The Doubling Point

by Douglas Zare
1 February 2013

Douglas Zare

The doubling point is a basic concept for understanding backgammon match play. The doubling point can be calculated from the match equity table rather than from any one position, but it can help us to analyze particular cube decisions over the board.

The doubling point is the minimum equity at which we would prefer the cube to be doubled, ignoring gammons. In money play and at every even match score, the doubling point is at 50% game winning chances. Of course, that you are the favorite does not mean you should double. You might double just over the doubling point if there really is no opportunity to use the cube later, but usually you want to be much closer to the take point to double.

At uneven match scores, the extra point you win may not have the same value as the extra point you lose.

Red trails 2-away 3-away.
Should Red double?

Should Red double at this match score? People often say to be more aggressive with the cube while trailing in the match, and this would be a double in money play since Red wins 19/36 of the time, so isn't it a clearer double while trailing 2-away 3-away? No, doubling would be a blunder about as large as misplaying an opening 6-5 13/2!
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