Forum Archive : Miscellaneous

Handicapping--Rerolling 5-4

From:   Mary Hickey
Address:   thehick64@hotmail.com
Date:   17 February 2004
Subject:   Re: Useless(?) statistics
Forum:   GammOnLine

Back when this bear was a nice little cub, I used to get the "spot" of
re-rolling any 54 I rolled (any time, including the opening roll) but
then having to keep whatever the re-roll was (can't go back to the
original 54 if the new roll is worse). I didn't invent this spot, but
at the club where I played I guess I was the one who made it famous,
since people would give it to me quite often.

Sometimes another player would argue that I'd chosen the wrong roll, that
52 or 21 was actually worse. I don't recall anyone ever suggesting that
51 was worse; someone may have suggested 65, not sure.

Here's why I liked 54 for the spot: 1) Fans less often in the early middle
game, where often a flunk can result in a quick double-out but any entry
saves the cube; 2) Good in ace point games since it tends to be a
double-blot leaver at the worst possible time, when you have a small
number of checkers off and so have to pass by a small margin even if only
one checker gets picked up; 3) wins bar-anchor/midpoint standoffs more
often when you get a 6-shot after he's forced to break with a 6--this
spot raises your odds of hitting to 50-50, so sometimes if 55 and 44 are
also market-losers, you can even get a cube out of it!

On the downside, 54 tends to be OK in bearoffs, since it's both "above
average" and above median. But at the end if you need a double to win,
it's as good as any other non-double as a spot. It swings some otherwise
weedy 4-roll and 3-roll endings into takes (p.e., you lose 1.008 by taking
a 2-cube in a pure 3-roll with all the checkers for both sides on the ace,
so any improvement for your side and you can take). However IIRC it turns
a pure 4-roll ending into a pass for the opponent.

At the time I estimated this spot was worth 4.0 to 4.3 percent. This was
based on hand calculations done with my really cool, at the time
brand-new, HP 15C, which I still use almost every day about 25 years
later. It was fun stuff, but for some reason nobody wants to spot me this
re-roll option any more.

Mary H.
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