not be played constructively and deteriorates a position.

Backgame: A defensive position you are sometimes forced into when you hold two or more points in your opponents inner board. Stronger backgames are when you hold the 1 and 3, 2 and 3, or 2 and 4.

Back Man (Back Runner): A player’s checker in his opponent’s inner board.

Back Position: A defensive position (point) in your opponents side of the board.

Backgammon: The name of the game. Also, the result of a game in which one player has removed all their checkers while the opponent still has a checker in the winner’s home board or on the bar which counts as a triple game.

Backgammon Server: A computer network set up on the Internet by an individual or a company where people can go to play Backgammon. Players log on to the network utilizing a username and password. They may chat and play in matches or tournaments. The server provides the interface, either through downloadable software or an online application with graphical boards, and sends dice rolls to the players. The server also keeps a history of win/losses and ratings.

Barabino: A roll of 5-4 from the bar used to make the opponents 5-point. Named after backgammon player Rick Barabino who frequently got out of trouble by getting this roll.

Bar (Rail, Roof): The partition separating the inner and outer tables not counted as a space itself.

Barfly: A checker on the bar that has the potential to re-enter and hit a checker in the outfield.

Bar Point: The 7 pt or 18 pt, the one beside the bar in the outer boards. .

Battle of Primes: A type of position in backgammon where both players have their opponent’s men trapped behind primes.

Bear In: To bring your checkers into your inner board in preparation for the bearoff.

Bear Off (throw off, eat, take off, peel): Removing a piece from the inner table according to the throw of the dice.

Bearoff: The period of the game where the players are bearing off (taking off) checkers near the end of the game.

Beaver (Binache): An optional rule whereby a doubled player may demand that the stakes be quadrupled instead of doubled, while retaining possession of the cube. This demand must be made before the doubler has thrown.

Bertha: When a player accidentally moves a 6-5 roll from the 24 to the 13 point without having observed that his opponent has secured their 6 and 7 points.

BIBA: The British Isles Backgammon Association. An association of Backgammon players and clubs based in the United Kingdom that compete in tournaments.

Big Play (Bold or Strong Play): A bold or aggressive play when a safer yet less constructive play is available.

Binache: See Beaver.

Black: One of the players in the game of Backgammon, the one using the darker or black checkers.

Blitz (Wipeout, Attacking Game): See Attacking Game.

Blind Hit: A shot from the bar that hits an opponents blot in the outfield.

Block: To form points in front of your opponent to hinder their progress.

Blockade: See Prime.

Blocking Game: A strategy in which one or both players base their deployment of checkers on impeding the movement of the opponents checkers. (see Block).

Blocking Point: A point that hinders your opponents progress. (see block.)

Blot: An exposed single checker on a point. Subject to being hit by the opponent.

Blot Hitting Contest: A position in which there is a rapid exchange of hits.

Blunder: Moving your checkers in such a way that there was a far better way to do it. Making a very poor cube decision.

Board: The entire playing surface. Also, any of the four quadrants of the board. (i.e.. your inner board, your outer board, opponents inner board, and opponents outer board.

Boardage: The term used when a player has more points covered in their board also known as a “stronger board”.

Booby Point: The opponents Bar Point. Escape with both men from the booby point is difficult.

Book a checker: Safety a checker by making a point.

Bot (Robot): A computer program, often a neural net, that serves as a backgammon opponent or as a tool for analyzing the checker plays and cube decisions in a backgammon match. The most common Bot players are Snowie, Jellyfish, and GNU.

Box (in the box, man in the box): In a Backgammon Chouette, the player who is playing against the rest of the contestants.

Boxcars (The Boys): A roll of double sixes.

Break a Point: To give up a point already owned.

Break a Prime: To open points in the prime. See break a point.

Break Contact: To bypass your opponents checkers making it a pure racing game.

Break the Board (break up, crash): To give up points you have established in your inner board. See break a point.

Builder: A checker in position to help build important points which need to be made in the next few rolls.

Bulletproof: A term used to describe an opponent whose blots frequently avoid being hit.

Bump: See Hit.

Button Up: To safety a checker by bringing it together with another checker. See Book a checker.

Calcutta Auction: Prior to the start of a tournament, participants or spectators can often bid on who will win the event. The auction could be based on a bid for one player or sometimes a packaged group of players. The money goes into a fund or pool that is later handed out to those that bid successfully. An Auctioneer goes through the players or groups one by one asking for bids on those players. The person who bids highest for the player then ‘owns’ that player in the auction and puts the amount bid into the prize pool. The person who ‘owns’ the player who wins, wins the money in the prize pool. There is usually a ‘buyback’ option where the player being bought can purchase a share of themselves in the Calcutta Auction. The entire auctioning and bidding process is usually a fun event.

Candlesticks (Towers, Railroad Tracks, Stacking): To pile all the checkers on a few already established points.

Captain: In a Chouette, the player who represents the interests of all the contestants who are playing against the man in the box.

Carry: To move a checker.

Cash: To double your opponent when they are in such a bad position that you know that it will be refused allowing you to “cash” in your lead for money or points.

Cat’s Eyes (snake eyes): A roll of double 1’s.

Centered Cube: When the cube has not been used to double and remains in the center.

Checkers: The individual pieces of the players army. Each side has fifteen checkers also referred to as men, counters, pips, stones, or tiles.

Chouette: A game of backgammon composed of three or more players. One player, said to be “in the box”, plays against the captain. The fortunes of the other players depend on the fortunes of the Captain. The various partners may consult freely against the man in the box. At the conclusion of a game, the captain’s place is taken by the next in order of the contestants on his side, who becomes the new captain. The box plays for the agreed stake against each of the opponents.

Clean (Clean Play): A legal move.

Clear a Point: To give up an already established point.

Closed Board: A situation where one player has made the six points in their home board. If a blot is hit, that checker will not be able to re-enter the game until the player opens up (breaks) the home board.

Closed out (Shutout): When a checker from the bar cannot re-enter because all of the points in the opponents inner board are occupied.

Cluster Method (of pip counting): A way of counting pips developed by Jack Kissane known as one of the fastest pip counters in the backgammon world. Cluster counting involves the mental shifting of checkers into reference positions where the pipcount in known.

Cock Shot: Coming down from the bar with a roll of 6-2 when only the 2 point is open and bouncing out to hit a blot on the 8 point.

Cocked Dice: Any die (dice) which land illegally on a checker, off the board or in any manner other than flush and flat on the half of the board on the player’s right.

Coffeehouse: Misleading talk to confuse the opponent or cause them to make a decision that would be to your advantage.

Combination Shot: See Indirect Shot.

Combinations of the Dice: The number of possible rolls out of the possible 36 to accomplish a specific objective.

Come In: Bringing a checker back into play, after having been put on the bar.

Come Under the Gun: To move your back men forward in your opponent’s inner board so that they have at least three checkers bearing directly on them.

Comfort Station: A nickname for your midpoint (13 pt.) on which checkers escaping the other side of the board may rest safely.

Communicate: See Connectivity.

Connectivity: Having checkers placed so that they are within 6 pips of each other so that they can more easily make points and be protected.

Consolation Flight: Players eliminated early in the main tournament are eligible to compete in the consolation tournament or flight.

Consolidate: To better organize a loose position by making points and safetying blots.

Contact: To hit or be hit.

Contact Game: A type of backgammon game where opposing checkers have not gone past each other and still may hit each other.

Controlling a board (Containment): Having points or checkers bearing directly on a particular board.

Control a Point: Having two or more checkers on a point.

Counting Pips (The Count, Pipcount): A method of calculating how a player stands in the race by determining the minimum number of pips they will have to roll to remove all the checkers from the board. By comparing their pip count to their opponents pip count, they can determine whether they are ahead or behind in the race.

Coup Classique: A series of plays that starts with the opponent having only three checkers left on the 2 pt. to bear off and rolling a 1 leaving two of them open followed by the player hitting both checkers and going on to win the game.

Cover: To place a second checker on an exposed blot of the same color making a point.

CPW: Cubeless Probability of Winning- The chances a player has of winning the game if the doubling cube is not in use.

Crawford Game (Crawford Rule): The Crawford Game is used in backgammon match play when someone gets within 1 point of winning the match. On the next game the doubling cube cannot be used. However on subsequent games the cube is again available for use. Named after its inventor John R. Crawford.

Crossover: When a checker moves from one quadrant of the board to another, or is borne off.

Crossover Count: The number of crossovers required to take off all of your checkers. This is often used to help doubling decisions once contact is broken.

Crunch: When a roll forces you to break up a prime or board by moving checkers forward in a situation when it is undesirable to do so.

Cube (Doubling Cube, Doubling Block): A die-shaped object with a geometric progression of six numbers ranging from 2 to 64. At the outset of a game, the cube is placed in the middle, and either player has the option of doubling the game. The player who is doubled or redoubled has the option of declining or accepting the cube. If it is declined, they lose the game, if it is accepted, the stakes of the game are doubled.

Cube Action: The decisions made whether to offer, accept, or drop a double.

Cube Decision: To decide on a cube action.

Cube Equity: The equity (or winning chances) added to a position due to ownership of the cube.

Cube Ownership: When a player is in possession of the cube (after they have accepted a double) they are said to have ‘cube ownership’.

Cup: See Dice Cup.


Dance (Dancing on the Bar): To fail to re-enter off the bar.

Dead Checker: A checker deep in your own inner board that can no longer help build a point.

Dead Cube (Frozen Cube): This is a term used in backgammon match play when the doubling cube is not further used because the value of the cube is enough for the player to win the match.

Decline a Double: See Drop.

Deep: Refers to the one or two point in your inner board.

Deprive yourself of numbers: See Killing Numbers.

Deuce Point: The 2 point.

Dice: Cubes with dots numbered from 1 to 6. Each player takes turns rolling a pair of dice to determine the amount of spaces per move. The dots on the dice are also referred to as pips.

Dice Cup: A cylinder or open-ended box, in which a player shakes the dice and casts them.

Die: The singular form of Dice.

Dilly Builder: A spare checker that can only help to build a deep point in your inner board.

Direct Shot: When a checker can be hit by a number on a single die (1-6).

Disengage: To break contact with the opponents checkers turning the game into a pure race.

Diversification (Diversify): Arranging checkers so that you will have different useful numbers on the following turn.
DMP: See Double Match Point.

Double (give a little present to, cube, turn the crank, up the ante, twist): The process of turning the cube in backgammon. Each double multiplies the preceding stakes by two. While the cube itself has markings only up to 64, theoretically doubling and redoubling can continue beyond this number. In practical play the cube is seldom above 8.

Double Ducks (Ducks, Quacks): The roll of double 2’s.

Double Dummy: Speculating or discussing what would have been the correct move in light of what has been rolled and not what the odds dictated at the time.

Double Game: See Gammon. Or alternatively: A money or chouette game where an automatic double has to be taken after the first roll was tied.

Double Hit (Two on the Roof): To hit two opposing blots at the same time.

Double Jeopardy: When an awkward number could appear on either of the next two rolls.

Double Match Point (DMP): When both players are either one away or two away from the end of the backgammon match.

Doubles (Doublets): Two dice with the same number, which allows you to move twice the amount of the double.

Doubling Cube (Doubling Block): See Cube.

Doubling on the Come: Doubling in expectation of a good roll.

Double Whopper (also Double Whopper with Cheese): A very big blunder or mistake.

Doubling Window: The ‘window’ of opportunity (time) during a backgammon game where offering a double would be advantageous and give you the greatest equity. If you double before the window it is too early and an easy take and if you double after the window it is too late and is a drop. The window is typically when you have 60-75% match winning chances.

Downside: What you lose if you take a risk and don’t succeed.

Drop: 1. To Drop a double (pass). 2. To drop a man (slot).

Dropper: 1. Someone who tends to drop (decline, pass) doubles even when they should be accepted. 2. A term for someone who leaves in the middle of an online match because they are losing.

Drop Point: The point at which it is no longer equitable to take a double.

Drop-Take: A situation in a Chouette where one player drops a double while another takes but both share the loss on the dropped cube and the potential wins or losses on the taken cube.

Duplication: Arranging checkers so that your opponent needs the same numbers to do useful things (i.e.. hit a shot) on the next roll.


Eating: Another term for Bearing off.

Early Game: The first stages of play.

Edge of a prime: The open point directly in front of a prime.

Efficient Double: A double offered at a point where it is a difficult decision as to whether it should be taken or dropped.

Eject: To run with the last checker playing an ace point game to avoid a gammon or a backgammon.

ELO: A rating system used by many Online Backgammon Servers to calculate the relative strength of players. Based on a formula developed by Arpad Elo.

Endgame: Positions in backgammon where one or both players have begun the bear off.

Enter (re-enter): To bring a checker from the bar into your opponents home board.

Equity: Relates to the odds or percentage chance of a player winning a backgammon game or match from a certain position or the value of a certain position.
Exposed man (checker): See Blot.

Extras: 1. A rule sometimes used in Chouettes when not all of the players offered a double by the box choose to accept it. Any player who refused the double may offer that cube to a player who took the double originally offered by the box as a side bet on the outcome of the game. The extra cube is offered at the same level as the original and payment would be at half the value of the cube. Another optional rule regarding extras is to make the acceptance of extra cubes mandatory.
The practice of offering extras tends to punish bad cube takes and keep everyone involved in the game. 2. Mandatory extras are sometimes used in money play when the doubler is allowed to give an extra cube at the same level if the original double is taken. The doubler pays the receiver half of the cubes value and the receiver may then use both cubes to use together or separately for future doubles.


Fan: To fail to re-enter after being hit.

Fast Board (Speed Board): A bear off position where all the checkers are on deeper points where large numbers are not necessary to bear off and there are no gaps to waste numbers.

FIBS: First Internet Backgammon Server- This was the first backgammon server that allowed players to compete against each other over the Internet.

Field Goal: When a player has two men exposed close together and the opposing checker lands between them without hitting one.

Fish: A weak player willing to play for money against a stronger player.

Flexibility: Having your checkers arranged so that you can constructively play a variety of rolls on subsequent turns.

Fly Shot: An indirect shot with only a few combinations.

Forced Move: When there is only one legal way to play a roll.

Forward Game: See Running Game.

Free Drop: In backgammon match play after the Crawford game when the player in the lead has the option to drop a double without reducing the number of games the trailer needs to win the match. A free drop is utilized when the trailer has an advantage from the initial roll.

Free Drop Vigorish: The slight advantage the leader has after the crawford game because of the option to drop an early double at no cost. This occurs in Post-Crawford games when the trailer has an even number of points to go.

Freeze a Builder: To bring a checker to bear upon a point held with only two men by your opponent, restricting these men from being active builders.

Front Position: A collection of blocking/attacking points in your own home board.

Frozen Cube: See Dead Cube

Full Prime: Six points in a row held by one player. .

Gain-Loss Table: A method of calculating equity in a backgammon match to aid in a doubling decision by looking at the match equity of passing the double, taking the double and winning, and taking the double and losing. If the equity gained by taking and winning is 3 times the equity lost by taking and losing, it is correct to take the double.

Game: Single: bearing off all of your checkers before your opponent does. Double or Gammon: bearing off all of your checkers before your opponent bears off any. Triple or Backgammon: bearing off all of your checkers before your opponent bears off any, and still has a piece in your inner board or on the bar.

Gammon: A Gammon occurs when you bear off all of your checkers before your opponent has taken off any checkers. If you win a gammon you win twice the number of points that are indicated by the cube.

Gammon Price: The cost of going for a gammon versus winning a single game.
Gammon Price = (WG – W) / (W – L) where WG is number of gammons won, W is single wins, and L is losses. In money games, a play should win you twice as many gammons as it gives losses, if not, the gammon price is too high to make that play. At various match scores the gammon price may change dramatically.

Gammon Rate: The percentage of games that will end up in a gammon or backgammon.

Gammon Vigorish: The additional equity gained from a position because of the possibility of a gammon.
Gammonish: A term used to describe positions that are more likely to end up scoring a gammon for one or both players.

Gap: The space between established points. Usually referred to during Bear Off.

The Girls: A roll of double 5’s.

GNU: A backgammon bot much like Snowie and Jellyfish based on the GNU open source project meaning it is free for download by anyone. You can find more information on GNU here

Golden Point: The opponents 5 pt.

Go Out: Achieve the desired number of points in match play to win the match.

Going Forward: To attack by building forward points, constructing a prime, and putting your opponent on the bar.

Gravita Take: Taking a double you shouldn’t take in a high stakes money game, because you don’t want to give up the stake you are playing for with the intention of not paying if you don’t turn the game around and end up losing.
Guff (Guffy): See Ace Point. Named after a good player even though they always made the 1pt. earlier than needed.

GWC: Game Winning Chances in a game of backgammon.

Half-Roll (Half-Throw): When bearing off, the player about to throw, who has removed one more checker than the opponent, is said to be a half-roll ahead.

Handicap: A concession by which the stronger player accepts a predetermined disadvantage before play begins, so as to help equalize the winning chances for both sides.

Hari-Kiri Play: See Kamikaze Play.

Heavy Point: A point with more than three checkers on it.

Hit (bump, knock off, send back): To move one or more of your checkers to a point occupied by a blot of your opponent putting them on the bar.

Hit and Cover: To hit an opponents blot and make that point with the same roll.

Hit and Pass (Bump and Run, Bump and Pass, Pick and Pass): To hit an opposing checker and continue your checker to safety.

Hit and Split: To split your back runners while simultaneously hitting elsewhere on the board.

Hit Loose: To hit an opponents blot in your inner board without making the point and leaving it there vulnerable to a return shot.

Holding Game: A type of game where you hold a point or points in your opponent’s inner or outer board in order to prevent them from safely coming home.

Holland Rule: In match play, after one player has reached match point, and after the Crawford Rule game has been played, for the next two games neither player may double until two full rolls on each side have been completed. Named after Tim Holland.

Home Board (Home): The quadrant of the board to which a player needs to move checkers for the bearoff. Also known as the Inner Board.

Hypergammon: A variant of Backgammon where each side starts with only 3 checkers. 1 each on the 1, 2, and 3 pts. of the opponents inner board.

Illegal Play: A play that is not allowed based on the players actual roll. An illegal play is allowed to stand if neither player recognizes it before the next roll.

Inactive Builder: A checker that could be used to build another point but is currently being used as part of a point. See Builder.

Indirect Shot: A blot that can be hit only by a combination number using both of the dice. (7 or more pips away).

Inner Board: See Home Board.

Inside: Refers to Inner Boards.

Inside Backgammon: A popular backgammon magazine from the 70’s and 80’s.

Jacoby Rule: Players can agree before the game begins that gammons and backgammons will only count as 1 point if the cube has not been doubled by a player during the course of the game. Named after Oswald Jacoby.

Janowski’s Formula: A formula developed by Rick Janowski that gives an accurate estimate of Match winning chances assuming the players are of equal ability. If D is the difference in scores between the leader and the trailer, and T is the number of points the trailer has to go, the equity for the leader in percentage is: 50 + ((D*85)/(T+6)).

Jellyfish: A computer backgammon program that uses neural net technology to create a level of play close to top professionals. Available in various versions with the capability of analyzing matches. You can find more information on Jellyfish here

Jeopardy: The potential for an awkward roll.

Joker: Any roll that causes a large shift in the odds of winning the game also known as a huge Equity Swing.

Juice: See Vig. Also the amount of money taken by the house in a transaction.

Junior Whopper: A small blunder or mistake.

Juxtaposed Bars: This occurs when one player holds their opponents bar point while the other player is trying to bring checkers home from their own midpoint.


Kamikaze Play (Hari-Kiri play): Breaking points in your own inner board to hit a checker in hope of recirculating them.

Kauder Paradox: A rare position in money play where it is correct for one player to Double and also correct for the other player to Beaver.

Kibitz: To watch a match and listen to what is going on.

Kibitzer: One who is watching a match.

Key Point: An important point that gives you an advantage when made. (i.e.. the 5 pt. and the bar pt.). A key defensive point is the Golden Point.

Kill a Man: See Dead Checker.

Killing Numbers: To arrange checkers in a way that does not allow certain numbers to be played on your next turn.

Knock Off: See Hit.

Knockout: A type of backgammon tournament where you continue to play until you lose and are ‘knocked out’.


Last Roll Position: A position where the exact odds of winning can be calculated (usually with the intent of offering or taking a double) with both players still having a chance to win. .

Lead: A racing lead is the difference between the pip count of the two players and a match lead is the difference between the match scores of the two players.

Leave a shot: To leave a checker exposed within range of an opposing checker.

Lock up a point: To make an important point.

Longshot: A roll where the odds are clearly against it (i.e.. 17-1 or 35-1).

Loose Checker: A Blot.

Loose Play: Playing so as to leave several blots.

Losing your Market: When a number is rolled that would cause your opponent to drop a double on the next turn.

Lovers Leap: The move of one runner from the 1 pt. to immediate safety on the 12 pt., made possible by the throw of 6-5.


Main Flight: A term to describe the group of players in a tournament who have not lost a match.

Making a Point: Two of a players checkers on the same point ‘make it’ and close it to the opponents checkers.

Mandatory Double: This occurs when it is correct for the trailer in the match to double in a game because if they lose, the match will be over regardless of whether they double or not. In essence, they have nothing to lose by offering the double.

Market: The chances of you winning extra points by offering a double. A Market Gainer would be a sequence of rolls that would allow your opponent to take a double that they previously wouldn’t. A Market Loser would be a sequence of rolls that would cause your opponent to drop a double they previously would have taken.

Match: A series of games played to a predetermined number of points.

Match Equity: The chances of a player winning a match.

Match Equity Table: A table that gives accurate estimates of Match Equity based on the score of a match and the assumption that the players are of equal ability.

Match Play: A method of play usually used in tournaments whereby the first player to reach a predetermined number of points win the match.

Match Point: One point less than the number of points needed to win the match.

Match Point Game: Any game where one player is at match point.

Middle Game: The main body of the game after the opening moves and before either player begins to bear off.

Midpoint: Your 13 pt. or your opponents 12 pt. A good strategic point held by both players at the beginning of the game that provides control of the outer board and a place for back checkers to land.

Mix it Up: To get involved in a blot hitting contest.

Mixed Roll: Any roll where there are two different numbers on the dice.

Money Game: A game played for money. In a money game the cube can always be used and is not restricted by a set number of points.

Movement of Checkers (down, in, off, out, up, around the corner, across): 1. In- from the bar to opponents home board 2. Up-moving forward within opponents home board. 3. Out-moving from opponents home board to opponents outer board. 4. Down or Around the corner-moving from opponents outer board to players outer board. 5. In- moving from a players outer board to the players home board. 6. Off- moving from players home board off the board permanently in the bear off. 7. Across- Moving from any of the four quadrants to any other quadrants.

Mutual Holding Game: A game in which both players hold defensive points waiting for the other to be forced out of hit by rolling an awkward number.

MWC: Match Winning Chances. The odds or probability that you will win the match.

NackGammon: A variation of Backgammon where two checkers are taken off the midpoint and 6 pt. and placed on the 23 pt. causing each player to start with four checkers in the opposing home board. Invented by Nick (Nack) Ballard.

Naturally: To make a point naturally (without slotting or with builders).

Neil’s Numbers: A set of numbers developed by Neil Kazaross to help calculate Match Equity based on the current match score. The winner’s probability of winning is 50% + the lead multiplied by Neil’s Number.

Points Trailer Needs














Neil’s Number








Next to Beirut: Your opponent’s bar point (easy to get there but hard to leave).

No-Brainer: A running game where no further contact is possible and the outcome depends only on the roll of the dice, or an obvious play that requires very little thought to make.

Non-Contact Game: The race. Both sides have effectively side stepped their opponents checkers and now have the sole objective of bearing them all off.

Nothing Game: A poor relation of the back game in which you hold several good points in your opponents inner board but have all your other men too far forward in your inner board making it easy for them to re-enter and get around the board.

Normalized Match Score: The score in terms of how many points are still needed to win the match. (e.g. 1-away, 2-away).

Nullo Play: Making a play that does nothing positive and is not better than any other possibility. Usually a big error.

Number of Shots: See Shot. The number of times out of 36 that a shot will be hit.

Off (the Board): Said of those checkers already removed from the board during the bear off.

On the bar: A checker awaiting re-entry after being hit as a blot.

One Point Game: See Ace Point Game.

On Roll: The player whose turn it is, is said to be ‘On Roll’.

Open Point: A point that is not owned by either player.

Opening Roll: To start the game both players roll a single die and the player who rolls the higher number starts first using the numbers on both dice for the ‘opening roll’. .

Otter: The acceptance of a Raccoon and offering of another double at the same time while retaining possession of the cube.

Outer Board: The points numbered 7-18 and are not a part of either player’s home board.

Outfield: The outer boards.

Outside Prime: A prime consisting of points primarily in the outer board.

Own a Point: To have two or more checkers on a point.

Own the Cube: To have the cube on your side of the board after your opponent has doubled you being the only one with the option to double.

Partner for the Box: An optional rule for Chouettes that have several players.

Pass: To refuse to accept the cube when doubled by the opponent, thus giving up the game and losing the value indicated on the cube before the double.

Payoff: The reward for making a certain play (see Upside) or the collection of winnings from a money game or tournament.

Peel: See Bear Off

Permanent Asset: An asset that will not go away after a good roll by your opponent.

Pick Up: See Hit.

Pip Count: The minimum number of pips needed to be rolled to bear off all of your checkers. To get a pip count you multiply the number of checkers on each point by the number of the point and add the totals together.

Pips: 1. The dots that appear on the face of a die, denoting the value of that face. 2. The units of movement e.g. moving 7 pips forward.

Play on: To continue playing the game (in match play) without doubling in hopes of getting an undoubled gammon.

Point On: To make a point on top of an opposing blot.

Points: Used in four ways. 1. One of the twenty-four partitions on the board which are usually triangular and individually numbered from 1 to 24. 2. Any of the above defined points on which two or more checkers of one color rest. If two or more are on one point, a player may move more of their checkers to that point. However, the opponent may not move onto any point so occupied. 3. To ‘point’ on a blot meaning to hit a blot and make the point on the same roll. 4. As in Scoring- The units of scoring are referred to as points.

Position: The general structure of where your checkers are located throughout the board.

Possession of the Cube: See Owning the Cube.

PRAT: A guide to help make doubling decisions. Consists of Position, Race, and Threats.

Pressure: To arrange your checkers so as to directly bear on an opponents blot often forcing them to move it on their next turn.

Prime: When consecutive points are occupied by the same player blocking an opponents men. See Full Prime.

Priming Game: A type of game in which the chief objective is to trap some of the opponents men behind a prime.

Progress: The movement of pieces towards and into the inner board and then the removal from it.

Proposition (Prop): The same prearranged position to be played over a certain amount of times, most often for money or as a way to settle a dispute most often over a cube decision.

Pseudo-prime: A prime consisting of only 4 or 5 points.

Pure Play: The style of play that involves putting the checkers where they would be most advantageous even if it means exposing them to shots.

Pure Race: See Racing Game

Quacks: See Double Ducks.

Quadrant: One of the four divisions of the backgammon table. Each quadrant contains six points.

Quads: A roll of double 4’s.

Raccoon: Accepting a Beaver and offering another double at the same time while retaining possession of the cube.

Race: The object of the game is to race around the board and bear off all of your checkers.
Rail: See Bar.

Railroad Tracks: See Candlesticks.

Recirculation: Keeping checkers in play by having them hit and re-entering them in your opponents home board.

Re-Cube Vig (Recube-Vigorish): The added equity attained by possessing the ability to Re-Double if the opportunity arises.

Re-double: After accepting the cube and doubling the stakes of the game, a player can then re-double the opponent, again doubling the stakes.

Re-enter: See Enter.

Reference Position: A position where the equity or chances of winning are known. This position can be used to help evaluate similar positions.

Refuse a Double (Reject a Double): See Pass.

Return Shot: The shot your opponent will have back at you after you have hit them.

Rim: See Bar.

Roll: To throw the dice, or the numbers thrown.

Roll Out: Taking a position and playing it out many times to get a better idea of what will typically occur during a game.

Rolling Prime: A special technique for advancing a prime around the board.

Roof: See Bar.

Root Number: A particular roll (usually doubles) that causes an inner board or prime to crunch.

Runners: The two pieces starting on the opponents 1 pt..

Running Game: A strategy whereby a player tries to move their men home as quickly as possible, avoiding blockades and being hit as much as they can.

Safe: A position or play that exposes no checkers to being hit.

Safety a Checker: To move it out of danger of being hit.

Save Gammon: To avoid being gammoned where the possibility of being gammoned exists.

Save Numbers: To leave certain numbers available to play on your next roll so that you are not forced to make them somewhere else on the board.

Semi-Backgame: A player who is behind in the count and gains possession of the opponents four or five point, thus hampering the opponent while still trying to run with the other checkers.

Send Back: See Hit.

Set-up (Opening Position): The arrangement of the checkers on the board at the beginning of the game.

Settlement: An agreement to end the game based on potential equity, rather than put the stakes ‘up for grabs’ based on a single fortuitous throw of the dice.

Settlement Equity:The fair value in equity of a game that is given, rather than finishing the game.

SheshBesh (ShishBish): A Middle Eastern variant of backgammon.

Shoka: A Joker roll that causes a large decrease in your game winning chances.

Shot: An opportunity to hit a blot.

Shutout: When a player with a checker on the bar cannot re-enter because all the points are closed.

Side Prime: A block of six consecutive points. See Prime.

Single Shot Settlement: When one player has a shot that will determine the outcome of the game if it is hit or missed they may offer a settlement. A single shot settlement is worth approximately (.4) X (value of the cube).

Slot: Placing a blot on a point with the intention of making that point on the next turn.

Slot and Split: The often unwise play, where one slots a checker in their own board while splitting the back runners.

Slow Board: A Bear Off position where all the checkers are on the higher points meaning it will take a longer amount of time to Bear them all off.

Small Play: A safe play where another bolder one is available.

Snowie: A computer program that uses a Neural Network to play and analyze matches at a world class level. You can find more information on Snowie here

Snake Eyes: A roll of double 1’s.

Spare (Spare Checker): A checker not needed to own the point.

Split: To separate two men which are together on a point.

Stacking: A style of play where the player plays every checker so as not to expose a blot which usually leads to Candlesticks.

Stake: The wager of the game, typically money (in money games) or points (in match play).

Stay off (Stay out): Fail to come in from the bar. See Fan.

Staying Back: A defensive strategy leading to playing a back game or holding game.

Steam: To lose control and patience and be likely to double weak positions and accepting doubles in hopeless positions.

Steamer: One who Steams.

Straggler: The last checker heading for the inner board alone and vulnerable to being hit.

Straight Race: A position where both sides have bypassed their opponent checkers and are preoccupied solely by moving their checkers home and bearing off.

Stripped (Stretched): A position barren of spare men or builders, thus prone to awkward numbers.

Stripped Point: A point without any extra builders.

Strong Play: See Big Play.

Structural Play: A move that builds an important point.

Switch Points: To give up one point to make another.

Sydney: When a 1-6 is rolled from the bar entering and escaping a checker, often hitting one on the 7 pt. in the process.

Sympathy Flight: See Consolation Flight.

Table: A word formerly used synonymously with board.

Tailgate: To roll prematurely (before your opponent has picked up their dice).

Take (Accept a Double): To agree to receive the cube when doubled by the opponent and continue the game for double the previous stakes.

Take Off: See Bear Off.

Take Up: To hit a blot.

Tempo: A unit of time in backgammon, or half a roll.

Tempo Move: A move designed to deprive the opponent of a tempo.

Thorp Count: A formula developed by Edward O. Thorp used to aid in making doubling decisions in positions where contact has been broken (racing positions).

Threats: Threats are checkers positioned in strategic locations such that if you were to roll certain numbers, you would gain a considerable advantage.

Timing: The position viewed in terms of the general future development of the game or the ability to maintain key points while waiting for a shot.

The T.P.: A player’s 2 pt.

TMP (too many points): A problem that arises when the position is stripped and rolls play awkwardly.

Too Good: A position that is too good to double as it offers you the chance of scoring a gammon or backgammon if a double is not offered as it would likely be dropped if offered.

Trailer: The person behind in the match.

Trap Play: A play designed to force an opponent off a point leaving a blot if they roll a certain number. A trap play is usually executed to increase the chances of scoring a gammon.

Tric-Trac: A French variant of backgammon.

Triple Game: See Backgammon.

Turn: A players turn usually consists of choosing whether or not to offer a double, rolling the dice, moving the checkers the required amount shown by the dice, and finally picking up the dice which signifies that the players turn is over.

Turn the Cube: See Double.

Under the Gun: See Come Under the Gun.

Undoubled Gammon: This can occur in match play by winning a gammon when the cube has not been turned. The game is worth two points.

Upside: What you gain if you take a risk and it succeeds.

Vig (Vigorish): The small extra possibilities that affect the odds in a given situation.

Volatility: A measure of how likely the equity of the position can swing either way especially the larger swings and possibilities of a gammon or backgammon. A position with high volatility could have a huge equity swing favoring either player on a sequence of rolls.

Wash: 1. To switch points and hit an opposing checker. See switch points. 2. To settle a cube in a money game for zero points.

Wastage: The amount of pips wasted during the bear off because of checkers on deeper points. Used to adjust the pip count to get a more accurate idea of how many rolls it will take to bear off all the checkers.

Ways: See Combinations.

Weaver: When a move is purposefully misplayed in hopes of tempting an opponent to take a double on the next turn.

White: One of the players in the game, playing the lighter colored checkers.

Whopper: A big blunder or mistake in a checker play or cube decision. See double whopper.

Wipeout (Blitz): An aggressive game plan where one side tries to keep their opponent off balance by simultaneously hitting blots and making home board points in hopes of a quick gammon. See Attacking play.

Yankee Seven: Any 6-1 roll.