Mismeasuring Luck

by Douglas Zare
2 March 2011

Douglas Zare

Backgammon programs offer many statistics after analyzing a match. This feedback is valuable, but at times it is confusing since the statistics are complicated. In fact, some values reported by the bots have almost no meaning. In this column, we will investigate one statistic of questionable value, EMG luck/move. Along the way, we'll see some other quirks of the EMG method for analyzing backgammon.


Recall that the Equivalent Money Game (EMG) normalization scales equities so that losing the current value of the cube is worth -1.000, and winning the current value of the cube is worth +1.000. A helpful convention is that absolute EMG values are written to 3 decimal places. EMG rates are often given in millipoints per move, and then the decimals are not needed.

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