Last updated on September 17, 2023
In a previous Deluxe Backgammon post, we went into detail about the best opening moves in backgammon. This is a far simpler guide for backgammon beginners that will allow you to immediately begin playing with the best opening moves, without going into extreme detail. For the most part, these opening moves have been confirmed as the best by XG Mobile Backgammon rollouts. If you follow these backgammon opening moves it is statistically proven that you will win more games.
To start the game, each player throws a single die. This determines both the player to go first and the numbers to be played. If equal numbers come up, then both players roll again until they roll different numbers. The player throwing the higher number now moves their checkers according to the numbers shown on both dice. Because we exclude doubles from the opening roll there are fifteen possible opening dice rolls. Click on the heading for each roll for a more detailed description.
This is the best opening roll. You should secure your 5-point (8/5), (6/5). Do not consider any other moves for this roll.
Split your back checkers 3 (24/21) and bring a checker down from the midpoint (13/11).
Split the back checkers (24/23) and bring one checker down from the midpoint (13/9). Alternatively, if you wish to gamble, slotting your 5-point (6/5) and bringing one down (13/9) is another option.
The best move is to secure your 4-point (8/4, 6/4).
There are a number of reasonable rolls to consider for a 4-3, however, we will just look at the best based on the results of a computerised rollout. The (24/21,13/9) splits the back checkers and brings down a builder that can be used to form points further along the board on subsequent rolls.
Split the back checkers (24/23) and bring one checker down from the midpoint (13/8). Alternatively, if you wish to gamble, slotting your 5-point (6/5) and bringing one down (13/8) is another option.
The (24/22, 13/8) move has the best results based on the computerised rollout. It splits the back pair, leaving them relatively unlikely to be hit, but in position to form an advanced anchor.
The best move is to secure your 3-point (8/3, 6/3).
The best option for this roll, based on rollouts, is (24-20, 13-8). It’s a balanced play, creating opportunities on both sides of the board.
The third best opening roll. The only option worth considering is to secure your bar point (13/7, 8/7).
The (24-18, 13-11) is by far the most popular move for this roll. This is because it advances checkers on both sides of the board.
The (24-18, 13-10) is by far the most popular move for this roll. This is because it advances checkers on both sides of the board.
Computerised rollouts confirm that the best move is to make the 24/14 running play.
Rollouts confirm that the best move is to run one of your back checkers to the midpoint (24/18, 18/13). This move is known as the Lovers Leap.
Opening moves PDF
Here is a copy of this document in PDF. If you use double-sided printing it will fit on a single A5 sheet.