Playing Backgammon Online

Thu, 29 May 2008 17:08

Playing Backgammon Online

Play backgammon online free.

Are you a fan of backgammon?  Well, the Internet has a wealth of data on that matter.  There are numerous websites that showcase different backgammon games that
certainly takes playing backgammon online to the next level.  Here are the questions that you might ask yourself and ultimately serve as your criteria for choosing which online backgammon game you feel like playing.    

Do you want to play for free?

"Free" means being able to continuously play backgammon without having to shed a dollar for any fees at all.  Web portals like MSN and Yahoo include backgammon in their games roster.  MSN Backgammon uses Flash while Yahoo uses Java technology and they both are playable within an open web browser window although it may take some time to load.  These two sites require you to sign-up for an account with them, i.e. a Hotmail account for MSN and a Yahoo account for Yahoo, otherwise you can't use the software. Sign-ups are free and you get to access all of their other services.  

Another free game is Motif Backgammon.  It is also a Java applet -- simple to use, fast to load, but you have no other option to battle it out against other players.  

The Netgammon site ( offers free play as well.  You simply have to download their software into your computer.  The good thing is playing backgammon online through their site means no expiration on the said program. They also don't collect personal information aside from the log-on name and password which you provide to access the game.

If you like a free downloadable backgammon game that also gives you $2 when you sign up, then you better head on over to Play65's website. Unfortunately, Linux users have to content themselves with a no-download Java applet for them to engage in backgammon.  

Gammon Empire is a relatively new comer to the online backgammon gaming industry opening its doors in December 2004.  It offers free downloadable program you can use to play for free (play money) or real money.  Like Play65, it doesn't support Linux but gives Linux users the chance to play using a Java applet.

Do you want a realistic-looking backgammon game?

If the aesthetic design of backgammon is important to you, then you should go searching for 3D online backgammon games.  The more basic free games involve only 2D construction.  The interface in backgammon is also a big factor.  The easier it is to manipulate your pieces, the ability to chat with other players and the option to watch other players' games only increase your playing backgammon online pleasure.  The game models from Play65 and GammonEmpire, to mention a few, are quite striking and look like the real ones.

Do you want to play for fun or for challenge?

You may ask: What's the sense in playing if you're not going to have fun?.  There are different meanings of "fun" for different people.  Other people may simply be bored and are looking for a leisure activity that releases them from it.  Playing backgammon online for them may be for relaxation or as a stress-buster.  There may be a group of people who are curious about the sport and are currently in the process of learning about it.  Others may find that they need a challenge or a competitive opponent that will test their skills and understanding of backgammon.  In all cases, it is advisable for you to select an internet backgammon server that allows you to select or be paired up with someone of the same skill level as you.  Otherwise if you like to take your game play another notch, maybe play against someone better.  There are games that offer rankings of the registered players in their database.

Do you want to play for money?

This is THE interesting question that involves more than the usual answers.  Since money is now a factor, this brings to fruition the serious threat of identity theft because of the transactions involved.  First off, you are required to provide your true and legal identity to gain access to the website's services.  You will only be allowed one password and username so caution must be exercised in protecting this information.  You also have to ascertain that the site you're using is protecting you with at least 128-bit encryption and SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption algorithm technology. This ensures that all transactions between the players and the servers will be kept strictly confidential and will remain within the confines of the servers.  This suggests that you, as player, can protect your personal information, deposit and withdraw your own money without fear and delay as if you're doing business with a bank.  Acceptable payment/deposit and withdrawal options include international and local credit cards, Western Union, Pay Pal, and wire transfers.  And should there be any problems along the way, there are customer-service agents on standby willing to take your call or email 24/7.  

Now that you've gotten the security issues out of the way and you like to play for money, but aren't sure about your skills yet, take advantage of some game softwares that have a "school" option available.  This school serves as a tutorial for newbie gamers or even for advanced players who simply want to hone their craft.  For every lesson you participate in, you'll be charged a fee of $0.25 (Play65 ) or $0.50 (GammonEmpire ).  GammonEmpire offers the first 4 games for free.

If you now feel confident about your skills and want to join the rest of the community who are raking in the big bucks, here are some information about the game modes in playing backgammon online.  A single mode or money game involves a game between two players.  They both agree on the stakes of backgammon beforehand so that whoever loses pays the winner such stakes, in addition to multiplying that amount by the worth of doubling cube.  Depending on the kind of win, the said amount is further multiplied by 2 for gammon or 3 for backgammon.  The other mode is the series mode or match play that involves playing a series of backgammon games until one reaches the accumulated and agreed number of backgammon points.  To accumulate the points won per game, you multiply the worth of doubling cube with the kind of win, again two for gammon and three for backgammon.  The final score doesn't matter if you reach the set goal of points.  

You also have to remember that for every monetary transaction, a small percentage or rake goes back to the host, extracted from the winner's earnings, as a courtesy to the loser.  In singles games, for stakes up to $20, the host may rake up to 4.9%.  The higher the stakes, the lesser the rake. If the stakes reach more than $100, 2.9% is deducted from the winnings.  It's slightly different for series matches. For the first point won,  you get 4.9% with stakes up to $20, 4.4% with stakes up to $100 and 3.9% with stakes more than $100.  You then multiply the remaining points won by 0.5%.  You add this value with your stake percent and you get your base commission to be multiplied to the actual stake value to get your rake value.  It may sound slightly confusing but in reality it is actually very simple.  The maximum rake that the game host can get is 9.9%.
Well, for the really challenging games, there are the tournaments.  A "Sit and Go" tournament is one where the game does not start until a specified number of participants join up.  Player numbers are usually in denominations of two (two, four, eight, 16, and so on).  Event tournaments are simply those that are scheduled for a certain date or time.  You simply have to check your software's calendar of activities or schedule of events to be updated.  Winners of satellite tournament get free entries to other tournament -- usually the one with big stakes.  Swing tournaments are of different kind.  They are contests in which players are handed out a considerable equal number of chips, thus whoever has accumulated the chips wins the game.  There are also lots of daily and special tournaments to choose from.  The entrance fees depend on how high the stakes are.  So far, GammonEmpire has been offering a pretty good deal with tournament stakes at $50,000 grand prizes every other 30 days.  

With all that's been said, playing backgammon online is a pretty interesting past-time, whether it be just for fun or for money.  Remember to take the necessary safeguards, invest prudently and simply enjoy.