Backgammon Glossary
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No matter how experienced you are in the field of Backgammon, it is vital to know the specific words, sayings and their definitions which are used during a game. Certainly, if you have never played on this board game, and you sit next to the players now, you wouldn’t understand too much by the simple usage of those words. This is the reason why we provide you with the most important Backgammon related words and definitions which are applied during a game. These will help you understand more clearly and you can easier make the connection between them.


    Accept a ‘Double’ (Take): you can accept a Double when your opponent proposes you the chance to play for two times the present stakes.
    Ace Point Game (One Point Game): this happens during a game when your only chance of winning is to hit from the ace point right when your opponent is bearing off.
    Advanced Anchor: In order to avoid being ‘primed’, it is advisable for you to get an advanced anchor on your opponent’s four or five points (which are called the Golden Point).
    Anchor: When a Backgammon game starts, each player has an anchor on their enemy’s 1 point; so, when you have at least two checkers on your opponent’s inner board.
    Backgame: This consists of your defensive position when you have two or more points on your enemy’s inner board; sometimes you are bound to do this.
    Barabino: This word comes from the name of a backgammon player, Rick Barabino who used this roll many times. During a game this means a roll of 5-4 which is used for making the opponents 5-point.
    Bar: This is situated right on the centre of the board and divides the inner and outer tables. When a checker is hit, it is placed on the bar.
    Bear In: This happens when you bring your checkers into your home board.
    Bear Off: This is when a player has placed every checker he has (15) on his home board, so that he can now start bearing off. Once he bears off all of his checkers, he wins.
    Blot: It is when you one of the players has a single checker on a point. Whenever you are given the chance, don’t be in a dilemma and hit a blot of your opponent as quickly as possible.
    Board: Board forms the playing surface, but also it refers to any of the four quadrants of it; the inner or outer board of yours and your opponent’s as well.
    Break a point: In case you roll a 6 in an ace point game, you just simply cannot use that number, you must break the point, which consists of giving up an already owned point.
    Break the Board: Mainly it’s related to the above-mentioned break point; but the difference is that not only you give up a point, but your entire inner board.

    The particular pieces which players play with; every player has fifteen pieces. Checkers are also called as tiles, stones, counters or pips.
    This comes from a French word, which is bird specie (screech owl). In Backgammon it means when there are three or more players.
    Closed Board:
    One of the players has made six points in his home board. In the situation where a player is on the bar and the other has a closed board, the last one is in a great advance in what winning consists of.
    Controlling a board (Containment):
    This is when you have checkers or points only on a specific side of the board, so you mainly concentrate on that one.

    Dead Checker:
    This is the checker which is situated in your inner board and it cannot be used anymore in order to build your points.
    Deuce Point:
    You have Deuce Point when you have the 2 point.
    One of the players makes an offer for the other one right before rolling the dice, which consists of doubling the current stakes. The player has the opportunity to accept it or not.

    This is another word for ‘bearing off’.
    It is a rating system used by many websites which provide Online Backgammon; it takes into account the players’ gaming experiences. This has been developed by Arpad Elo.

    Full Prime:
    This is the ‘strongest’ position in the game of Backgammon, as the other player cannot move until this is broken. A player can have Full Prime when he has six points in a single row.

    You benefit of gammon when you bear off before none of your checkers is taken off by your opponent.
    Golden Point:
    This is the best defensive point you can earn at the beginning of the game (also called the opponent’s 5 point).
    Guff (Guffy):
    This is another word for Ace Point.

    Heavy Point:
    This consists of a point with more than three checkers on it.
    You can hit your opponent’s checkers by moving your tiles on a blot which is occupied by his checkers.
    Hit and cover:
    This is the situation when you hit your enemy’s blot, then make a move with the same checker while cover the other ones, and in addition, you make a new point.
    Home Board:
    This is the quadrant of the board where a player places his checkers in order to bear off. It is also known as the ‘Inner board’.

    Inactive Builder:
    Basically this refers to a checker which is used as being a part of a point, but besides it could be used to build another point.

    Jacoby Rule:
    At the very beginning of the game the players can agree whether gammons and backgammons count as 1 point in case didn’t take place any doubling during the game.

    Key Point:
    This is an important point during the game (for instance the Golden Point).

    Last Roll Point:
    This is the particular position where the odds of winning can be taken into account; and in this situation each of the players has an opportunity to win.
    Loose Checker:
    It is a Blot.

    This includes your odds of winning extra points by offering a double.
    Match Point:
    You have Match Point when you need one more point in order to win.
    Match Winning Chances.

    This word comes from Nack Ballard, as it was invented by him. It is a variation of Backgammon.
    Nullo Play:
    Mainly this is a <big error>, when during your game you don’t do anything advantageous to build your points, even though you had better choices.

    Opening Roll:
    When you begin a game, you and your opponent as well roll a die, and whoever among you two rolls the higher number, starts the game with the ‘opening roll’, calculating the numbers of both dice altogether.

    This is another word for ‘Bear Off’.
    The specific number of dots which appear on one face of a die, showing the value of it.
    It is the situation where several points are gained by the same player, which also means blocking the opponent’s checkers.
    Pseudo – prime:
    This is a prime that includes only 4 or 5 points.

    Quadrant: A Backgammon board is formed of four quadrants (divisions), each of them containing six points.

    Rail: See ‘Bar’.

    Save Gammon:
    This is when you can be gammoned and you do your best to avoid it.
    At the very beginning of the game, each player arranges his checkers; it is also called the ‘opening position’.
    It is a chance you are given to hit a blot. There are two types of shots: direct and indirect shot.
    It is advisable for you that before you place a blot on a point, you slot it and only on the next roll to cover it.
    In case you have two checkers on one point, it’s better to separate (split) them.
    Switch Points:
    This occurs when you sacrifice one point in order to benefit of a better one.

    Take Off:
    See ‘Bear Off’.
    Take Up:
    -To hit a blot.
    These are checkers which are placed in the most appropriately constructive positions in such a way that if you were to roll some specific numbers, you would have a great advantage.
    This is a French Backgammon variation.

    Upside: This means the particular successful consequences you get after you have taken the risk.

    Vig (Vigorish): These are situations which can affect your odds in a specific situation during your game.

    This is a mistake during the game; it can be for instance a mistaken move.
    Wipeout (Blitz):
    It is one playing plan of a player, who tries to retain his opponent of hitting blots or gaining home board points.


    Yankee Seven:
    This means any 6-1 roll.