Doubling and Scoring in Backgammon

The doubling cube is not so much a playing piece as a convenient way to keep track of who has doubled last and how high the doubling has proceeded. Doubling is never required, but when a player perceives he has an advantage he may double at the beginning of his turn.

Backgammon is played for some stake or wager. This wager might be match sticks, pennies, dollars or just points. A win is equal to one point. But the ability to double allows a skilled player to make the most of a temporary advantage. When a player offers to double the wager on a particular game the opponent must either accept or immediately cede the game and relinquish whatever number of points are currently at risk.

When a player doubles he passes the doubling cube to his opponent with the current wager turned up. The first double will show a 2, the second a 4 and so on. Theoretically the doubling can go past the 64 on the cube, but usually does not. A player may not double twice in a row. He or she must wait until the opponent doubles on his own account. Thus the doubling cube passes back and forth only at the option of the "disadvantaged" player.

A player who ends the game without having borne off a single checker is said to have been "gammoned". This entitles the winning player to garner double the number of points he would have received for winning the game (taking into account the doubling cube as well). If the losing player is gammoned plus has a piece on the bar, then he is backgammoned, which would triple the victor's winnings from the game in question.

There is no magic score that must be reached. However, a limit may be agreed to regarding winnings.

< Basic Rules of Backgammon | Backgammon Bibliography >

Interesting Pages