Match Equities

Forum Archive : Match Equities

Worth memorizing?

From:   Alef Rosenbaum
Date:   23 February 2003
Subject:   Re: What is the doubling window at 4 away 2 away?

Of the different ways I've worked to improve my backgammon I've found
studying match equity tables to be the least rewarding. The vast majority
of cube decisions occur when estimating accurate equity is not that

It is satisfying to be able to work out specific drop points, but in terms
of actually improving my play over the board I gain far more from reading
books and gammonline. Really *understanding* a position is often not that
mathematical. For me the more practical strategists focus on how to think
about positions (Magriel, Woolsey's "New Ideas") rather than how to
specifically calculate (Kleinman, Lamford's "Improve").

For years I put off learning match equity because it's intimidating. Now
that I've done work on using them I've just not found them so worthwhile.
Maybe they'll become more valuable when I'm ready to play in the Monte
Carlo Advanced...


Adam Stocks  writes:

You are not alone Alef.  During my early experience of matchplay bg, (as an
Intermediate strength player), I stumbled across match equity tables on
some bg website of other, and thought, "I must learn this stuff parrot
fashion, otherwise I will lose most of my matches".  I hurredly scribbled
down Woolsey's MET for all lengths up to 9-away,9-away, and took it with me
to my first live tournament.  By the time I arrived at my bed & breakfast,
I was too tired to memorise it, and went to sleep.  The next day, without
the 'required knowledge', I won the Consolation.  I quickly came to the
conclusion that in fact, it was better to concentrate my efforts on
improving my positional judgement and other aspects of my game, since, as
you say, the reality didn't often bear close relation to the theory, and if
it did, it was, at the time, too difficult to be of much practical
over-the-board use.  Coincidentally,  the previous day before this thread's
original question was asked, a player on GamesGrid asked exactly the same
question (about the DP at 2-away,4-away).  After the figures were quoted, I
said that it was all very well knowing the doubling window percentages, but
backgammon is more of an art than a science, and you need artistry/skill to
know when you hit the windows.

Of course, later, it is much easier to cope with the extra information load
caused by METs and the like , because you get to a stage where the
fundamental stuff is second nature anyway (the concepts behind the MET
figures ARE fundamental to matchplay, but the exact percentages are NOT).
It is perfectly possible to become a good bg player with minimal studying
of MET entries, simply by experience, and players can study the detail in
METs as and when they feel ready for it.

That's one of the beauties of the game - it has many levels on which it can
be played/studied, according to the individual player.

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Match Equities

Constructing a match equity table  (Walter Trice, Apr 2000) 
Does it matter which match equity table you use?  (Klaus Evers+, Nov 2005)  [GammOnLine forum]
Does it matter which match equity table you use?  (Achim Mueller+, Dec 2003) 
Does it matter which match equity table you use?  (Chuck Bower+, Sept 2001)  [GammOnLine forum] [Long message]
ME Table: Big Brother  (Peter Fankhauser, July 1996) 
ME Table: Dunstan  (Ian Dunstan+, Aug 2004)  [GammOnLine forum]
ME Table: Escoffery  (David Escoffery, Nov 1991) 
ME Table: Friedman  (Elliott C Winslow, Oct 1991) 
ME Table: Kazaross  (Neil Kazaross, Dec 2003)  [GammOnLine forum]
ME Table: Kazaross-XG2  (neilkaz, Aug 2011) 
ME Table: Rockwell-Kazaross  (Chuck Bower+, June 2010) 
ME Table: Snowie  (Chase, Apr 2002) 
ME Table: Snowie  (Harald Retter, Aug 1998) 
ME Table: Woolsey  (Raccoon, Apr 2006) 
ME Table: Woolsey  (Kit Woolsey, May 1994) 
ME Table: Woolsey  (William R. Tallmadge, Jan 1994) 
ME Table: Zadeh  (Jørn Thyssen, Mar 2004)  [GammOnLine forum]
ME Table: Zorba  (Robert-Jan Veldhuizen+, Dec 2003) 
ME at 1-away/2-away (crawford)  (Fabrice Liardet+, Nov 2007)  [GammOnLine forum]
ME at 1-away/2-away (crawford)  (Ian Shaw+, Apr 2003)  [GammOnLine forum]
Match equities--an alternate view  (Durf Freund, Oct 1994) 
Neil's new numbers  (neilkaz, Aug 2011) 
Neil's numbers  (Kit Woolsey+, Oct 1994) 
On calculating match equity tables  (Neil Kazaross, July 2004)  [GammOnLine forum]
Turner formula  (Gregg Cattanach, Feb 2003) 
Turner formula  (Stephen Turner, June 1994) 
Using a match equity table  (Michael J. Zehr, June 1992) 
Value of free drop  (Neil Kazaross, Oct 2002)  [GammOnLine forum]
Which match equity table is best?  (Martin Krainer+, Oct 2003) 
Which match equity table is best?  (Ian Shaw+, Dec 2001) 
Why use a match equity table?  (Kit Woolsey, Feb 1999) 
Worth memorizing?  (Alef Rosenbaum+, Feb 2003) 

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