Forum Archive : Cheating

Dealing with live-play cheating

From:   Gregg Cattanach
Date:   3 May 2006
Subject:   Re: Live Cheating at Backgammon
Google:   bp16g.736$ wrote:
> Any time you gamble or compete at anything, you risk being
> cheated.  The best defense in Backgammon is not to sit down with
> strangers and play for money unless there are people you know and
> trust who vouch for and know these people.
> If you are sharp and alert, it is not likely you can be
> cheated, or cheated for very much.  I won't get in to all the ways
> people cheat and all the ways you can defend yourself, but for every
> method of cheating there are ways to detect them.  If you aren't
> knowledgeable, you are at risk.  The best defense is to play
> friends and reputable people that you know or are well known in the
> backgammon community or area.
> I have always believed that backgammon should be played with a baffle
> box and a single set of dice.  That virtually eliminates most of the
> risks of dice manipulation and loaded dice (but you still have to
> watch for slight of hand people who switch dice etc.).

You have missed how the vast majority of cheating happens in live play
(head-to-head or chouette play, not tournaments).  The loser doesn't pay.
Happens all the time. Settling at increments is the correct solution for
playing against a stranger.  Unfortunatwly, the loser doesn't pay problem
usually occurs with the 'regulars' in your club or group.

Dice mechanics can exist, yes, and a magnetic board incident rears it's
ugly head once in a long while, but with lipped dice cups and proper
shaking and rolling techinque, there really is no way to control the dice.
Baffle boxes are an overly paranoid solution to dice cheats, IMO. They
also take a great deal of the sensual fun out of real backgammon. The
'illusion' of control with the dice cup is part of the pleasure of our
game.  Who doesn't throw them harder and farther accross the board when
you need a big number? or make them come out 'together' when you want
doubles :)  lol   Baffle boxes are impractical for travel-to tournaments.

Have a large selection of different color dice to play with, and don't
use the same color for one player.  The dice load cheat won't be able to
control the selected colors that the game starts with, thus having
difficulty bringing in his gaffed dice.  Backgammon isn't the greatest
game for loaded dice, anyway, as large numbers are often not beneficial,
(fanning with 66 is bad).  Forcing your opponent to have a low number
load would be effective, but even then he might end up winning a lot of
prime vs. prime positions, and you have the difficulty of getting him the
bad dice.  Loaded dice are wicked in craps, however, where you can select
one kind of number can be good on every throw.  You could load for the
6/4/2 triad, for example, and bet the evens.

This was your best advice by far:  "Again, the best defense is to play
friends and reputable people that you know or are well known in the
backgammon community or area."  Absolutely correct.

Gregg C.

Jive Dadson  writes:

Decades ago, during the big BG fad, I played for a living for about
four years.  I played all day, every day, in all kinds of
circumstances.  I only saw or suspected dice manipulation twice in
all that time, and once it was so obvious that only a drunk would
not have been aware of what was going on.  The other time, I
suspected magnets -- mainly because I knew the bad guy wouldn't be
in the game without an illegal edge, and I couldn't figure out what
else it could be.

Back then, as now, the main danger was not being paid when you won.
One would sometimes lose games on purpose because you could "just
tell" that someone had reached the point where he could not pay it
all.  If they couldn't pay all, they would usually skip without
paying anything.

Here's the way it SHOULD be done. Play table stakes.  That works at
poker, and it would work in backgammon.  Put your money on the table
before the game starts. The money at risk on any given game is
limited to the size of the smaller stack. Pay up after every game.

Derek Ray  writes:

The way we always handled it when playing pool was:  pay after every
$100.  $100 was a small enough amount that few people minded handing it
over, and it's also a small enough amount that if someone DID refuse
to pay, it wasn't worth getting into a fight over ... you were just out
$100, and you knew to stop playing.

Gregg Cattanach  writes:

Settling after $100 is quite common in lots of chouettes and a very good
idea.  I've seen in some clubs where they would be shocked if you didn't
insist that anyone down 20 (in the $5 choue) must settle at that point to
continue to play.

It's obviously the only sensible way to play heads-up with a stranger, and
the unit might be smaller than $100.
Did you find the information in this article useful?          

Do you have any comments you'd like to add?     



Advantages of online play  (Donald Kahn, Nov 1999) 
Avoiding loaded dice  (Gregg Cattanach, June 2000) 
Collusion in Monte Carlo  (Kit Woolsey, Aug 1995)  [Recommended reading]
Dealing with live-play cheating  (Gregg Cattanach+, May 2006) 
Dice magicians  (Paul Weaver, July 2010) 
Dice manipulation  (Paul Epstein, Nov 2005) 
Dice manipulation  (Kit Woolsey, Jan 1995)  [Recommended reading]
Gamesmanship vs. cheating  (Albert Steg+, May 1994) 
How to tell when somebody's cheating  (Michael Halpenny+, Feb 2001) 
How to tell you're playing a computer  (Douglas Zare, Dec 2003) 
Premature roll and late pick-up  (Ian Shaw, Feb 2002) 
Taking advantage of computer players  (Matthew J. Reklaitis, July 1997) 
Using computer to aid online play  (Paul Weaver, July 2006) 
Using computer to aid online play  (Ken Arnold+, Mar 2006) 
Using computer to aid online play  (Patti Beadles+, Jan 2003) 
With a baffle box  (Joe Russell, Aug 2009) 

[GammOnLine forum]  From GammOnLine       [Long message]  Long message       [Recommended reading]  Recommended reading       [Recent addition]  Recent addition

  Book Suggestions
Computer Dice
Cube Handling
Cube Handling in Races
Extreme Gammon
Fun and frustration
GNU Backgammon
Luck versus Skill
Magazines & E-zines
Match Archives
Match Equities
Match Play
Match Play at 2-away/2-away
Opening Rolls
Pip Counting
Play Sites
Probability and Statistics
Source Code
Strategy--Bearing Off
Strategy--Checker play


Return to:  Backgammon Galore : Forum Archive Main Page