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Book Review: Backgammon for Losers by Simon Hill. Kindle, edition.

Last updated on April 20, 2024

About the author

The author, Simon Hill, had done his fair share of losing at backgammon before going on to play at an international level, as a member of the UK team at the 2015 European Championships in Budapest. He used his experiences to write this book, Backgammon for Losers. Originally, he was going to call this it “Backgammon for Life” until his young son referred to it as “Backgammon for Losers”. The name resonated and the new title stuck. It is now in its 3rd updated edition. The book is packed with examples, photos and anecdotes. This easy-reading guide combines professional experience with humour to offer the ‘loser’ an accessible guide to winning at backgammon.

Backgammon for Losers.


I read the Kindle edition and when I finished I thought finally, here is a book that is absolutely perfect for beginner and intermediate players. Most backgammon books are simply far too complex, overwritten and dry to be beneficial for the absolute beginner. Experienced players will learn a few shortcuts and new theories, but for the most part, this is a book for the novice.

It’s an amusing read with the author supplying many interesting anecdotes about backgammon and its many characters.  There are also some great quotes, amusing photographs, playing tips, and rules of thumb. If there is one minor complaint it is that actual playing tips don’t really start until chapter 5. Up until this point, it is a series of amusing anecdotes from the author. For a reader keen to get started on improving their game this might prove frustrating. Perhaps the author could have worked these anecdotes into the practical chapters. Once we hit the key material, the book is brilliant, practical and amusing.

There are twenty chapters with a total of 266 pages. As expected there are dedicated chapters covering the rules, opening moves, middle and end game strategies, tactical play, doubling and probability. It covers everything a beginner should need to learn the basics of backgammon.


In short, it’s a great book and an enjoyable read. Here at Deluxe Backgammon, we recommend it highly for new players wanting an amusing, yet practical, introduction to the game.

Please read some of our other backgammon book reviews.


  1. Sophie Sophie

    Backgammon is one of the classic board games, easy to learn, quick and simple to play. Every game is different with the balance of luck, tactics and strategy. Above all, backgammon is fun. Backgammon for Losers by Simon Hill is a great book for those people interested in improving their backgammon.

    Modern backgammon has come a long way from the 1970s, with a much greater focus on equity, doubling and match play. Computer analysis has changed the game with neural networks able to solve ancient debates between risk and reward. Modern backgammon, with the help of computer analysis, has taken a lot of the guesswork out of the game. In particular, the backgammon opening moves are now a lot more rigorous after mathematical analysis. That said, the element of luck in the game allows for the flair of individual styles of play.

    The good news is that once you are fluent in the basics, becoming competent at backgammon isn’t really that hard. Backgammon for Losers is the ideal book for players with rusty skills, who want to get back to the stage where they can be competitive again. This is where Backgammon for Losers comes into its own, it is the perfect tool to help you get your backgammon game back on track.

    Simon Hill reminds players of the concepts, strategy and tactics of backgammon that you need to play competitively, going back to the basics to reaffirm the concepts you may have forgotten. This isn’t a book for total beginners, who should read Chris Bray’s Backgammon for Dummies, but for intermediate players who want to improve fast. A stream of anecdotes from real life play remind you of the fun you’ve missed, and why backgammon is so addictive.

    Strongly recommended.

    • Jason Jason

      Hi Sophie, you have made some very valuable points here about Backgammon for Losers. A very good practical book for intermediate backgammon players. You are definitely right about Backgammon for Dummies, it is a great book for beginners. Thanks very much for commenting, Jason.

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