Backgammon Tournaments

Backgammon Tournaments - What You Need to Know

Like poker and other forms of gambling, backgammon has professional tournaments held worldwide throughout the year where the world’s best players compete for big bucks. On any given weekend, local tournaments take place across the United States or Europe. Many tourneys are being played as online Backgammon tournaments.

Backgammon tournaments are played sort of like tennis tournaments, with elimination formats and players in the first round paired at random. Eliminated players are dropped into a new event called the Consolation, while losers in that division fall into the final event, appropriately entitled, the Last Chance.

Though exact percentages and prizes are up to the organizer, a typical tournament has 60 percent of the prize money going to the main event, 30 percent to the Consolation matches and 10 percent to the Last Chance round.

In addition to those three events, tournaments usually have jackpots and side events taking place at the same time. Some professionals have been known to play as many as 100 matches over the course of a week-long competition.

Large tournaments have been known to last 7 to 9 days, while smaller regional events may be held just over a three-day weekend. Local events may be completed in just a single day.

Backgammon Tournament rules.

Traditionally, the number of points in a tournament is always odd. Matches may start at 9 points, increasing to a 15-point final match as rounds are played. The longer the match, the more skill is required to win. As in money play, a doubling cube is used in tournaments.

In tournament play, you don’t have to double to win a gammon. That’s far different from money play, where most clubs use the Jacoby Rule requiring the doubling cube to be turned for a gammon or backgammon to be scored .

Near the end of a match in backgammon tournament play, the Crawford Rule is used. Invented by John Crawford, this rule says when a player’s score is within one point of victory, his opponent cannot double in the very next game. If the match continues beyond the next game, normal rules are back in effect and the double cube can be used.

Disputes are settled by the tournament director. In extreme cases, a panel of experienced players may be convened to make a ruling.

Here’s a listing of the most prestigious backgammon tournaments:

The World Cup Backgammon Tournament – Held bi-annually in August in Dallas, this is the most important tournament in backgammon. The length of its matches is what sets this tournament apart from all other events.

Each round is a best 3 out of five, 11-point series. In the consolation, matches start at 25 points and increase to a 29-point final. The World Cup is the most difficult backgammon tournament to win and has never been won by anyone other than top world-class pros.

The World Championship Backgammon Tournament – Held every July at Loew’s Hotel in Monte Carlo, this tournament annually attracts about 400 players, mostly from Europe and including about 30 Americans.

Matches in the main event begin at 17 points and increase to a 25-point final. With shorter matches, the luck factor is greater than the World Cup.

The Pro-Am Doubles Backgammon Championship -- This event originated in The Bahamas, the scene of many top professional backgammon events since the first international tournament was organized there by Prince Alexis Obolensky in 1964. The tournament grew into the Obokensky Cup, which was eventually discontinued in 1974.

The Pro-Am Backgammon doubles tournament was organized by Lewis Deyong, a backgammon promoter from London. It consists of a doubles tournament of 16 teams, featuring a top tour professional with an amateur.

Since 1999, the Pro-Am Doubles Championship has been held annually in Las Vegas, first in February but for the past several years each November.

Read more Backgammon Rules and Strategies