by Paul Money
14 January 2004
Welcome to Dorbel's Gazette. Last time I gave you some pip counting short cuts, puzzling some, to whom the whole concept of pip counting seemed alien. This is not so silly. There are a lot of players now, who have played almost all of their backgammon online, sometimes reaching quite a decent standard without ever shaking a dice cup. This actually happened to me, long before online BG. I played three games of backgammon with a guy who was just flying out to Monte Carlo, one Dai Bradley (Where is he now? Anyone know?). The next day I bought a handheld BG game called a Gakken and played it obsessively for weeks. When I next saw Dai, he was on his way to the UK Open, so I played with him for the evening and drove up to Morecambe and entered the tournament!
Anyway, last issue I also observed that most methods of arriving at an approximation were, to me, more difficult than just counting. A reader was kind enough to send me his own method, which he adapted from Doug Zare's Half Crossover Pipcount. Go to Doug's September 2003 article, When To Count, which has many useful links to this and other methods.
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