Opening Rolls

Forum Archive : Opening Rolls

Slotting the four point

From:   Joe Loria
Date:   24 October 1999
Subject:   5-2 and 3-2 Openings Rolls

Does anybody else besides me use the 2 to slot the four point,
and bring one man down from the 13-point with the 5 or 3 ?

I like the resulting distribution of my men, can build my
board a lot quicker if not hit, and would rather get hit by
my opponent's 3-1 or 1-1 reply than see them make points
on their inner board.

The way I see it, it's best to take these risks early in the game,
and I like to unstack my six point with 1's and 2's. Also, if my
opponent slots their five point on the opening roll, then slotting my
four point duplicates his threes.

Donald Kahn  writes:

13/8 6/4 is surely very tempting, and the story at least goes that
Joseph Dwek, a very top player of the 70s-80s, adopted it for awhile.

Also according to the story, he found the results inferior, and
returned to conventional methods.  To me it is very playable and maybe
best when opponent has slotted his 5 point and needs the 3 to cover.

with 3-2, 13/10 6/4 is a play I might make when I looking for gammons,
(though two down from the midpoint is considered the biggest
aggressive play) and don't much care if I get gammoned.  At ordinary
scores, seems to me that 24/21 13/11, doing useful work on both sides
of the board, deserves its superior rating.

Tim N  writes:

The reasoning you give all seems perfectly valid, although I
understand the best computer programs don't play this way ...

But if you're going to play like this, why not (with a 3-2) bring the
2 down from the midpoint and slot on the 5-point with the 3, rather
than slotting on the 4-point with the 2?  Isn't the 5-point a more
valuable one to make on the next roll, if your blot isn't hit?

This was the play recommended by B.J. Becker in his book "Backgammon
For Blood" from the 70's, and is what I always used to play.

(Becker's book also contains other interesting recommendations not
validated by computer roll-outs.)

Joe Loria  writes:

Yes the 5-point is more valuable, but I don't think there is
that much difference. I'm going to try for the 5-point eventually,
but not right now, if the dice aren't there. I just want to unstack
my 6-point at this stage of the game, and not strip the 8-point.
I think there's a lot to be said for the "distribution" of men early
in the game, although I haven't read anything about that concept.

Another element of the early game is what I call "sacrificing
a man", as when slotting my 4-point when the opponent has their
5-point slotted. I'd rather get into a blot-hitting contest,
than watch passively as the opponent builds a better board than me.

Another thing I like about slotting vs splitting is that, if
not hit, I may be able to use 1/2 of my next roll to cover
my man, and the other 1/2 to do something else, like split the
back men, or hit, or whatever.
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Opening Rolls

At different match scores  (Louis Nardy Pillards, July 2002) 
Average advantage of winning opening roll  (Chuck Bower, Oct 1998) 
Choosing a strategy  (Daniel Murphy, June 2001) 
Early game rule of thumb  (Rich Munitz, Feb 2009) 
Factors to consider  (Kit Woolsey, July 1994) 
How computers play  (Kit Woolsey, Mar 1995)  [Recommended reading]
Magriel's Chapter 5  (Hayden Alfano+, May 2006)  [Long message]
Mloner vs Jellyfish  (Kit Woolsey, Dec 1995) 
Nactating a whole game  (Nack Ballard+, Jan 2011)  [Long message]
Nactation  (Jim Stutz+, June 2010) 
Nactation overview  (Nack Ballard, Oct 2009) 
Nactation--Why use it?  (leobueno+, Jan 2011) 
Opening 1's: Split or slot?  (Douglas Zare, Dec 2003) 
Opening 21: Rollout  (Stick, Mar 2006)  [GammOnLine forum]
Opening 21: Split or slot?  (Dick Adams+, Dec 2003) 
Opening 32: Rollout  (Stick, Feb 2006)  [GammOnLine forum]
Opening 43: In GOL online match  (Raccoon+, Feb 2004)  [GammOnLine forum]
Opening 43: Pros and cons  (Stick+, Jan 2006)  [GammOnLine forum]
Opening 43: Which split is better?  (Peter Backgren+, Aug 2000) 
Opening 43: Which split is better?  (Michael J. Zehr+, Mar 1996) 
Opening 51: Rollout  (Stick, Feb 2006)  [GammOnLine forum]
Opening 52: Merits of splitting  (Peter Bell, Apr 1995) 
Opening 53: Magriel's recommendation  (George Parker+, July 1997)  [Long message]
Opening 53: Split to 21?  (Alex Zamanian, Aug 2000) 
Opening 53: Why make the three point?  (Kit Woolsey+, Feb 1996) 
Opening 6's: Slot the bar point?  (Chuck Bower+, Feb 2000) 
Opening 6's: Slot the bar point?  (David Montgomery, June 1995) 
Opening 62: Could running be best?  (Gary Wong, Sept 1997) 
Opening 62: Split, run, or slot?  (Chuck Bower, May 1997) 
Opening 63: Middle Eastern split?  (Mark+, Apr 2002) 
Opening 63: Slot the four point?  (Dennis Cartwright+, Mar 2002) 
Opening 64: Make the two point?  (William Hill+, Jan 1998) 
Opening 64: Make the two point?  (Darse Billings, Feb 1995) 
Opening 64: Rollout  (Peter Grotrian, Jan 2006)  [GammOnLine forum]
Opening 64: Split to 20?  (Peter Bell, June 1995) 
Opening 64: Three choices  (Brian Sheppard, July 1997) 
Opening 65: Becker on lover's leap  (Jeffrey Spiegler+, Aug 1991) 
Opening 65: Computer rankings  (Chuck Bower, Jan 1997) 
Opening rolls ranked  (Arthur+, Apr 2005) 
Rollouts of opening 21 and replies  (Alexander Nitschke, Oct 1997) 
Rollouts of openings  (Tom Keith+, Jan 2006) 
Rollouts: Expert Backgammon  (Tom Fahland, Aug 1994) 
Rollouts: Jellyfish 3.0  (Midas+, Sept 1997) 
Rollouts: Jellyfish 3.0 level 6  (Chuck Bower, Feb 1999)  [Recommended reading]
Rollouts: Snowie 4.1  (Rene Cerutti, Apr 2004) 
Slotting the four point  (Joe Loria+, Oct 1999) 
Snowie's openers and replies  (rcerutti, Feb 1999)  [Long message]
Splitting versus building  (Dave Slayton+, Aug 2000) 
Splitting versus slotting  (Daniel Murphy, Apr 2001) 
Splitting versus slotting  (Daniel Murphy, Sept 1997) 
Trice's rankings  (Marty Storer, Feb 1992) 

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