Merrigan's Metric Formula

by Douglas Zare
1 February 2012

Douglas Zare

Nigel Merrigan wrote an interesting article on backgammon races. This article discusses some work on racing theory by others first. The main addition is a formula for estimating the probability of winning a long race, which he calls the Metric formula, with the name from MErrigan and TRICe. This percentage can be used for take/pass decisions in money play and match play.

The formula asks you first to compute the maximum number of pips at which the trailer can take for money, or PLT (Point of Last Take). One of the easiest and most accurate method for this is the Nack58 rule due to Nack Ballard:

  • Start with the leader's pip count.
  • Subtract 32.
  • Double the result.
  • Take the square root.
  • Round.

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