Cheating on Microsoft Internet Backgammon

Googling “microsoft internet backgammon cheating”, I’ve found a lot of discussion about cheating on Microsoft Internet Backgammon. Silly, ill-informed, immature discussion.

Are there ways to cheat? Maybe, but probably not the way it’s discussed on the web forums.

Most of the people who complain about cheating, complain that the dice rolls favor the other player. From this, they infer that, somehow, the other player has a program that manipulates the dice rolls to give them doubles when they need them, rolls that let them make points more often than they should, or that block you from getting the roll required to get off the bar.

None of these players can point to a site where you can actually download these mythical cheating programs yourself. At best, they mention a friend of a friend who says that he could write such a program if he felt like it. But he never does.

Almost all of these posts about unfair dice rolls show ignorance about basic probability calculations.

One post stood out because it cited actual numbers. The writer had recorded the number of sixes rolled on the opponent’s first roll on over 2000 games. He found that the opponents rolled a six more than thirty percent of the time when the odds should have been one-sixth of the time. See his mistake? A six will come up one-sixth of the time on one die.  But backgammon uses two dice. When you roll two dice, there are thirty-six possible outcomes. Eleven of them contain a six: 1-6, 2-6, 3-6, 4-6, 5-6, 6-6, 6-5, 6-4, 6-3, 6-2, and 6-1. Eleven out of thirty-six is about thirty percent. This guy didn’t prove that sixes came up too often, he proved that they came up about as often as random chance would predict.

But what did he do? He said that now, whenever his opponent rolls a six on the first roll, he concludes that his opponent is cheating and he immediately abandons the game. Now he wins more often. No shit. He only plays when he has a better than average chance after the first roll. Someone’s cheating, all right. But it’s not his opponent.

What should he have done? He should have recorded how often he rolled a six on the first roll, too. Then he would have discovered that he got sixes just as often as the other guy. And his abysmal understanding of probability theory wouldn’t have mattered.

If you’re going to play backgammon, you have to understand this table that shows all the possible rolls of a pair of dice:

Screen shot 2013-02-09 at 2.28.35 PM

Each row is a different face of the first die and each column a different face of the second die.

First, you can see that there are thirty-six possible outcomes. You can see that doubles, which are found on the diagonal occur six times out of thirty-six. Sevens are found on the other diagonal and also occur six times out of thirty-six.

Any single number occurs eleven times out of thirty-six: six times on the row and six times on the column, minus once where the row and column overlap.

You can also see that getting a six and five – 5,6; 6,5 – is twice as likely as getting double fives – 5,5 – but exactly as likely as getting either double sixes or double fives – 6,6; 5,5. That’s why it’s easier to advance out of your opponent’s one point to your safety point at his twelve point if you haven’t advanced your man to his two point.

This table also shows something more subtle and interesting. Look what happens as you move away from the top-left to lower-right diagonal. Rolls in which the dice are separated by one pip – 1,2; 2,3; 3,4; 4,5; 5,6; 6,5; 5,4; 4,3; 3,2; and 2,1 – are more common than rolls in which the dice are separated by two pips – 1,3; 2,4; 3,5; 4,6; 6,4; 5,3; 4,2; and 3,1. And those in turn, more common than three pip separations – 1,4; 2,4; 3,6; 6,3; 4,2; 5,1. And so forth. This means that you’ll more likely make points when you have men on the board that are adjacent than when they are separated by one or more empty points.

You shouldn’t be playing backgammon unless you can visualze this table in your head.

It explains why people often think that the dice are against them. The chances of a double are 1:6. Unlikely, but hardly rare. The chances of two doubles in a row is 1:36 and three doubles in a row, 1:216. If you play a lot of backgammon, you’re going to see your opponent get three doubles in a row once in a while. It does not mean that the dice are rigged. It means that he got lucky. And not lottery-win, struck-by-lightning lucky, only its-sure-to-happen-sometimes lucky. Frustrating  when you’re neck and neck and bearing off, but it happens.

The chances of making a point on the opening roll – 1,3; 1,6; 2,4; 3,5; 4,6; 6,4; 5,3; 4,2; 6,1; 3,1 – is 10:36 or 28%. It’s going to happen a lot. By the way, expert players don’t recommend using an opening 6,4 roll to make a point because starting the game with a point that deep in your home table is not especially useful. I always know that I’m playing someone who has never read about backgammon strategy when I see my opponent do that.

So what do you do when your opponent gets lucky and you don’t? The stupid thing to do is to swear, claim your opponent must be cheating, and storm away from the computer. Stupid, not only because you’re almost certainly wrong, and very certainly immature, but because you never get a chance to learn about coming from behind to win a game. If you play to the bitter end, you’d be surprised how often you can manage to hit a blot as your opponent is bearing off, keep putting him back while you keep advancing, and squeak out a sweet, sweet victory.

How do people really cheat? They do it by getting a program like GNU Backgammon and using it to advise them on strategy. You won’t see them forcing good dice rolls for themselves more often than chance because that’s not what they’re doing. They’re simply playing better than you with fair dice. But they’re playing more slowly because they have to keep consulting the program to get advice before making their moves.

And you? Unlike chess, the best backgammon programs can still be beaten by great players. Forget about cheating and learn to play brilliantly. You won’t win when your opponent gets lucky rolls, but you will win far more often than not.

And you’ll enjoy playing a lot more.

Yours, Ashley


About Ashley Zacharias

I'm a post-modern woman who lives a vanilla life and dreams about kinky adventure. I write BDSM pornography but have no interest in acting out my fantasies in real life. Find my work on and
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445 Responses to Cheating on Microsoft Internet Backgammon

  1. pat says:

    I have better proof that there is something less than chance about the dice rolls for MS internet backgammon.
    When you start a game both player rolls the dice to see who goes first.
    I have got a six and lost which is impossible, a six will win 5 out of six of the combinations and a 6 on 6 would be a tie. I have got a 1 and won which is also impossible, in five out of six combinations 1 loses and 1 on 1 is a tie.
    There is another situation that seems improbable. when I double there is a higher likely hood of getting double on the your following a rate of maybe 2-3 times above random.

    • Ron says:

      That is right, I have found that after playing hundreds of games. Five out of ten rolls I find that I loose the roll with a higher dice. There is no logic in the dice rolls. The above 36 square table does not apply to MS dice rolls in any way.

    • John B Good says:


      this is not proof. When you ‘roll’ against an opponent, the dice of yours you see is nothing to do with the actual dice used in the first move between you and your opponent. It is an effect. Stupid of MicroSoft to do this, but there we go.

    • bonio out of U2 says:

      Its completely screwed, worse non random RNG out there except the poker sites maybe. waste of time …. don’t play it.

      • Tony says:

        Straight on! MS backgammon is a cliche. If for example your opponent has to role a 6-3 in order to hit you, and only a 6-3. The dice WILL be 6-3. Not 2 out of 36 times (as Ahsley the BDSM/statistics wiz might infer, but 36 out of 36 times. It’s a certainty. In fact you can game the system with this knowledge.

        This is typical mediocrity from MS. If you doubt that they are incompetent just check how many times a game starts with completely anomalous moves (the other player rolling 3-4 for example but 3 of their pieces moving, 1 of them unknown to them). Who ever programmed this should be canned.

    • Elle says:

      I came across the following response to someone who told the person he was wrong.
      He expresses my experience quite well. Also I can’t figure how the dice stop rolling and suddenly shake. spark and change number as they land. The experience I have most is when the opposing player suddenly stops throwing the dice and counts to 12 or thereabouts and then gets an excellent throw. Yes the quitters are equally as annoying.

      Really????? A lack of maturity? Is that what I have? Following your logic that must be the case, as I do believe that there is a tool out there that allows players to manipulate the dice in Microsoft’s Internet Backgammon. I have always been a particularly good player. My strategies are sound, and have proven to be successful over the course of my backgammon experience going back to 1979. During play it is obvious to me when a player is cheating. Don’t get me wrong I don’t believe everyone is cheating and I’m sure there have been occasions when I have suspected a completely innocent player.

      I believe there are two types of cheaters those who cheat all the time and those who only cheat when they really need to… Let me explain why I believe this to be the case. During play when I put someone in a position where it becomes obvious that they are not going to win if a player who has taken his turns in a timely fashion all game long, (who I have not suspected of cheating during that time) suddenly takes a long time to roll but when he does, rolls exactly the perfect roll to start down the path to recovery, and then continues to roll the perfect roll each subsequent turn until he is victorious i call “RAT” If this had only happened to me once or twice I wouldn’t think much about it; however, it happens far too often for me to consider it happenstance. It has gotten to the point that by the second game with some players that I can predict what the opponents dice are going to be before I even see them. I remember once predicting a 3 5 roll only to be surprised that it was a 2 4 I remember thinking “man, I guess I was wrong” but then I started watching his stones bouncing back and forth as he tried to figure out what went wrong. (he miss counted- also during the whole game leading up to this indecent he hadn’t taken back any moves.

      My question is: Where does the code run for die rolls? I am willing to bet the die roll happens on the computer of the person who is moving. That is to say that you roll your own dice. If that is the case how hard is it to isolate the memory addresses that hold the values for the die rolls? Not hard at all. So writing some code that will manipulate that block of memory could be done fairly easily. I can think of several methods to accomplish this….

      But I don’t think cheating is the biggest problem with this game….. Quitters are the biggest problem. I would say 2 in 3 to 4 in 5 players quit when they realize they are not going to win….. I wish Microsoft would give us the ability to filter players who’s stats indicate a propensity to quit or a significant history of being nudged.

    • Gerhardt says:

      The author has does not appear to have any idea how probability works and cites almost childish examples that were more than likely made up so their data met their hypothesis. Just the fact the author was even trying to find if Windows Backgammon cheats, or if is possible for anyone to “write” a program that cheats for them makes me suspect the author has noticed what millions of people worldwide have noticed. It is Windows 7 itself cheats.

      The backgammon game I play that comes with Windows 7 does not roll true random rolls of the dice. It does not appear that the opponent is the one cheating though, as the game will just as often play in my favor as it does the opponent. I suspected this was so more than 3 years ago and played and recorded the rolls from 50 games. Far more often than probable, the game returns “perfect” rolls, ie, rolls that will give the person who’s turn it is the best possible roll available.

    • Ant says:

      I have the best proof. Loads of screenshots where the opponent pips are on top of mine, moved twice without me even getting a turn and corrupt message when I stall. Obviously the also have perfect rolls for any given situation.

    • RJ Flyboy says:

      I have another one. I had an opponent down 4 games to none and they could still double. Explain that away with your bad math.

      • Because he was restricted from doubling when it was three games to one. In a match of five, your opponent is restricted from doubling only once, not every time that it would give him an advantage. So this was neither cheating, not a bug, but the rules of match play.

    • Andy Rossy says:

      Ashley, you’re a modern wonder of feminism BDSM and statistics, but you you’ve obviosly never played backgammon with real dice otherwise you’d know your lame defense of MicroSoft is total shit.

    • Greg says:

      Ashley, the chances of the dice rolls in MS Backgammon Z have nothing to do with your table. It’s more like the chance of donkeys flying out of your ass – which, given your tastes might appeal to you.

      Stop being such a MS stooge.

      • Have you actually collected data on a large number of MS dice rolls? Or are you just making an estimate based on how often you lose?

      • Greg says:

        Yes, Ashley, I have collected stats on a very large number of MS dice rolls. Here’s one you can try to wrap your brain around: The same dice pair is rolled 5 times in a row, and this occurred twice in 12 games.

        Ok, Ash, put on your super math hat and show me your statistics prowess. What are the chances of the same dice pair being thrown 5 times in a row?

        Did you get the answer yet Ash? If not go ask Wolfram Alpha or some other site for those who prefer BDSM to and spouting statistics to thinking.

        Otherwise, Ash, follow along….

        The chance of rolling any dice pair is 100% the first time.

        The second time it’s 1/6 x 1/6 x 2 = 1/18. So this can happen, on average, once in 18 throws.

        Three times in a row: 1/18 x 1/18 = 1/324, so once in 324 throws.

        Four times in a row: 1/18 x 1/18 x 1/18 = 1/5832, so once in 5832 throws – you see a trend here?

        Five times in a row: 1/18 x 1/18 x 1/18 x 1/18 = 1/104976.

        So, Ash, that’s ONCE in 104,976 throws. A typical backgammon game has about 50 throws, 12 games are about 600 throws. 104976 throws is about 2100 games – but it happened twice in 12.

        Reconcile that sweetheart.

        But don’t feel bad, I’m sure the ace programmer at MS who made the random number generator for the dice was just as light on the math and heavily on BDSM (probably on the receiving end) as you are.

    • Ernst says:

      I too have noticed a serious issue with the dice rolls.
      Too and I mean way too often opponents get rolls that either are exactly what the needed to construct a perfect block each game, three or four sets of doubles in a row mostly when they are behind or appear to be in a hurry to clear out their pips.
      I understand that rolling four or five sets a doubles in a row can happen but how can it happen 4 games in a row? Or how is it that the exact rolls happen to to take pips out each time?
      I am at the Intermediate level and I play well. Too often my good game is magically negated at just the right time for my opponent to come from way behind and get ahead. I say this as in “Way Way too often.”
      I tell you all I have had three doubles in a row once or twice but the frequencies for my Opponents is just not realistic in the real world. I also say I have never been able to play four games in a row where I roll double sixes just when I am in the last quadrant with my pips then am able to roll two and three more sets of doubles.
      So I too do not see any cheat other than using the GNU program to make moves for us but something is really wrong with the Windows 7 Backgammon.

    • Ben says:

      Ashley is MicroSoft stooge. There is no way anyone who has every played the game (with real dice) can accept that Backgammon Z is anything but a joke.

      • Except when I’m being highly-critical of Microsoft, as in my post about virus-proofing computers on this blog, in my tweets, and my comments on the CBC news web site. I’ve never been shy to tell people that I switched to Apple when I retired a few years ago, mostly because Apple Macs are built on UNIX. I’d like to think that if I were a Microsoft insider, I’d find some way to convince them produce a better operating system.

  2. er says:

    I played someone the other day who blatantly manipulated his dice back and forth very quickly several times…gloating about his win…this includes his final roll where he took all but one man off the board, took back the three he had removed, then repeated that move several times…so, yes, there are those out there who have learned how to manipulate the dice. It is a shame that so many feel they need to cheat in order to win!

    • Mark says:

      This is silly. As the author mentions, if there were cheating programs available, you’d be able to find them with a Google search. Try it. I promise you’ll find none. While you’re at it, check the torrent search engines too. Not there either. Maybe usenet. Nope, not there. Your opponent was gloating because of a lucky roll, not because he/she was cheating. If you’re still convinced people are cheating, I’ve found that wearing a tinfoil hat while playing will reverse the energy fields and cause the cheats to work in your favor. Try it out.

      I will say that it appears to me that the dice aren’t completely random, though I’ve never tracked it enough to say for sure. If it is the case, though, the players aren’t influencing it. It’s the game itself.

      • Trace says:

        So your sure of this comment? Evidently your much more intelligent than the rest of us.
        That’s the way it is when every one else is wrong and your right.
        I have watched on 4 and 5 occasions when the dice keeps rolling double. I have barred my opponent and watch him move from his bar instead of mine , I have seen pieces appear on my side that should be up top. either someone is cheating or the software is really screwed up. Play often then you will see what the restof us are talking about.

      • DISH WASHER says:

        Which language are you searching under? Try and beat Russian or Turkish players, even the ones hiding as “beginners.”

  3. Mark Jones says:

    I agree with Pat. Same here, when doubled, on either end, there is a higher chance of getting double on the roll. And this is so true, that many double the game at the beginning or even when they are behind, and most of the times, they win. I don’t know if it’s cheat programs or MS Internet Backgammon is favoring a player, but there is a big difference between playing on an actual board than on MS Backgammon. Another point, when I guess what the next roll is going to be based on the board layout, I get a 60-70% accuracy rate. So, either I can read the program’s mind, or command the next roll with my brain waves or the darn thing is rigged!!!! 🙂 Which one seems more likely? Sometimes I think I can make a living betting on the next roll of dice on MS Internet Backgammon!!
    You say that the odds of getting three doubles in a row is 1 to 216, well today I played around 15 times in which, two of the games my opponent got his/her three doubles in a row as well as myself getting it once. If you play 10-20 games per day for a month, you will see that your mentioned odds don’t add up and in time, you can start reading the next roll of dice as well. I once predicted 12 consecutive rolls in a game. What are the odds of that? 🙂
    Granted a few times, I misread the dice and those are the times when the game seems like playing on a real board, but this seldom happens. I am not sure which version of Windows it was, but when you played backgammon, there was a phrase saying “when the odds don’t play out” or something to that effect, trying to make the game more interesting by giving more of the odds that you cannot get in the real game. Well that stuck with me and I believe that perhaps still using that logic in these games. I’ve been playing backgammon for 30yrs off & on, and believe me, MS Internet Backgammon does not follow the natural odds. 🙂

  4. les says:

    ms backgammon is a rip-off. u always play against the same player. the game is controlled bu ms bkg writers. they wish to create a game they can control. they do control it. play it often and watch carefully. opponent moves and other pucks move independently. they do but not every game. i have played very many games on win7. i know what i have seen i am not mistaken. winning all the way till the last couple of moves time and again? no way, it is mostly controlled. it is not a normal game. i do know how to create a genuine internet bck game.

    • Mark says:

      How is it a rip off? How much did you pay for it?

      • msbackgammonsucks says:

        As much as I paid for the operating system it came with. It didn’t come with a free program. It came with software you pay for. Idiotic response.

  5. les says:

    the idea that i have could generate $000,000,000.01

  6. les says:

    oh yea! please tell the MS guy or doll that i sent this message. i very often send them messages Hello, oops, ouch, ( )

  7. Chris Field says:

    Anyone who doesn’t understand probability theory would be hopeless at BG, but when you’ve played MS BG a few hundred times, you just know the game engine is rigged. It’s not cheat programs. It’s MS trying to make the game more “interesting” or “fairer” for weaker players. One thing in particular has always struck me. Every time one of your pucks lands on the rack, you are almost guaranteed to get useless doubles, usually sixes. I call them the p*** taking sixes. The same thing happens to your opponent. I wish I’d kept records of all my games just to prove this is not a random effect. There are other giveaways too but that is the most obvious one. Such a shame too as BG is a beautiful game and it’s sad to see it ruined by the geeks at MS.

    • Wayde says:

      Hey Chris. I agree with you on your post above. It IS manipulated by the MS geeks, but you’ll notice that for a few games, you yourself will be on a total roll, unstopable and you have the most INSANE luck, game after game, and then the EXACT oposite will happen to you too after about 20 games or so. I totally love BG, and I’ve played the game more times than I’d like to admit, but I’m 100% sure that it is somehow rigged by MS themselves so that the playing fields are levelled.

      • Gerhardt says:

        I think you are right about the game being rigged, but I don’t agree with your guess at the motivation behind it.

    • Chris Cavanagh says:

      Chris you have hit the nail on the head.Why others cannot see this amazes me.This very same ploy is used on BGLive (FB) and PlaygamsBG (FB).It is backgammon on steroids.It makes for Z”fantastic wins” and crazy defeats” while your “luck” waxes and wanes a la 10-15 wins followed by same losses.Feast or amine.The rols are crazy and any player would say so.But it is an inside job.For the reasons stated.At these site you coins are often paid for which makes it criminal.But in what country? Thanks

      • Chris Cavanagh says:

        Wish I had taken more time composing comment.Players of BGLive and Playgems might want to contribute (comments) on:Fans of honest FB backgammon

    • msbackgammonsucks says:

      Exactly Right. It does give a “miracle roll” to even things up way too often.

      1 point though on random dice.

      Programmers defend random dice by saying there is a 1 in 36 chance of rolling doubles and after monitoring a million rolls, random dice are very close to 1 in 36.

      They say this proves their dice are random.

      Completely false assumption.

      The dice have a 1 in 36 chance of coming up doubles on “Each Roll”, not over time.

      If you were to roll real dice that many times, you would not as likely get close to or exactly 1 in 36 for doubles.

      The programmed random dice are programmed to get close to the 1 in 36 mark. So, if the program detects it is behind on the number of doubles it should have, then it will make up for it by getting more doubles for awhile.

      That may explain the number of times you see someone or even yourself roll 5 doubles in a row, which happens often with MS Backgammon.

      Thinking something is wrong with the random dice program microsoft used here is not the same thing as not knowing how to play backgammon as the original poster seems to suggest.

      • Actually, there are 6 chances in 36 of rolling doubles because there are 6 different doubles (double 1s, 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, and 6s). Thus, on average one sixth of the rolls should be doubles. The chance of getting 5 doubles in a row is (1/6)^5 or 1/(6*6*6*6*6) which is 1 chance in 7,776. Considering that there are dozens of dice rolls in every game, you will see five doubles in a row once in a while. Not every day, but more often than many people expect.

      • msbackgammonsucks says:

        I meant 1 in 6 Ashley. Thanks for the correction. But that percentage still applies to 1 roll and has nothing to do with the odds over many rolls.

        Same as flipping a penny has a 50/50 chance for heads or tails, each flip. Not over many flips.

        So when programmers defend a random number generator by saying over a million rolls, it gets doubles 1 in 6 times, it’s a straw man argument.

      • Gerhardt says:

        About your reply to Ashley. A straw man argument is one where a person will deliberately misrepresent something their opponent has said to create a “new” argument that they then can then easily tear down while avoiding the real disagreement. It is a type of logical fallacy.

      • msbackgammonsucks says:

        To Gerhardt I stand corrected about the type of argument. Thank you. That added to the topic at hand perfectly.

      • Tom Miceli says:

        Does nobody realize that all the games are manipulated? Do you never see that you have sometimes no choice but only one move and then come “luckily the 1/36 for the opponent? The system wants even the very beginner to win against a champion to encourage them for playing,gambling later for real money.

    • Why(de) says:

      “I wish I’d kept records of all my games just to prove this is not a random effect.”

      Hehehe. Yeah, if only! You could’ve brought this mafia-like bullshit down, man!

      Completely agree with Ashley here. These are just petty excuses by people who are bad losers and bad at probability. I’ve been playing MS Backgammon for many years, and I’ve never experienced anything out of the ordinary. And I’m an experienced Backgammon player who mostly wins, both in real life and with MS Backgammon.

      • Tony says:

        You’re off Why(de),

        Here’s an example where I did keep track: In the course of 20 games either my opponent or myself rolled the same dice (say 2-3) three times in a row – and this occurred 5 times in 20 games, and once the same combination (it was a 5-6) was rolled 4 times in a row by my opponent.

        Now the chance of rolling any on combination is 1 out of 18 – so the probability is 0.0556. The chance of rolling the same combination twice in a row is (0.0556)^2 = 0.0030, and the chance of rolling the same combination three times is a row = (0.0556)^3 = 0.00017. And this WILL occur in real life, no doubt, but it will only occur in 1 out of 5832 rolls.

        So we’re talking 20 games, average about 46 rolls per game (counting both you and your opponent) is about 920rolls – and something that should occur 1 out of 5832 rolls happened 5 times! NFW!

        The cherry on the cake: The one time the same combination was rolled 4 times is a row. That should occur once in 104,976 rolls. But in MS backgammon it can happen!

        Of course people like you Why(de) will claim this in not proof. And of course it isn’t. These things CAN happen. Fine. If you believe that then let’s you and me go to Vegas and I want to see you betting on craps using the MS backgammon statistics – I’ll save $40 bucks for your Greyhound trip back home.

  8. Tony says:

    Its Bullshit if you say they aren’t manipulating the dice somehow. I played 15 games randomly sometime same player. Out of 15 games I rolled doubles 7 times , I had one opponent rolled doubles 4 times in a row and 4 other times during the game. That’s not coincidence its bullshit. If you say they are not cheating then your the ignorant one. It happens way to many times.

    • Mark says:

      I do say that people aren’t manipulating the dice, at least not on the level that so many are claiming. Try to let this sink in: if such a thing were as rampant as people are claiming, you’d be able to find out how it was done pretty easily. See if you can find the information. The game may or may not be completely random, but even if it’s not that doesn’t mean that your opponents are controlling the game.

      • terry says:

        Ok Mark tell me can a player after making the moves then move them back again.once you made your move thats it your turn is finished as in chess once you made your move&yes you have to let go of peace then its next players turn.since you can not see the person touching the peace on a computer.there are many things wrong with microsoft backgammon&its not a program you can find.its microsoft them selfs who are playing the game&cheating to win.try getting a friend to try starting a game against you it wont end up playing the same people who are employed by microsoft.mark you speak utter crap..sorry i for got your right&everyone else is an englishman&hopefully you will understand this remark(WHATEVER).

      • Backgammon isn’t chess. In chess, if you touch a piece, you have to move it (unless you say “j’adoube” first). According to the official rules for backgammon, your turn does not end until you pick up your dice. Thus, you can move pieces and then move them back to their original positions as much as you like, as long as you remember where they were and have made only a legal move before picking up your dice. In Microsoft Internet Backgammon, there is no concept of picking up dice, so they arbitrarily decided that your turn is over when you move your last piece. Before then, you can move your first piece back and forth as you wish and change your mind about which piece you want to move first. That can be annoying, but it’s not cheating.

      • Mark says:

        Wow Terry, you’re a bright one.
        #1 That’s not cheating, it’s part of the game. Your opponents can do it, and so can you.
        #2 This makes perfect sense. Microsoft, a multi-billion dollar corporation, hires people to play games just to annoy their customers. How does this make money for Microsoft and its shareholders? Why would they have any interest in doing this? You do understand that, as a publicly traded corporation, they have a responsibility to their shareholders to grow profits for the corporation, right? Please explain how letting their employees play games against their customers helps to accomplish this.
        #3 I’m not claiming everyone else is wrong and that I’m always right. I am saying you need to get back on your meds and give up the conspiracy theories. The voices in your head are not always right. That said, I’m probably a little crazy too, since I’m apparently compelled to continue responding to the nutjobs who I know are either too thickheaded or insane to follow what I’m saying.
        #4 I would expect an Englishman to have a better grasp of basic English grammar and punctuation rules. Here are a few free tips: there should always be a space after punctuation, the first letter of a sentence should always be capitalized, and “your” is the possessive form of “you” (as in “Your ideas are crazy!”), while “you’re” is a contraction of “you are” (e.g. “You’re a freaking headcase!”) — they are not interchangeable.

    • John B Good says:

      “They”, “Somehow” = conspiracy theorist = 15 games “Microsoft shot JR” – this is certain due to the dice being manipulated somehow (and I know I am right as my tin-fool, sorry foil, hat vibrated when I thought this thought, which definitely proves everything I said.

  9. Tony says:

    useless to post here I see. Blatant cheating unless your living in your fairytale world.

    • John B Good says:

      Tony, I know what you mean, they are definitiely lying. Microsoft have a big, cheating, thing going on. I find that a double layer of tinfoil on the neurozeroizer stops a lot of what they are doing,

      Let me know how you get on.

      John B Good.

  10. Olinser says:

    People are cheating, and to try and claim otherwise is just ignorant.

    Is EVERYBODY cheating, just because you lost? Of course not!!

    10 minutes ago I was playing a guy. I beat him easily the first game. The second game, he suddenly offered a double when he was FORTY PIPS behind, I had 5 points in my home covered in front of one of a pair of his. (and I only had 3 pieces outside the home box).

    Of course I accepted. In the next 10 rolls, he rolled 8 doubles (4 of them were double sixes, 2 of them were double fives), and won.

    There is no possible way you can claim that somebody offering a double when that far behind, and then WINNING, is anything but a cheater.

    • Olinser says:

      To clarify, the first move after his doubling was a double 5 – conveniently the exact number he needed to get his pair of pieces beyond my wall and safely past all of my pieces. After that it was simply a dice race – no captures happened.

      • John B Good says:

        Olinser, how about you this scenario,

        you were playing someone who thought I am 1 pt behind, I am well behind this game, I usually disconnect when I am behind, but I will double and if I am really lucky – I might win, if I don’t get this roll then I will just quit as usual.

        I posit that that is what happened rather than the dice being manipulated.

        Try and apply your feel for the probability of dice to real world things.

    • You should realize that I often double when I’m behind because I have to leave and I want to hurry it along. I’d rather lose a match than walk away from it. And, sometimes I double, expecting to lose, and happen to get a couple of lucky rolls and win. That’s just the way the game works.

      • Olinser says:

        Obviously you didn’t actually read what I wrote.

        A couple lucky rolls I can accept. I’ll admit I’ve won a couple games with a lucky doubles roll at the last minute. I’ve also lost games from a lucky roll. But that was just blatantly obvious cheating. Do you even realize how astronomically low a chance he had to roll 8 out of 10 doubles?

      • By the way, I do know the probability of getting 8 or more doubles in 10 rolls. Do you? Let me help you out. It’s about 1 chance in 50,000. Very rare, it’s true. But astronomical? No. It’s way more likely than getting hit by lightening – which happens to about 1000 Americans every year. And that assumes that you rolled the dice exactly ten times, looking for that outcome. Take into account that you picked that particular streak out of a long stream of rolls, choosing the beginning and end points to emphasize the streak of doubles, and the probability of your observation becomes a lot lower than 1 out of 50,000. A lot lower. Yes, you had a fairly rare unlucky streak, but not an impossible event by any means.

    • Pegasol says:

      Dear Olinser, this can happen. Yes, the probability is very small, but not zero.

      OK, I think myself the game is not quite pure. This is mostly not by intention, but by the quality of one particular game component: the random number generator (RNG) required to generate dice rolls. I watch pretty frequently the same rolls to repeat over and over – not directly consecutive, but in sequences of very low probability. I even won games suxxessfully guessing the opponent’s next roll based on this observation, and lost some others, not getting back in having a man on the bar in a long time. OK, this happens with real dice as well, but keeping to get 4-6, 4-6, 3-6, 1-6, 4-6, 4-6, once in while a 5, 4-6 again… while I could get back in on the 2 only tells me that the random number generator is a bit odd, at least.
      The way you lost that particular game should be outright the same story.

      I had some tries with a random number generator as well using simulated shift registers with XORed feedback and found combinations that gave pretty simple, predictable patterns instead of sound random sequences.

      What I regard as intentional is the pretty (overly?) high probability of rolling 6-6 after being bounced out to the bar the first time. This happens to myself as well as to opponents. Maybe that has been built into the game. Maybe someone thought this makes the game more interesting, maybe its the RNG again.

      But besides evaluating a sequence of many games this cannot be proven anyway as the game is controlled server-side. So don’t think for one minute that there is cheating by your opponent.

      • msbackgammonsucks says:

        Three things that brings up.

        1. Yes, the number of times you get double six when you first hit the bar is odd.

        2. The number of times you roll the only two numbers, like 6-3, 6-2 while you are on the bar is very odd. I’ve gotten those 3-4 times in a row too many times.

        3. Also, just after doubling the dice, you roll a double that very roll an odd number of times. I’ve doubled the dice when I was behind because I’ve seen my odds improve for getting the doubles I wanted.

        This does not point to my opponent cheating. It points to the RNG being extremely faulty and Micorosoft’s intent to help the person who is behind.

  11. peedoff says:

    Ive been playing backgammon awhile&anyone that says no cheating can be done is a liar including microsoft, since most of the time it is microsoft them selfs that are playing it.if you mess up the games by starting the game& eventually you will get an error code saying 0x80041006.they basicaly block you for try it&see for your self.they can control what they throw,thats why long wait,can control your dice if getting better of them so they can block you so you lose.move many counters if want to so you leave the game right at the start of the noticed its not your turn when many counters look at it this way if im correct then microsoft hack into your computer when ever they want to,even if its just to cheat you out of having a nice game of backgammon.sad sad company&sad workers at microsoft.if i am wrong then why is microsoft not doing something about this problem since it seems to of been going on for awhile now.

  12. Pablo Casa says:

    The dice simply aren`t totally random. I`ve seen 3 or four doubles in a row often and if you have just one place in your gammon to come in and you have one exposed piece outside your gammon then often the player will roll the exact combination to come onto the board and then hit you. If you play it enough times you just get frustrated and realize that no one is really that lucky.I`ve also experienced many times when knocked off the board throwing the double six when the rest of their gammon is empty.Many players seem to wait an incredibly long time to throw their dice and often get double six straight up which makes you wonder.Also if the other player leaves the game and you get stuck with the computer,you will realize that all of a sudden the computer has amazing bad luck with it`s dice(and does incredibly stupid moves) so that you must be able to win with little effort.
    I wish Microsoft would look into this and realize with so many complaints that there is something fundamentally wrong with the randomness of the dice(there is a bias) and also fix the need to throw the dice when the gammon is blocked and you can`t come on.Also another game I`ve played (serious backgammon) has a click to move feature which makes the game so much easier to play than the drag and drop method in Internet backgammon.
    We all like to play this game(backgammon) but being so flawed really puts me off.
    So please Microsoft look into the software of this game and fix it.
    I guess you can say it`s not our problem but us not knowing probability but after playing this game hundreds of times,there is really something amiss with the pure randomness of the dice.

  13. Tony says:

    For the first time in a month yesterday I rolled like 4 doubles in a row , never had this happen but my opponent constantly roll double six or fours and just happen to roll the exact number they need . I don’t like it if I happen to roll a lot of doubles in a row . I like the challenge of playing . But like I say this is the first time it happened with me. but all the time they want to double the stakes when they are behind.and just happen to roll just what they need. Something is really amiss with this game.

  14. Jenn says:

    There is cheating on Microsoft internet backgammon. Yes, there is.

  15. Ray says:

    if you want to see the MS program go “flaky”, quit and ask for another opponent while the opponent is moving their pieces….

  16. Tony says:

    I would really like to know what moron nerd designed the software for this backgammon. For one thing it wont let you make legal moves . Its like the server or whatever should not decide who wins. It should all be random. What a damn idiot that set this up.

  17. Tony says:

    I love to play but the server decides if your ahead it should give the other player doubles over and over. I have definitely played my last game on Microsoft its fucked up.

  18. Rev says:

    Ashley, you’re an idiot.

    • I’m Ashley Zacharias and I approve this message.

      • terry says:

        how comes you didnt reply to my last post was quick to the one i said about because you sounded stupid.the other thing about ms backgammon is,how comes when its the other players turn to start sometimes they can move theres&my peace.before you say bad program,then why does it not happen when i as said before there is cheating on ms backgammon&its microsoft them selfs.ashley is this a site you wrote up for backgammon or other things because lets face it you chat about alot but not alot of what your site is for.

      • terry says:

        yes you approve of revs post saying your an idiot because its correct you are an idiot&many other things.a women with a modern mind.what a joke you realy are.

      • Mark says:

        I don’t know Ashley and I don’t speak for her, but Terry I notice that you never replied to my earlier message. Someone who doesn’t know the difference between “your” and “you’re”, who doesn’t know that there should be a space at the end of a sentence, who doesn’t know to capitalize his own name, who uses the term “women” to refer to a singular woman, and more relevant to the topic at hand, thinks that a multi-billion dollar, publicly traded corporation hires people to play backgammon, really shouldn’t be calling anyone an idiot.

      • Wayde says:

        While I enjoy a hotly contested debate and have been given insight from both sides of the fence regarding cheating/rigging of Internet Backgammon, I do find it a pitty when people get personal instead of discussing the real issue of the topic. I’m of the opinion that Ashley doesn’t see any form of rigging that I clearly have seen over the last few years of predictable “win/lose phases” that is near imposible to pick up, HOWEVER, statements like this: “because its correct you are an idiot&many other things.a women with a modern mind.what a joke you realy are.”, directed at Ashley is just hitting below the belt. I think if more people could follow Mandela’s life approach, this world would be a better place. A message especially to all the men out there, “Be the change you want to see in the world!”

      • terry says:

        Heres a new one for you post moden women ashley.just played a game that you say corrupted program.well just had a game&the player moved his or her counters&my counter&put it on top of 2 of there counters.well this has happend manytimes where counters put on my 1 or 2 counters.when this has happend to me im unable to do anything with that counter or land on them.well this time the other player was able to when was his,her go move my counter off the top of the 2&prossed with its move&i do mean its your corrupted program theroy has just been blowen right out the window.ive been intouch with microsoft manytimes stating the fact that iver the programers of microsoft or they have emplyees working at microsoft just to play games.they said we shall look at this matter.i asked for a email stating about this complaint.they said i would get one about this matter.its been 5weeks&still no email stating they are looking into now whats your reply Ashley Zacharias.your so quick to try but not very well at it i may add to pick up on things like my first post,but not since ive made you look an idiot with nothing to solve this problem we are having instead of just dismissing it as bad programing.we shall see if get a reply from you with some thought put into it.

      • Seriously? The MS Backgammon displays a blatantly illegal board position and you conclude that it must be some kind of cheat and not a programming bug? Seriously? You think that is the “cheating” that people are talking about? And you wonder why I don’t rush to respond to every comment that you post? Let me draw a few conclusions:
        1) You are a teenager;
        2) Your first language is not English;
        3) You troll a bunch of blogs, trying to get a response from people; and
        4) You have way more time to waste than I do.

        It’s okay. Teen years are hard. But life will get better as you get older. I promise.

      • terry says:

        o ashley&markie that really hurt me.NOT.if thats all you can do is try belittle someone by pointing out spelling mistakes,then get a life.because obviously you could understand still dont reply to what was asked or stated.just goes to show you havent got a just write up a blog about it&thats it.

      • terry says:

        So what your saying mark is your unable to understand what im writing is that correct.then how comes you reply with an answer?

      • Gezza says:

        Terry, you are wrong about the posts from Ashley Z.

        You sound stupid. The following is a quote from you and is incoherent

        You make little to no sense.

        how comes you didnt reply to my last post was quick to the one i said about because you sounded stupid.the other thing about ms backgammon is,how comes when its the other players turn to start sometimes they can move theres&my peace.before you say bad program,then why does it not happen when i as said before there is cheating on ms backgammon&its microsoft them selfs.ashley is this a site you wrote up for backgammon or other things because lets face it you chat about alot but not alot of what your site is for.

  19. Mark says:

    Even if it’s not random, it doesn’t mean the dice are being controlled. Yes, using GNU backgammon to advise on the best moves is cheating, but it’s not controlling the dice.

  20. Blane says:

    Well , I started back playing on ms backgammon and I have figured out the secret to how the server decides your rolls. And the asshole I used to play all the time , well I think I have put him in his place. No more offering to double all the time because I beat him so bad he usually leaves the game. He cant take it when it the other way around Too funny

    • Sorry, but I don’t find this credible. You do realize that MS Backgammon doesn’t let you play the same person all the time, right? In fact, it doesn’t tel you who you are playing at all.

      • Tony says:

        You can always tell if your playing the same person by the way they move and their actions. That how I know .I’m sure I might get it wrong some of the time but most of the time you can just tell if you play a lot. Yea I’m psychic. Woo hoo.! I didn’t know I had to explain this to people who are such professionals. And yes I will quit if somebody rolls 6 doubles in a row and don’t say this doesn’t happen.

    • Jim says:

      What version of MS backgammon lets you chose who to play against? Must be the same version that lets you control the dice. That mysterious version that everyone is certain exists, but nobody can figure out where to get it.

  21. Jim says:

    I don’t know why I play the game at all. Not because I think people are controlling the dice, or because it isn’t random, but because almost everyone I play against will quit as soon as they’re losing. It’s especially likely if I have a horrible first game, followed by a good second game. As soon as the game is in my favor, they’re gone. I can’t believe how widespread this is. And this is playing on the expert level, where I would assume people want a challenging game. If they only want to play against people they can beat, why play on expert level?

    • I just tell myself that these are gutless cowards and that I humiliated them, count those matches as wins for me, and move on. But, really, more often than not, they’re abandoning matches that they might well have won if they really were good players. In reading the comments here, you can see that many of these weak players understand neither strategy nor probabilities. They justify their losses by telling themselves that all the players who are better than them must be cheating in some mysterious way. They can never admit to themselves that they didn’t play very well and, by tucking their tails between their legs and running away, never learn to play better.

      • Tony says:

        Your sooooo intelligent I need to go where I’m on a lower level with the other idiots.Shit

      • Rev says:

        “In reading the comments here, you can see that many of these weak players understand neither strategy nor probabilities. They justify their losses by telling themselves that all the players who are better than them must be cheating in some mysterious way. They can never admit to themselves that they didn’t play very well and, by tucking their tails between their legs and running away, never learn to play better.”

        I say again, you’re an idiot.

        I will play you and your probabilities anytime, and at any place. We’ll see whom the better player is.

        The MS Backgammon is akin to T-Ball. It favors the weak, to make things “fair”. It does nothing to encourage proficiency, It just panders to those who believe they are great, those without any greatness (or skill, or anything to offer) within them.

        I’d bet you voted for Obama, at least twice.

      • If I were American, I would have voted for Obama. And I would never have voted for Bush. And I certainly won’t vote for anyone in Stephen Harper’s government in the next election, either. Because I’m a true conservative and neither the Republicans or the Conservative party of Canada sustains conservative values. I wrote an essay on this site about why real American conservatives should vote for the Democrats, if you care to read it.

      • Rev says:

        I don’t care to read it. I am not interested in opinion from anyone without a horse in the race.

        It’s also very easy to see what little focus you have on the topic of backgammon cheating. Typical change of subject from an opponent whose gun is empty.


      • Yup. Empty gun. Which, I assume, is why you raised the subject of politics in a comment on backgammon.

      • Rev says:

        You may assume whatever you’d like. I am equating MS Backgammon with T-Ball. Let no idiot go unrewarded. Everyone is a hero.

        It was your reply that was totally political, and your assumptions of the fairness of MS Backgammon is on par with your head-in-the-sand political beliefs.

      • terry says:

        You dont half go on make a blog,people come on here to let others no&you say they are wrong.
        so come on then since you no everything about computer programs.
        prove your right&everyone is wrong or is it your publisher has said you got to do something because your not selling your self enuff&also get others on here to argu your case.
        any publicity is good publicity your publisher would say..
        your like a thin book.
        read it far to easily.

      • msbackgammonsucks says:

        I don’t think others are cheating. I think it’s a terrible random number generator and that Microsoft tries to make it more interesting by favoring someone who is behind. I think there are several problems.

        I still win about 67% of my games, so this isn’t being said by someone who loses a lot or does not understand backgammon.

        I will admit, some of the posts and conspiracy theories are way out there though.

        But, Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean someone isn’t after you. 🙂

      • Baxwest says:

        I’ve been playing backgammon for many years, although never on MS Backgammon. What the author says is bona fide. I would suggest those who worry about cheating show up at an actual backgammon club and play live. You might benefit from meeting a real person in the flesh, and even learn a thing or two.

        I did notice one error, where the author disdains making the two-point on an opening roll of 6-4. eXtreme Gammon, the best bg software currently available, rates the move as only a very small error. The best move (according to XG) is 24/18, 13/9. It wins just over 50 percent of the time. Making the 2-point wins 49.8 pecent of the time, but leads to gammoning the opponent more often (15.9 to 13.6 percent). So if you need a gammon to win the match it is correct to make the 2-point.

  22. jimwalton says:

    The game is most definitely flawed. How else can an opponent roll doubles and move 5 pieces? One in three games I play end in a “corrupted data” message. I’m not totally convinced that people are cheating in the game, but something is definitely awry. I guess either learn to put up with it or move on.

    • As you say, there is a difference between bad programming and deliberate cheating. I would never accuse Microsoft of writing good code. The Internet Backgammon client and server seem especially poorly written. Data gets corrupted constantly. It’s been a few years since I used a Windows OS but, back in the day when I had to use Windows, I found it rather unreliable. In fact, so unreliable (and vulnerable to viruses) that I switched to Macs and never looked back. The exception seems to be Word on my Mac. I’ve written at least a million words on it and I don’t think I’ve ever lost a document.

      • Jimmy Kirk says:

        I totally agree with that sentiment and actuality, Ashley. I’m playing MS Backgammon now, btw. I’ve ‘won’ 83% of games but, as you’ve said absolutely correctly, bad programming means that many of my ‘losses’ were actually corrupted games!. Who would count a game as lost in real life if a lunatic came in and flipped the board? Because I have won so many, I have noticed that the server now works against me more often than not these days. I can just about guarantee to lose my first game.
        BTW, anyone interested in seeing the server’s ‘true face’, play the computer a few times. You’ll see the laws of probability bent and twisted more than in the Twilight Zone!

        Keep (it) coming Ashley!

      • Jimmy Kirk says:

        PS you can use Windoze on your Mac; use ‘Parallels desktop’ or ‘Bootcamp’. I’ve heard many of my friends and colleagues say that some MS programs are faster/slicker on these PC emulations than on a ‘real’ PC. It won’t stop the bad MS programming tho’, I’m sorry to say!


      • Jimmy Kirk says:

        PPS (sorry Ashley, I can’t resist talking to you). I play on ‘expert’ level.

  23. Tony says:

    I agree , also the dice should be random if not there really is no reason to play. I will quit the game if it gives me an incredibly amount of doubles. It takes the fun out of the game. There is no cheating but the server does favor certain players. The only thing it should do is make sure the dice are random.

  24. RSCarter says:

    Sorry Ashley, but you have no clue about the cheating on MS Backgammon. It cracks me up when someone comes out with statements like yours, but they don’t do the research to on the site mentioned to back it up…. instead they just spout some numbers. Well I have numbers to back up what I say.

    I used to suspect that the odds were twisted when it seemed like way too many of my opponents got a first roll double, and more doubles in general (not to mention all the other convenient rolls that were just what they needed). The thing is, if you want to talk probability, then I have plenty of proof that the normal probability is being thrown out the door. I’ve played enough real backgammon to know the difference between having good luck for a game, and having unreal luck for 9 out of 10 games. So I decided that I would play 10 games a day and record the outcome. After 200 games, I totaled them up, and these stats are proof:

    Number of 1st roll doubles in 200 games: me 21, opponent 64
    Number of doubles overall in 200 games: me 1019, opponent 2441
    Average of each double (just one dice, 1-6): me 2.71, opponent 4.32
    (that means not only do they double more often, but their rolls are higher)

    I also tracked the rolls themselves for each turn on many of the games, and the aggregate roll value for the opponent averaged a staggering 26 pts more in each game that I tracked (I only did this on 3 days, so just 30 games… but still.

    No one will ever convince me that there is not some cheating going on. The results I show above happen every day of every week when I play, and it is not a random string of bad luck. The guy that said you can predict the roll the cheater will get is right. Do I know how they do it? No, and I don’t really care. What I don’t get, is how these cheaters get any satisfaction out of playing the game? They have no real skill, and have to manipulate the results to win. How is that satisfying? It is pathetic.

    • Olinser says:

      I can’t help but notice that your post, offering hard data that proves at least some cheating is happening, is one of the only posts NOT replied to by the author.

      • 1) When you say that “[this] is one of the only posts NOT replied to by the author”, you should examine the data. If you actually count my comments on this page, you’ll notice that I have not responded to most of the posts. I’m not saying this to nitpick, but to illustrate the problem with people’s perception and memory. They notice and remember what agrees with their preconceptions, even if it’s wrong. In this case, you are noticing the comments that I reply to and ignoring the majority that I do not. It’s called “confirmation bias” in the psychological literature. And that is why I don’t worry too much about people who say “I played X number of games where my opponent got Y doubles in a row.” They didn’t actually collect the data at the time but are relying on selective memory. I’m not immune to confirmation bias, either. When I started playing MS Internet Backgammon, I was sure that the computer was giving my opponent more doubles than me. But I didn’t rely on my memory. I began counting all the doubles that both he and I got and – guess what! – I was getting just as many doubles as my opponents. I was simply remembering him getting his and forgetting or ignoring me getting mine.

        2) I did take RSCarter’s comment quite seriously. It’s one of the few times that someone has posted real numbers here, not just “I once saw my opponent get X doubles in a row and that could never happen.” Unfortunately, I do not have access to a PC most of the time and cannot play MS Backgammon. When I get to a PC in September, I intend to try replicating RSCarter’s results by collecting my own data. I will be interested to see if I find the same bias. Part of the problem with Carter’s results is that, though they may well be accurate and correct, they can still be obtained by chance. There is a publication bias here. A dozen people might have collected the same statistics but found no bias and never bothered commenting about them here. The one, rare case where a bias was found by chance is the one that gets reported. The only check on that is replication and see if other people find the same result. If I can see the same results as RSCarter or if other people see the same result, then I am quite prepared to concede that Microsoft’s dice rolls are biased.

    • Gezza says:

      RSCarter, did you make your numbers up?

  25. tom web says:

    You’re completely wrong.
    Of course it’s possible to cheat in Microsoft’s Backgammon.
    But it’s no software cheat.
    A friend of mine and me made statistics for 2 years, playing Microsoft backgammon almost every day..
    If you meet players who offer the double game after the first or second stroke, you can be sure, that he will have a lot of double dices…;-)
    And this is how it works:
    there is no server for the game – one of the 2 computers of the 2 players is the host, the other is the guest.
    If your computer is the host, all dices roll on your computer, also the strokes of the other player.
    And there you can manipulate the dices.
    But I won’t show you the way to manipulate this – there are more than enough cheating a**holes around…

    • My Info says:

      Just because the programs are not posted doesn’t mean they aren’t out there. I have created some computer programs for my pc but that doesn’t mean I have to publish them on the internet. Wake up moron.

      • Uhhh. You think that every second person that you play is cheating because they are all using some dice-manipulation program that isn’t available on the Internet? Then how did they get the cheat program? Magic? Or is there some gigantic underground network of people that has never invited me or you or anyone that you know to join it? I think your tinfoil hat is keeping logic from getting into your brain.

  26. terry says: not saying chess is like backgammon.what i was saying is if you read is that once you had your move thats it.when i was playing the person or should i say idiot moved them back&forth which you can not do once you made your last sure as everyone else thats played ms backgammon that you carnt move again unless you have control of the game&how the game is going to be played,which means its microsoft them selfs that are manipulating the ashley.think before you type.or are you one of them control freaks.

    • Mark says:

      As I read it, she did address this. I also addressed it in my response, though not as thoroughly. What you are referring to is legal in backgammon. You can do it too. Go take your meds, then go back and re-read her response. Read it slowly, it’s got some multi-syllable words you might have trouble with. Get out your dictionary if you don’t understand.

      • terry says:

        was you chatting to me mark?iver never been able to move my last counter back&forth once put it where i want it.has anyone else apart from the love birds ashley&markie ever been able to move your last counter once its on the place you want it to be?we shall see mark wont we

  27. Guido says:

    Microsoft backgammon is a joke. It has aspects of predictability, so much so that at times I can actually predict what the next roll will be. For example, early in the game, it’s much more common to roll 5-4; 3-1, than later in the game. Try doubling the cube when bearing-off as that increases your chances of rolling doubles your next roll. I have tracked how many times I win the first roll, and it is consistently 20-21% of the time. How is that statistically possible? I win more ties than first rolls. It’s a joke.

  28. Mark says:

    Are people paying for MS backgammon now? I thought it came with Windows. Please don’t tell me you purchased Windows just for the backgammon game.

    • Mark says:

      That analogy doesn’t work for me. Tires are an essential component, I can’t drive without them. Windows works as it’s supposed to whether or not there’s a working backgammon game. I don’t think the presence, or lack thereof, of a backgammon game weighs into anyone’s decision to purchase Windows. My point was that I doubt anyone paid for a backgammon game when they bought Windows. They paid for an operating system. It happened to include a few games, but I doubt that very many Windows users would stop using it if it didn’t come with games.

      When did I claim you can play MS backgammon without Windows?

  29. terry says:

    here here dave.i agree with you&mark if you have xp or vista&wish to upgrade how do you with out purchesing windows7 or 8.only other way i can think of is as dave says pirate it.please inlighten me on it(so called one with wisdom)mark your a joke..think before replying

    • Mark says:

      Really Terry? You are asking me to think? Once you’ve developed the capacity for rational thought yourself, get back to me. I really hope that you’re still in school. Pay more attention in class, please.

  30. Mark says:

    It’s a fair point, the cost of the game is probably worked into the overall cost of the software somewhere, but I really doubt it’s a significant cost. I can say for certain that it had absolutely no impact on my decision to purchase Windows. I assume that’s true for most people, but I could be wrong.

    Maybe I’m in the minority, but I never upgrade Windows, at least not directly. The only time I get a newer version is if I buy a newer laptop, and I don’t have much say in the OS that’s installed. Desktops I usually build myself and I don’t typically use Windows for those.

    So for me, anyway, I don’t consider backgammon to have cost me anything, since I’d have paid the same for Windows without it. If it truly influenced your purchase decision, then I guess the cost is a reasonable complaint.

    • terry says:

      how comes you didnt reply when i was stating again to you that you carnt move your last counter back after put it where you want it.or are you going to go on again with my spelling mistakes.yes i do have a problem with spelling ect after my brain hemrige&scare after treatment.but hey im the bigger person&didnt think i would have to explain my self to the likes of you.but hey theres people out there like you that only thing in life is to try be little others when carnt answear the question

    • msbackgammonsucks says:

      I don’t use all the filters that come with Adobe Photoshop, but it doesn’t mean I’m not entitled to have them work well if I decide to use them. I didn’t buy the program for those filters, but I would want them to work well if I did use them.

      So, Yes. You pay for a program, in this case, an operating system that advertises several features you may or may not use. But you still paid for them and they should work when you decide to use them.

  31. Mark Jones says:

    Usually when I don’t have much to do at work, I multitask, by working and playing the game. So you’re not respond quickly in rolling dice or playing and that’s when I noticed something. Start a new game and don’t roll your dice for several seconds. Once you roll, if your roll is lower than your opponent’s, you will realize that the player is moving its pieces really fast compare to the rest of the game where there is time needed to use your mouse and move the pieces. I believe on the first roll, the program has already rolled for the other player before you have and before you have even clicked roll, the other player has gone through his moves. So I guess we can assume if the game rolls for you before you do, then it can be manipulated in other areas as well.

  32. John B Good says:

    Ashley is correct n the probabilities of dice.
    In terms of this forum, Ashley is uber correct in terms of people’s perception of their moves, i.e. they remember the bad ones much more than the good ones.

    Consider your games before you send any deeply stupid posts regarding how i don’t understand how you have been unlucky over 1 or more games.

    I already know that many will be deeply stupid and say I am naive, stupid etc to not believe you.
    No one has mentioned the game of IQ.
    I will play this game.
    Mine is 159.(1 in 100,000, but I know statistics and probability)
    Yours is probably much less. (much much much less)
    If you are stupid then yours is probably (modified) geometrically less – but you are too thick to understand this.
    You will consider your thick opinions, without any thought, to be valid.

    Several posters are not fit to wipe my ass. (anyone mentioning poliitcs to someone who disagrees with them – I would probably like to get in to Ashley’s knickers though)
    They should content themselves with licking my feet, but not all do.

    Given my vast intelligence I have decided the following

    People who quit are cunts, sometimes they justify being beaten and quitting by saying other people are cheating so it is OK for them to cheat.

    The dice are not fixed
    The dice are not fixed
    A high double against a computer player can cause a crash.

    I play on intermediate.
    I have a 85% win rate.


  33. Chris Cavanagh says:

    John B Good
    “When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.” – Socrates
    You are not a nice person so I very much doubt any of your claims.You could not be said to “be above the fray!” You are a common man.

    • John B Good says:

      Chris, I offered no slander. You are too stupid to realise this. Again no slander. I actually am quite nice but one of my faults would be arrogance but given it is is justified, I would trade it against deep stupidity any day.

      Somethings are debatable, facts are not.


  34. Hellen Baker says:

    Just read this entire ‘conversation’ so thought I’d throw in my 10 pence worth. I am not an expert in statistics or probability and I am on a good day an average Backgammon player. I am quite willing to believe that there are people who would cheat if they could. Is it impossible that some people are utilising a ‘super secret’ cheat code that they aren’t sharing with the whole internet and one that MS has not picked up on? It’s certainly possible after all Anonymous must do something on their ‘downtime’ maybe it’s Backgammon!
    I don’t think it’s anything to do with cheating by individual players though. I just think that the algorithm is none too subtle. The system reads your statistics and those of your opponents and decides what would be the most probable (sorry if that’s the incorrect mathematical term) outcome of 2 players with those particular skill levels. The often incredible combinations of the dice are down to the programme deciding that the lower rated person would not stand a chance against the higher rated player. I’ve both received and been on the receiving end of them and I find it really frustrating. I don’t expect to win every game, far from it. What I object to it doesn’t give player like me a chance to learn from mistakes because it’s so hard to get a consistent level of opponent. I’m either getting my rear end kicked or kicking someone elses rear end. I enjoy the games that land in the middle of these because it means that I am evenly matched. I lose the opportunity to learn from more experienced players though because I don’t get to see how they play with more ‘normal’ dice combinations to see how they handle them. I could play a world master and if I got 4 double sixes and 3 double 4’s (I’ve seen that more than once!) against their 2,1’s etc they’d struggle to beat me. Not because of any skill I possess but because it’s simply not possible to compete against those numbers.
    That’s my rather long winded take on it for what it’s worth!

    • John B Good says:


      of course there are people who would cheat if they could.

      It is not impossible that people are using a secret cheat code but very, very, very unlikely it would remain super secret. It is not going to happen.

      I play on intermediate and have 85%, if it were possible to cheat (not statstically calculated) and given that I do not cheat, I doubt I would have this percentage.

      There is no system!!!. There is a fairly simple random number generator. There is no this player is rated x and this player is rated y so adjust the dice this way, It would be far more complex to do and as well as being super bright, I am also a programmer.
      As a reality check, given that MS do not charge for it, where is the financial benefit in them fixing it.

      Many people who believe that MS fix the dice will also believe in crystals, aliens visiting earth, crop circles and that they are intelligent..

      Part of why I have such a high percentage is that a if a player loses the first game they disconnect and I play the computer and win. Another part is if they win the first game (through luck or better moves) then are losing (maybe after I feel I have an advantage and have doubled) they also disconnect, etc, etc, etc.

      If every player that disconnects against me, played the gamed out, I might only have a 65% rating.

      These are thick people such as “Dave”

      • Hellen Baker says:

        I have to disagree. I am not a total idiot I understand that statistically certain numbers are likely to turn up more than others, however if the numbers were truly ‘random’ then it would not be so easy to predict the patterns of dice that will be rolled. I don’t disconnect or abandon games when I’m on the receiving end of utterly improbable dice combinations. I don’t take it personally because I don’t believe the person I am playing is cheating. I merely entertain myself with seeing how accurately I can guess what number will be rolled next. I have a fairly good success rate with my predictions so either I am psychic or I have played enough games to recognise a pattern. Most of the time it’s as easy as seeing what number my opponent needs to land on the one available piece and more often than not they will get it. Of course that could be due to random luck however when it happens game after game at some point it ceases to be random and becomes a pattern, which makes it predictable. It’s the same with being blocked in, during a game were every roll of the dice is going against me it becomes fairly easy to predict what combination of dice my opponent needs to prevent me moving at all and then watching them being rolled! I can also see the same pattern when I am on a winning streak and I get exactly the numbers I need to ‘trap’ my opponent so I know it works both ways. As I know I am not doing anything to influence the dice I am fairly confident that my opponent isn’t either. I carry on playing (although nowhere near as much as I used to) for the few games I get when the numbers are random and I can play a game that I can win or lose based on my choice of moves.I can only really compare it to games I play in real life and I can say with absolute certainty that the dice combinations I see on MS Backgammon have never been replicated in any game I have played against a real life opponent. Yes I’ve seen lucky runs of doubles but they are the exception not the rule. I have never played anyone who has consistently rolled numerous doubles in consecutive games for long periods of time. I enjoy Backgammon and would like to improve my game, it’s my personal experience that MS Backgammon really isn’t the place for me to do that.

      • msbackgammonsucks says:

        John says “and as well as being super bright, I am also a programmer”

        Not to mention modest too.

      • Jimmy Kirk says:

        Come and play against me on expert level. You’ll tend to lose, because I’m an expert player and you aren’t. Then you might stop braying about scoring points from wins against the program. However, we would be playing within a programmed environment, built by other intermediate thinkers and doers such as yourself and as such, with human error and predisposition running through it.
        PS what ‘random number generator’?
        PPS ever heard of behavioural inducements that are NOT financial? For instance, I’m not being paid to reply to your post and show it/you up as ‘intermediate’ level.
        No money involved. Just a deep sense of satisfaction….

  35. Chris Cavanagh says:

    I think Hellen has spoken for me regarding her experience with what is being called “cheating” and it moves toward a resolution of what is meant by that.I too have found that I am either winning effortlessly or losing hideously one game after another.Mine run in about 30 game streaks.Both ways with a few games that feel real in between.This as a design doesn’t make sense to a player who plays regularly.But,fantastic wins and unbelievable losses may have more appeal to relative beginners.Also,while it becomes clear to some casual and intermediate players that something is wrong it also spawns,for a time anyway,a strong desire to either continue your good fortune or take back what you have so outrageously lost.What I am saying is the payoff for the developer is INCREASED PLAY.This is what Microsoft or Backgammon Live cares about and what every game developer measures success by.Nothing else matters.Here is the breakdown:
    If,like myself,you would choose a straight game that might cost a few cents you will find that difficult
    to come by.Backgammon Live and Microsoft Backgammon seem to share this “developers first rule” and it,apparently,works for them.Microsoft does not take peoples money.Backgammon Live does.This changes everything.

    • Maybe. But this implies that programmers who can’t be bothered fixing the bugs that corrupt the communications regularly, who can’t be bothered writing a proper AI opponent, who can’t be bothered cleaning up all the other problems that people complain about constantly, are spending a lot of time writing complicated and devious algorithms to assist poor players and handicap good ones. I would have thought that they’d try to attract more players by fixing the obvious problems first.

      • Rob says:

        The algorithms to shift the odds would not be all that complicated. A simple search for combinations to meet some objective (force a player to open up blots, keep player on bar, allow player off the bar, give numbers that permit jumping on an opponent’s blots) could be done in a couple of lines of code.

        It is notable that, on some throws, the dice flicker for a time – which makes it seem the software is waiting for something (the rendered dice repeatedly update and flicker for a number of seconds). There are many explanations for that, but one is drawing random values and discarding combinations that improve (or don’t improve) the odds for one player over another.

        Sometimes when there is smoke, there’s only smoke. Sometimes there is fire.

        Unless you can offer evidence (for example, make design documentation and source code for Microsoft backgammon available for expert independent scrutiny) it is impossible to make the case that the software is completely fair and unbiased. Similarly, it is impossible to prove that nobody has managed to implement a separate “cheat”. Both possibilities are technically feasible.

    • John B Good says:

      Helen, have you measured your “fairly good” guesses against randomness, If so, and they are significantly better, please give me your guesses on the next lottery.

      I am pleased to hear you do not disconnect when someone is beating you.

      Chris, given that BG is free, and BG has no advertising, please explain the pay-off to the developer or their company


      • msbackgammonsucks says:

        It’s a feature. The more features you include, the wider the audience. And john, as bright as you are with that 159 IQ that you advertise, Just know, I’ve been in sales and marketing for more than 30 years. Software Developers benefit by adding features to what they sell. The features are not free if you pay for the program they came with. I’m sorry you have trouble with this concept.

  36. Paul Medica says:

    I can see that these strings are short on real statisticians so I would suggest either speaking with the algorithm writer at MSFT who’s program outputs the die roll or you can find out what I did by running a statistical test on you .vs. your opponents die rolls over the course of many games (win or lose). With a sample size of say 20 games, the average gamer rolls the die 23 times for 230 sequential rolls. Random sampling tells you that the distribution of all these rolls should be normalized however you will find it is not. Use the simple “runs test” available as an app on the internet and you will see the deviation. The developer incorporates a “look back” feature in his algorithm and a patented “doubles” double when you decide to double the game point (when you are leading in the game). I came to the conclusion that there is some kind of multiplier or advance function IF your game winning statistic is not on par with your opponent. I do not play backgammon for lucre and the difference between gambling and investing is synonymous with negative and positive expectations.

    • John B Good says:

      You are a real statistician? A sample of 20 games? I rest my case. Imbecile

      • John B Good says:

        I am a software developer so when someone says “algorithm writer”, I think;

        thick as two short planks
        Paul Medica

        I realise that these are virtually synonymous but will attempt to be more imaginative later.
        Maybe I will write an algorithm.

      • John B Good says:

        normlized – do you mean a normal approx of the binomial?

  37. John B Good says:

    Just saying / observation.

    I have noticed that MS attempt to stop me from making any extra blocks anywhere, usually via masked gunmen but occasionally via dice which I consider unhelpful and sometimes even improbable. They are usually concerted in this effort but sometimes I make the blocks anyway..

    I have taken to wearing my (one layer) tinfoil hat, all the time, in an effort to combat this, but with mixed results (damn you probability).

  38. Dave's not here man says:

    I once had an opponent that would move pieces backwards. Not to correct a previous first move, but the initial move right after the dice roll. Tell me that’s not hacked.

  39. Rob says:

    It is unquestionable that people CAN cheat, although not necessarily with rolling. I have encountered dozens of times when people don’t make a move for 2 minutes and I try to nudge them out. 30 seconds expire, but the player doesn’t get kicked out. Most often, the player does that at the beginning of the game. That’s cheating.

    • John B Good says:

      Yes, I have seen this a couple of times as well.

      I do not think this is cheating, as in both instances I won the match (neither opponent eventually quit, which is a far better outcome than playing games without this happening)

      So I would say it is questionable.

      For example, one time the opponent didn’t play, I nudged, 5-10 minutes later they moved and the tray icon flashed and we completed the match. I think this is a glitch in the programming, I guess MS use a peer to peer protocol for BG but not my area so no idea how this happens. I’ve played about 1000 games and seen this twice.

  40. Bob Z. says:

    I think the computer is actually rigging the dice rolls attempting to even up the match. It’s bad enough that I don’t have the ability to double on certain games, there are some legitimate moves on the home board that the game simply won’t allow, synchronization errors during rolling can cause the game to abort, doubling while bearing off on the final game of the match can crash the game, etc. but I’ve lost a lot of games to players with incredibly short-sighted strategies and unbelievably lucky rolls. I’m currently winning matches by throwing away the first 2 or 3 points of the match just to get the computer to start rolling in my favour.

    • You aren’t allowed to double on certain games because of the “Crawford Rule”. This rule states that if you are about to lose a match by one point, you are prohibited from doubling for one game. The logic is that, at that point, you would always double automatically because doubling can’t cost you any more and might give you the match if you get lucky. That would be unfair to your opponent. This is a standard rule in all backgammon matches. It’s not a bug. Microsoft programmed it correctly.

    • John B Good says:

      Bob, are you saying you have not been allowed to double when you should have been allowed to or that you were not aware of the Crawford rule?

      • Bob Z. says:

        I’m saying that in addition to not being able to double on 4, i.e. the Crawford Rule, it seems that sometimes there are other situations where I can’t double.

  41. terry says:

    To all the cheats that play MS Backgammon that may read this.If you find a player that puts not again,nice roll it will be me.So if you pause to role dice i may play up to last counter&go,winning or not.reason is because i dont see the point in playing you if you need help.

    • Gezza says:

      out of the many tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands that play MS BG, do you think there is someone that is going to play you repeatedly and recognise this pattern!


    • Tom C says:

      After reading all these messages concerning cheating, analyzed all the so-called data, my educated conclusion is that “terry is a freaking idiot.

  42. terry says:

    ive waited over 2min for someone to roll dice although pushed nudge.also how comes im allways having to throw the dice first.before you start the game hit your turn msg.they will come back saying that is another reason i say its not another player like you&i we play,but someone to do with MS.

  43. terry says:

    Im starting to think your mark.who also trys to belittle others.or his idiot relative.or the post modern women
    Dont try to be little me with a some what smart reply.your not that good at it.
    also you should go to fat fighters to..
    Every comment i have made is what ive come across when trying to play a fair game of BG.
    I first thought it was software you can get.
    If its not software to cheat,then it only leaves one other thing.

  44. Gezza says:

    I sort of agree but can you give a sensible reply?

    • Joe says:

      The dice are not random in the sense that they reflect what might happen in a manual game. The dice may in fact be controlled, but by the program of the RNG (which I don’t know about although “Random” seems a misnomer)n or the state of the game. I think the RNG might have certain parameters that force it into certain results. eg it may require a certain number of doubles per number of rolls and if this does not occur, it “catches up”.
      Again the big problem is the curmudgeons that play. I wish people had to identify by a handle and display stats, especially games quit, and that one could choose one’s opponents.

      • msbackgammonsucks says:

        “I think the RNG might have certain parameters that force it into certain results. eg it may require a certain number of doubles per number of rolls and if this does not occur, it “catches up””


  45. Ben says:

    The people complaining of cheating are the disconnecters – They realise that disconnecting when losing is not admirable behaviour, and they hate people who do it. But they just can’t bear losing, so they come up with the story of manipulated dice to justify in their fevered minds why they disconnect. Simples – The conspiracy theorists here are the disconnectors.

  46. Robert Morris says:


    I understand basic and advanced probability theory. However, through multiple Monte Carlo simulations, I have replayed not selected games, but all the games I’ve played for a week. The probability, for example, of a player rolling double sixes five times in a row as the second roll after winning the first rolls with a 6-1 five times in the row is, well, you do the math – I already have.
    Watching this occur on the average of once every eight instances – please explain how this is not only possible, but describe a situation where this is likely to occur.

    And of course, if malware isn’t available via Google it doesn’t exist, correct? Please google advanced persistent threat and/or Stuxnet and/or project aurora to read about counter examples. Alternatively, investigate google censoring, a common topic. Also google logical fallacy. This particular one – proving a negative – usually is in the top 5.

  47. Ben says:

    some people here are either trolling, or mad

  48. Rob says:

    Is it possible to cheat in Microsoft Internet backgammon? Definitely, even though I do not know how, and I have not tried to find out.

    How do I conclude this? I just played a game in which I had just jumped an opponents stone. I had no blots on the board. The opponent threw his dice, and got a 1 and a 5. I then watched as one of my stones was dragged backward from point #6 to point #5, so suddenly I had two blots in my home table. His piece from the bar then jumped the #5 stone followed by the #6 stone. In a single move, I went from a position with all pieces covered on the board and no blots, to two pieces on the bar.

    I do consider that the dice throws are often unfair. Whether that is cheating or not I don’t know, but I have seen situations where I have got the short end of the stick and others where my opponent has. A classic, from about a week ago., was when I had one piece on the bar, and my opponent had positions 1, 3, and six closed on his home table. For seven moves, I threw double 3’s, double 6’s, 3/6 pairs, while my opponent came from a position about 50 pips behind, and eventually won the game (almost gammoned me). Given that, assuming fair dice, I had a 50% chance of throwing a 2,4, or a 5 for each die, the probability of the events I saw is less than 0.8 percent.

    I’ve also lost count of the number of times that I see a situation where, for an opponent to get ahead, a particular low-probability combination of numbers is required. An example is when my home base is covered at all positions except #4, I have a blot at position #9, and my opponent has a single piece on the bar. It is disturbingly predictable that, if my opponent is behind, that his next throw will be a 4 and a 5, to both return to the board and jump on my vulnerable piece. The probability of getting exactly a 4-5 pair is 1/18 (i.e. 4-5 or 5-4), if the dice are fair. From observation of actual games with Internet Backgammon, I would estimate the actual odds of a 4-5 pair in the situation I describe is closer to 1/3.

    I don’t consider the second situation is necessarily cheating by other players. I suspect the software itself adjusts the odds to make things more “exciting” (usually by doing things to favour a player who is behind). The net effect, in a lot of games, is that one player gets a considerable run some terrific throws, and then the other player does – it becomes a roller-coaster. I’ve played Backgammon in real games (with people throwing dice and physically moving pips on a board) and such roller-coaster games happen, but are relatively uncommon. They are VERY common with Internet Backgammon in my experience.

    The game also has features that take away from enjoyment.

    If a player is doing well (through good play or not) the other player often drops out, and the computer takes over. I suggest it would be better if that is done as in normal backgammon – i.e. the quitting player resigns and loses score, and the remaining player wins the point or match. At the least, the remaining player should be given a choice about whether to accept a computer as a substitute.

    Another tactic I have seen players using is to just drag things out. At some point, they wait to be nudged, and do it repeatedly. I assume their goal is to frustrate their opponent enough to accept a loss, so they can play on against the computer. I suggest that, if a player has to be nudged more than once (maybe twice) that they be deemed to have resigned from the game.

    Another trick some players use is to move one piece, move it back … several times. That looks like taunting. Now, okay, we all occasionally start a move, just to move the pip back. But I suggest a limit on doing that needs to be automatically enforced.

    Lastly, if the software is going to supply a computer player, at least have a computer player that is reasonably strong (or allow the user to select whether they play against a strong or a weak player).

    • Ben says:

      You, sir, are quite insane. I can’t even bring myself to explain the flaws in your argument but they are many. Relax, try not to think too hard about a free game which has no consequences of either winning or losing.

  49. TJ says:

    I’ve played MS I-net Backgammon for many years. There ARE ways of manipulating YOUR roll outcome, but not your opponents. I did it many years ago, just to try it out. The author is wrong, and apparently not very knowledgeable regarding software (I own a software company, and employ many). It can be done – but I remember it wasn’t easy or for the newbie. Nor was it worth the while – even choosing your rolls, you still MUST know how to utilize those rolls to your advantage. That requires at least some expertise in Backgammon itself. And those who pride themselves as true experts aren’t interested in cheating. They play it for the love and fun of the game.

    So, WHY does it seem like some cheat? Without getting overly complicated here, MS’s random die generator is one of the worst software contraptions around. I myself have rolled many doubles in a row, without cheating. Disgusted, I actually quit the game, which I’m sure puzzled my opponent. Yet I knew full well those were not true random rolls. The odds of two die rolling a particular combination is 1:125. The odds of rolling two particular combinations is considerably higher. But poorly coded random number generators and predetermined outcomes have more to do with it than cheating.

    What is REALLY annoying is when someone comes off like they’re “hot” at the game, when, IN FACT, when there is no cheating involved, it’s still “luck” or predetermination. If you play Backgammon using REGISTERED casino dice, you’ll find that the rolls are purely luck. (Unregistered “rounded-edge” die are not weighted properly, and have a tendency to turn up certain rolls more often than others.)

    Hope that answers some questions.

    • I’m sure that “1:125” is just a typo. As the table included in this post shows, there are 36 possible combinations of two dice. Any particular combination (e.g., 1 and 2) occurs twice on this table, (once as 1,2 and once as 2,1). Therefore, the odds of any combination is 2:36 or 1:18. Except doubles. Doubles occur only once on the table, therefore the odds of a particular double is 1:36.
      And, by the way, I have written software commercially. I wrote the initial product for a software startup that is still in business and still growing. In this project, I designed my own proprietary server-side scripting language (this was before PHP was as available as today) and implemented it with an interpreter written in ANSI C. As well, I have taught probability and statistics at the university level. And I am an author on a handful of papers about statistics.

    • msbackgammonsucks says:

      TJ, You say “I own a software company, and employ many” and “MS’s random die generator is one of the worst software contraptions around”

      So what Software “Contraptions” does your company develop? I mean, I realize that “software contraptions” is real live industry-speak whenever software experts get together, so I’m just asking.

  50. TJ says:

    I don’t. I understand their disgust and thinking I’m cheating. I would think like them in some of those instances – and have dropped out of games because it was ME who was getting all the doubles… rolls that I know for a fact are not “natural” rolls. Be a bit more forgiving – sometimes to the other person it may well look like your cheating, even though you’re not. It’s part of “online” gaming life.

  51. Ben says:

    Playing a ‘believer’ now. Rather than bring his runners through, he chose to take me on his 3 spot. When I rolled a three (not that unlikely) he said ‘it was luck’ then ‘no’ ‘no’ ‘no’. Then he stopped playing. I smiled and said no, good luck, just to try and hurry his heart attack along

  52. guy says:

    I played Backgammon years and years… True game with true dices and somebody real in front of you… Turnament, etc…
    The only way to know if somebody is cheating rolling dices or if dices have a real problem is to add each dice for each camp long enough (until 1000 rolls if you want to be sure). We are entering in the statistic world.. If you can say that at the end the two additions are very far from each other, you can say that somebody is cheating… in the same time, if it appears that there is more high doubles on the same side, you can confirm that there is a real problem.
    It’s, exactly what it happens with Microsoft. We are several players, not too bad players, who did this counting. No way, Microsoft Backgammon is a fake where a soft, or real Microsoft players are cheating dices… We can say that cheating could be done in a more intelligent way, But it’s so evident after several games that you can say : that guys are not very intelligent. Or people who programmed the softwre where unable to program a good generator of dice… I cannot believe that it’s possible for the main software company in the world… ..
    On true real game, people who cheat try to make that the difference will be so small that you are never sure of the fact.
    Here, it’s easy to be sure : Count and count, you will see. Sure 100%.
    So we decided to let (sheet) Microsoft one more time … Not good for their image…

  53. Eatgammon says:

    People do cheat and I can prove it because I have the program that does it.
    Ever notice on the opening roll that three pieces get moved instead of two?
    Ever have all your spots blocked except one and have four or more of your opponents pieces off the board? You are wiping the opponents ass and suddenly they get every perfect roll possible.
    If you don’t think people are using cheats then not only will you get your ass whipped; you are an Asswipe !

    • guy says:

      You are honnest to tell us that you have the program which do it… You manage the best answer to the dices with this program. But you cannot manage yourself the dices ???? So, the dices are managed by microsoft software… And it’s not the same… It’s the Microsoft cheating which is the subject… It’s different.

  54. Albert says:

    Unbelievable games on microsoft backgammon.
    I’d like to think that nobody cheats but after loosing several games against odd doubles (70-80% of doubles per game) i must admit that maybe is possible that someone has some software for the dices.
    But this is only a suspect.
    The real sad thing is how many peaople leave the game when loosing……why do poeple play if they can’t stand loosing?’ are there so many people so sordid, world wide, not able to finish and loose a game like :”backgammon on line”??????

    • The real cheating is to abandon games if you get a few unlucky rolls and only play to the end when the dice favor you. But people who do that ultimately cheat themselves because they never learn how to play when they’re behind and never realize that you can often win those games with clever strategies. In fact, those people only scam themselves into thinking that they’re playing better than they are because they only see themselves either winning or getting “unlucky”.
      The other curious trend that I see in these comments is people who compare playing in the real world to playing online. They are convinced that the dice are against them when they play online, but not in the real world. In fact, what I suspect is really happening is that they are playing against much better players online than when they’re playing against their friends in the real world. The better players online have strategies to maximize their odds and appear to get the rolls that they want whereas their friends in the real world aren’t as good at positioning themselves to take the best advantage of the most probable rolls.

      • Rob says:

        Well …. there is the factor that – if you can see someone physically rolling the dice in a cup, you can feel more confident they’re not cheating. Whereas there is no cue that one can really use to reassure oneself that numbers appearing on a computer screen are not rigged.

        Without that reassurance, I can understand that people who don’t understand strategy and statistics of backgammon might believe a good player is cheating.

        However, I am familiar with strategies of backgammon, and am a mathematician.

        In a previous post, I discussed the basis for my belief that cheating does occur, and that the odds are adjusted in some circumstances. If you have difficulty with the logic of that post, I would welcome your correction.

      • guy says:

        I totally agree with you… I am also working like a “small” mathematician… And I think that I have a good understanding of statistics (it’s my job). There is too much identical schedule to say that the Microsoft Backgammon game is genuine…
        We can make a list of special occurences which are allways coming after type of dices..
        Thank you to say the truth….

      • msbackgammonsucks says:

        We agree here Ashley. I would much prefer to come back and win against the odds than win it throughout the game. The satisfaction of a comeback is worth the effort.

      • Tom C says:

        The true difference between good players and poor players is that the good players will win games they should have lost, Poor management of the doubler, hitting too many blots and lack of patience when forced to play a backgame. Stop playing single games and play matches of 5,7,or 11. Nothing is more fun than a winning a backgame because your opponent kept hitting for no reason and gave you the tools and time to get lucky. I believe I have been called a cheater every time a backgame is successful.

      • Jimmy Kirk says:

        Ashley, again I totally agree. All attempts at playing ‘real world’ dice are flawed and prone to repeatedly thowing up some combinations more than others.

        Please see

        Ashley, yours is the first blog I’ve seen that intelligently addresses these much talked about issues. I’ve searched for one for a long time. Thanks.

    • Dave Shmave says:

      It’s easy when you have the program, which I know exists cos I use it!

  55. Dan says:

    I don’t think there is a way to cheat with the dice, but I do think the program does not generate straight “random” rolls. It tends to favour one player over another, or to generate the “perfect” roll in a bad situation for one player.

    But there is another way to cheat – I think there is a glitch in the nudge function. I have seen lots of opponents, after being nudged, change their chat status and send a message, and then the program seems to interpret this as a move. Then the opponent waits me out until I get frustrated and leave. But really – is the computer opponent in this game really that interesting to play, that people want to shoo away real opponents??

    • Rob says:

      The computer player is easy to beat and some people care only about accruing wins, not about the skills needed to win.

      You see that in all sorts of games, not just computer based or online games.

      • John B Good says:

        Rob as a Mathematician could you explain the difference between winning and acquiring the skills to win? Are you a good Mathematician? Can you see the essential dumbness of your comment?
        If someone ends up playing the computer player then it is often the case that they have outplayed a human player. Perhaps you have no appreciation of statistics.

    • msbackgammonsucks says:

      The nudge thing is just a glitch.

  56. sophie says:

    do any of you guys work for living…seriously!
    i love backgammon…but come onQ

  57. Rob says:

    Another example of cheating that I encountered a few minutes ago.

    Opponent threw a 2 and a 4. However, moved one piece 2 and another piece 6 places. I continued to see what would happen. Opponent immediately doubled, despite being about 40 points down.

  58. Seguila Mamando says:

    People If someone could manipulate the game, what would be the fun of playing, knowing he’s going to cheat. It’s nonsense.

    • Rob says:

      That is sort of the point of people complaining about cheating. It is also the reason some people, including myself, have kept playing – in order to observe and identify cases of outright cheating and probable bias.

      If people don’t raise the concerns, they don’t get addressed. And Microsoft, in their forums, seems disinclined to address the problem.

  59. Mr. says:

    There is unquestionably a way of cheating on backgammon. I’ve had a few dozen times when the opponent doesn’t play for 2 minutes. I try to nudge them, but they don’t get expelled. I find that more than half the time, the opponent does that on his first roll. This means there’s a way of cheating to resist nudges. It’s just unclear whether the cheating extends to ways to manipulate rolling. Just because you can’t find the program with Google though, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. You hear news stories of things like teens hacking into bank databases. People might write their own methods to manipulate rolls. I agree though that at least the vast majority of what people think is cheating is occurring out of random chance.

    • I have the impression that the nudge feature doesn’t work on the first turn. I assume that’s just more sloppy programming from Microsoft.

    • Don C. says:

      I can state that I have had more than30 times out of 1701 game where I have nudged and after several minutes, my opponent had not been remove from the game. At this very moment, I am in a match where that occurred….He, after ten minutes, made a move and now, with the cube at 2 and I have 3 points. He is behind a 6 point prime and also behind by 42 pips…I am a big favorite but I don’t want to hit the nudge button again.

  60. Joe says:

    1. I think the game looks and feels great. Occasionally there is a glitch, usually at the start of a game, where an extra pip moves and the game will usually abort because of it when that pip is involved in a move.
    2. I have played a lot of games and it does not seem to me that there are players who “cheat”.
    3. It does seem obvious also that the rolls are different from what you would get in a “manual” game. The frequency and timing of doubles seems out of whack and streaks of both good and bad luck seem evident. In any case these streaks or rolls will even out for all players and may be because of the RNGs although I am not really an expert on that.
    4. The biggest problem with the game is the people who play it and their bad behavior because of anonymity. Quitters and stallers abound. Many “experts” really are not. many are trying to manipulate the game by the timing of doubles, etc. General behavior is statement on human nature and it is not complimentary.
    5. The game could be improved by more realistic rolls (if possible) and by player names and stats. With names and stats one could see things like games exited so one could avoid such players. One could even play with “friends’ . . . people who just want a good game played well.

    • msbackgammonsucks says:

      It could also be improved with a rating system and with options. It used to have the option of playing 1, 3 or 5 Games. We don’t all have time to play 5 games. So even if I win the “game” I intended to play, I lose because I didn’t play a tournament.

      • msbackgammonsucks says:

        Oh, 1 more really cool option would be a 5 minute delay before you can play again if you quit early.

  61. Joe says:

    The dice are not random in the sense that they reflect what might happen in a manual game. The dice may in fact be controlled, but by the program of the RNG (which I don’t know about although “Random” seems a misnomer)n or the state of the game. I think the RNG might have certain parameters that force it into certain results. eg it may require a certain number of doubles per number of rolls and if this does not occur, it “catches up”.
    Again the big problem is the curmudgeons that play. I wish people had to identify by a handle and display stats, especially games quit, and that one could choose one’s opponents.

    • John B Good says:

      Joe, please could you explain how you know the dice are not random given that they are controlled by a process that you admit you know nothing about?

      Could you also explain confirmation bias to me?

      I would definitely like to see, a quit statistic and more importantly be able to be granted an automatic win against quitters rather than playing the game out.

      • Joe says:

        It is not a matter of knowing but just simply an opinion based on playing many games of both manual dice rolls and the computer generated ones.
        I did not mention confirmation bias, . . . probably has to do with a bias towards evidence that supports a particular opinion and a tendency to ignore evidence that does not.

        Yes playing the game out is pointless.

      • msbackgammonsucks says:

        We agree here. I wish quitters had a delay before they got to play again.

  62. Gary says:

    I may well be guilty of quitting a few games. Just now I tried playing about five matches. According to the comments above, I must be a terrible player. The other player doubled the challenge on his second roll. His strategy was to leave his home wide open and try to get the furthest away home first. Another strategy he took was to opt to secure the further piece and open one closer to his home. Interesting… so I took an opening chance to secure 4 of my home positions. He only had one move to get out. He had to get either a 1-6 or 2-5 to get out. He took a long time to roll, but it was what he needed to reach my only open piece. I had no trouble rolling out though, because his home was wide open – only 6 position covered. I believe I got a 5-1… so moved accordingly. He doubled, closing two home positions and taking me off. I got a 1-2. He doubled. I got a 1-2. He doubled. I got a 1-2. He then continued to roll beautiful rolls while I was unable to move and took that round with 2 points. I figured, the next game he won’t be so lucky. But he was! Did almost the exact same thing. And again on the final game. He plays by luck, not by smarts… but luck wins out.

    I don’t think there is a cheat for rolls out there. I am pretty computer savvy, and I have looked for one. Didn’t find it, even though I have found lots of promises that it is available. But I do believe that something else is up. I played 5 players tonight, and won none of the matches. When the last two started playing with the same constant doubles and perfect rolls, I just walked away from the last two games. I admit I can learn a lot. But I have played a lot of good players with no trouble keeping up to the best of them when playing with a real board and real dice.

    One thing that is true about perfect rolls. I know that once a player has his pieces set up well, there is almost no roll that won’t work for him. I have done this many times, and the other players usually don’t like it. It is wise playing, not perfect rolling. So when I speak of players being lucky to get perfect rolls over and over, I mean that they only have one possible roll that will help them, such as a rare 1-2 or 5-6, and that is exactly what they rolled, consistently.

    Oh, two other things I have noticed. The players I cannot win against always play around the same time of day. If I want to be more successful at winning, I simply choose a different time, and the lack of luck seems to disappear. Am I suddenly smarter? And secondly, I have noticed that the ones who are usually getting the perfect rolls over and over, will not respond on a chat. “Nice roll,” I say. Silence.

    If you are not cheating, and someone like myself says “Nice roll. How about that?” Then please respond, “It was luck.” I know that your play isn’t luck. But I don’t always know that your dice weren’t.

    • Hellen Baker says:

      I think you explained my experience far better than I did! It’s the ‘perfect rolls’ that make it so frustrating. I am an about average player and I would love to learn to be better. I’ve actually picked up a few tips from this thread that have helped me improve. The problem with MS Backgammon is if (like me) you are looking not just to play but to improve your game it is very difficult. I can spot my glaring mistakes when I’ve not been paying attention but it’s hard to know if a move is a calculated risk that is worth taking or if it’s a ‘rookie’ mistake if your opponent consistently rolls the one combination of dice that will ensure they win. I’m not paranoid! I can understand that even with a real world opponent sitting opposite you the law of averages means that sometimes they will get exactly what they need. I also understand when I am playing someone who is far better at the game than I am they can move their pips into certain places that makes it easier to utilise any roll of the dice to their advantage. So it’s not that I automatically assume the computer is against me or that the other player is cheating I would just like a more ‘even playing field’ in order to learn. I played a game the other day and the only dice combination that would prevent me from rejoining the game was a 1-2 as they were the only 2 spots blocked. I rolled 1-2 four times in a row while my opponent rolled 3 doubles, unsurprisingly I lost! Of course that could be entirely down to luck I understand that but as the other games had similar, if not as dramatic, dice combinations it seems more of a predetermined pattern than the ‘luck of the dice’ Of course I have also rolled similar combinations ensuring a storming victory but they don’t help me learn as anyone rolling them would win no matter what their skill level.

    • Joe says:

      Chat is generally a waste of time and often used to annoy. After a good game players who are skilled and polite will sometimes compliment each other with a “good game” . . . other than that it is pretty useless.
      So don’t feel put off if someone does not respond by stating the obvious from a list.

  63. Dave Shmave says:

    Well, I fund a cheat program, so I know it works. It’s brilliant, and has completely raised my average. What I usually do is to play normally (I’m a very good player, so I often don’t need the cheat), then whenever I get in a tight spot, bingo! Perfect roll! Most people don’t even seem to get suspicious. I can select my own dice (the readme instrucions said that I will be able to choose the opponent’s roll, but it doesn’t seem to work).
    I can set up the dice while my opponent is moving, so it doesn’t even need to be a big delay. I’m not going to tell you where I found it, cos I don’t want too many people having it or there’d be no point playing. It’s great fun!

    • Sure. Pull my other leg. Unless you can tell us where to find this magical program, we’re pretty much going to assume that you’re just trolling us in hopes of making us feel bad.

      • Dave Shmave says:

        Well, you believe what you like. Plenty of people here know the truth, as it’s obvious to them when they keep losing games of backgammon in this way. When you have this many people, all of them highly skilled players of the game, who lose out to unfair dice rolls, they are bound to notice.
        You also have comments here from those who are very nearly professional statisticians, who give persuasive evidence that it is statistically impossible for them to lose at backgammon. How can you possibly deny their testimony?
        There is an entire black industry out there, dedicated to enabling people like me to win this important game unfairly. I suppose we’re just lucky that Microsoft internet backgammon has no monetary reward, or even the prestige of an online ranking system.
        As I see that another poster has exposed you as being a Microsoft stooge, I’m not sure that your opinion carries any weight, Ashley, as much as I enjoy your blog.
        Wake up sheeple!

      • John B Good says:

        I have always been an extreme skeptic about backgammon cheating but have just played a game where half way through, a few throws from baring off, my opponent had 4 d6s and 1d4. I find this outrageous and it is obviously cheating. I have no proof, or even any evidence, but I just know it was Dave Shmave and his evil cheating program. As a non-cheating software developer, I would like to let everyone who is honest, know that I have his IP address, will soon has his physical address , and shortly after that Dave will never cheat again.


      • Dave Shmave says:

        Aaaarrrgggghhh! It’s the internet police!

    • msbackgammonsucks says:

      I love this statement Dave, “I’m a very good player, so I often don’t need the cheat”

      Good players never feel the need to cheat. If you use the fantasy program you say you have, then you are not a good player. If you were, you would not have downloaded the program in the first place.

  64. #6 says:

    Nobody ever said you can find a program to cheat on the windows 7 version of online backgammon.
    I happen to agree that cheating is not only occurring, but that people like Ashley at Microsoft don’t know when they’ve been robbed, or are spouting off the corporate line lawyers are telling her to state.
    It’s like this, we don’t live in the democracy we think we do anymore. We live in a world of fascism. What the directorate states is fact and history, weather its’ true or not. Like JFK, Gulf of Tonkin incident,9/11, Boston Marathon Bombing and Sandy Hook all were lies as much as this simple lowly game program is.

    • John B Good says:

      #6 you forgot to mention the Titanic or the faked moon landings, or to recommend tin foil hats, shame on you!

      • Joe says:

        . . . and that whole round earth BS

      • Rev says:

        I really wished to reply to a previous comment by “John B Good”, but the reply link has vanished…which doesn’t surprise me, seeing as how this man/woman/it is a troll, and probably bitched at the publishers of this site to stop the harrassment of (him/her/it) this idiot.

        “John B Good” can threaten people who disagree with him all day long, from the comfort of his Mom’s basement…

        Must be nice to rule a kingdom of one…

    • msbackgammonsucks says:

      Who let a republican in here?

  65. Dave Shmave says:

    What we need is someone who can expose the lies at the heart of Microsoft backgammon. Where are the likes of Woodward and Bernstein when the very fabric of our society and all we hold dear is threatened by the corrupt cancer of a software company which refuses to address it’s dice rolling security issues? I wouldn’t be surprised if this goes right to the top, to the master criminal himself….Bill Gates!

  66. Alan Sails says:

    When will MS clean up its Backgammon game?

    For at least 2 or 3 years now, a number of Backgammon players have commented on how your Backgammon game is plagued with questionable outcomes.

    First, the dice are not random.

    Second, when the computer plays, it plays like a 5 yr old hitting every open checker regardless of the risk of getting hit back because of not covering & inevitable losing to good players.

    Third, the program interferes whenever a poor player makes mistakes & instead of correcting or teaching or giving the player the opportunity to learn from mistakes, the program starts giving the poor player multiple doubles on the dice, thereby, enabling a poor player to beat a master player who does not get any doubles for most of the turns.

    Fourth, the games almost always end in very close results again because the program is definitely interfering and giving one side or the other a multiple set of good rolls of the dice while giving the other side all bad rolls of the dice.

    So, while the game has the best graphics of all the Backgammon games out there on the Net, it remains frustrating to good to master players to play because it is not random dice and there is interference trying to control the game & cause close results or biased results enabling poor players to win even when they make obviously stupid moves but are rewarded with multiple doubles (and I mean 5 to 10 doubles) enabling them to win when they dont even know what they are doing.

    Is this MS’s goal? Or did the programmers just not understand Backgammon tactics & strategies thereby programming interferences and making the play with the computer actually stupid & amateurish?

    So, when is MS going to clean up its otherwise great graphics game of Backgammon?

    Alan Sails

    • Dave Shmave says:

      That’s the rumour, Alan. Apparently when they were deciding on the spec for the free backgammon add on, they decided they wanted a game which would frustrate good to excellent players, like yourself. So they got their best programmers on the case, and created a backgammon program so sophisticated that it could judge the quality of the players’ game, decide what dice would be best for them, and produce them on demand, also adjusting the stronger player’s dice, just to perfectly even up the game. They unfortunately forgot to allow the computer game to benfit from this outstanding backgammon program, who knows why?!

  67. Dave Shmave says:

    Who’s that?

  68. Zebediah says:

    I have played literally thousands of games of Microsoft’s Internet Backgammon. Although the occurrences of “getting just the roll you need” (by myself or my opponent) seems to happen much more than when playing on a real board, I have no way to know or prove that it happens outside of statistical norms.

    What I can say just happened 100% for sure is that I was just able to move my men backwards (and only backwards) for one roll. It wasn’t my first game of the day, so everything was working fine. Then suddenly I could only move backwards. My next roll I could only move forwards. I was running the standard Microsoft Internet Backgammon.

    • Jim Walton says:

      Zebediah wrote…”I have played literally thousands of games of Microsoft’s Internet Backgammon. Although the occurrences of “getting just the roll you need” (by myself or my opponent) seems to happen much more than when playing on a real board, I have no way to know or prove that it happens outside of statistical norms.”

      Your statement just said you know it happens outside of statistical norms. How do you rule out the “it seems to happen much more” unless it is bad programming?

      I’m a pretty good player, been playing for decades. I just finished playing for almost 2 straight days, and had my a$$ handed to me 90% of the time, with my opponents getting multiple rolls, 3 and 4 in a row, every single game. Wake up and smell the coffee, the computer game is screwed.

  69. Don C. says:

    Players offer doubles for numerous reasons other than the idea that they may have a better game or be ahead in the pip count. Some may be that they want to get the game over faster or they want to intimidate their opponent or perhaps they want immediate revenge for losing a previous game, either in a match with another player or in the game they are currently playing. And sometimes player offer the cube mistakenly, by clicking on the incorrect icon or after having inaccurately assessed the probability of winning the game and/or match. Occasionally a player may be behind in the game, holding the cube, and by passing the cube, even in a poorer position, put themselves in the position of winning the match by making it possible (but unlikely) to reach the points necessary.

  70. Don C. says:

    My only concern re MS BG is that on occasion, I click on the nudge icon and 30 seconds and more pass and nothing happens. The position remains the same and nothing can be done to change it. Strange thoughts begin to occur to me such as “could my opponent have some influence or power to effect such an outcome?” Please, someone, disabuse me of this notion. Thanks.

  71. Joe says:

    has never happened to me but I suppose that sometimes the game just freezes

  72. David says:

    Interesting comments. I wouldn’t waste sufficient time to determine wheteher the program rolls the dice according to the odds, as you would need millions of throws to get an idea if there is an error. What I find annoying, happened in the one game. I had three men on the 17th line and ther were no men on the 2 line (for either side), I also had three men on the 18th line and neither side had men on the 24th line. I threw a double 5 and tried to move the men on the 17th line. The gane insisted I move the men on the 18th line first and then allowed me to move from the 17th line. In the same match, the opponent trailing me 4 to 1 was allowed to double, yet when I have been in the same position I am not allowed to double.
    I have noticed the first point several times in games, where the first dice must be moved first (a slight variation on the case above, but similar principle.

    • A likely explanation for the doubling oddity where your opponent was allowed to double when he was 4 to 1 behind. A player can be prohibited from doubling only once in a match. When your opponent was trailing 4 to 0, he was not allowed to double. He won. The match continued, but now he couldn’t be prohibited from doubling again so he did. Trailing 4 to 1, it was the obvious thing for him to do because he had nothing to lose. In the other match you describe, you were also trailing 4 to 1, but if you got there from 3 to 1, you had not yet been prohibited from doubling in that match. So you were.

  73. Gary says:

    This is perhaps in the wrong thread, because it isn’t about cheating… but relates to opponents leaving because they perhaps think someone else is cheating.

    I find it interesting that there is one strategy that is used most often against me. About 90% of my opponents use it. The problem is though, that this strategy only works if the other person gets lucky. In part it consists of leaving home wide open while bringing the end players home. If you get the right rolls.. awesome… good for you. But I dare you to do it again! 🙂 Oops it didn’t work for you this time. Oops, he left!

    I learned something a long time ago. If your strategy isn’t consistently working for you.. then maybe its because its a bad one. Change it. Learn something. Don’t just leave! Perhaps the player you are working against is actually smarter than you are… and just maybe he or she can teach you something if you stay long enough to lose.

    Oh, by the way, sometimes the dice don’t allow you to use the strategy you want. I get that. But I want to give a high five to those other 10%, who quietly stay and finish all their rounds whether you win or not. Thank-you! I have learned something from you.

  74. JOE says:

    So many quitters . . . one thing I have noticed that almost all of those who double their first chance are quitters if they fall behind. T just leave now if someone just doubles right away for no obvious reason. I think they may not want to play the legitimate “double” game and want to take it out of the game. . . as many who will accept just about any double do. Fine, but they are all quitters once things go against them.

    • msbackgammonsucks says:

      There are reasons I’ll quit. If you take a long time to roll the dice, I’m gone. There is no thinking to do before rolling the dice, so no one needs time to think about it before rolling. If you delay your roll, it can only be a couple of reasons.

      1. You’re doing something else besides playing the game and you expect me to wait for you, which wastes my time. I don’t let people waste my time.

      2. You think you can manipulate the die roll by delaying. It doesn’t matter whether you can or not. The fact you are trying to manipulate the roll means you want to cheat. I don’t want to play someone who tries to cheat whether successful or not.

      So, if you take too long to roll. I quit.

  75. Hey you says:

    Fact … after playing 100 games, opponent rolled on average 32 more points per game than I did. Fact … after playing 100 games, opponent rolled on average 3 more doubles per game than I did.
    Some games I did not roll a single double. Not one game was the opponent ever shut out of a double.
    This is not random !
    How could I possibly win? There are other facts, as I considered other stupid possibilities, like how long it took me to get off the bar vs. opponent with various positions opened, etc. All ended up to be in opponents favor.
    Fact …. game is NOT equal to both players. Why, probably programming to make it hard to win in “expert” level.
    Run your own experiments. Stop guessing and be scientists, get proof.

  76. ChrisB says:

    It doesn’t seem to be possible to respond to a particular thread any more (no idea why) so I’ve ended up at the bottom of the list, and lost the post I wanted to comment on.

    Someone (It may have been Olinser) said something about statistics means you have a 1:36 chance of a particular throw but “only on that throw” and that it didn’t apply “over a large number (say 1,000) of throws”. This displays a lack of understanding of statistics at the fundamental level.

    The precise point at which statistics like “a 1:36 chance” become meaningful is *over a large number of samples*. Saying you have a 1:36 chance of a particular throw, then throwing once, “proves” you either had a 100% chance or a zero chance of that particular throw, because it either did or didn’t occur. Thus if the chances of something happening are 1:36 and you take a sample of 36,000 you *will* get very very close to 1,000 “hits”. *THAT IS WHAT IS MEANT BY STATISTICS*. If it occurs 500 times out of 36,000 samples then your chances were *not* 1:36 they were 1:72. That’s the definition of a chance.

    If the chances of something happening are very low, but it happens [once] anyway, does that prove cheating? Of course not. If it happens a thousand times when the probability is it should happen 100 times, that *might* indicate cheating. It certainly indicates an anomaly, i.e. occurrence not tallying with statistics. If any one person consistently wins at Blackjack, it means s/he has found a way to beat the ‘odds’ (another way of saying ‘statistics’), probably by counting cards. What does counting cards do? Allows you to re-calculate the statistics. When one person wins more than average, the casinos take notice. When s/he gets rich, they escort him/her off the premises and politely invite them never to come back. Because, OVER A LARGE NUMBER OF PLAYS, that would be unexpected card behaviour.

    When the weather forecaster tells you that there is a 30% chance of rain in your area, that is not a random number that gives *your* chance of getting wet tomorrow: it means that 30% of that specific area *will* get rain (it might always be the same 30%, in some e.g. mountainous areas). It’s not a statistic *until* it applies to a large number.

    • msbackgammonsucks says:

      So, you’re saying that over a ton of coin tosses, stats should be 50% of each? No. Those odds are for 1 Toss or for 1 throw of the dice. That’s the fundamentals of statistics.

      • ChrisB says:

        “So, you’re saying that over a ton of coin tosses, stats should be 50% of each?” – yes, yes, yes, a thousand times yes. THAT is the fundamentals of statistics. Please go read a basic primer. That is EXACTLY what WILL happen; over a [sufficiently large] bunch of coin tosses, exactly half will turn up heads and half tails. Over a sufficiently large bunch of throws of 2 dice, exactly one out of 18 will be each possible combination, and one out of every 36 will be each of the doubles.

        “Those odds are for 1 Toss or for 1 throw of the dice” – Yes, they are. Theoretically. But how do you prove that empirically? Before the toss or throw, the “odds” are exactly as predicted. Afterwards, they are 100% in favour of what actually happened and zero for the remainder.

    • msbackgammonsucks says:

      Additional proof. if you toss a coin and it lands on heads, what is the chance that the next toss will also be heads? Still 50/50.

      And I never said anyone was cheating. Just the opposite. And I don’t lose often. So wasn’t complaining about that.

      My comment was about the RNG that they use. There are anomalies with the online dice VS playing with real dice. But it’s because of a poor RNG not because of cheating.

      • ChrisB says:

        “Additional proof. if you toss a coin and it lands on heads, what is the chance that the next toss will also be heads? Still 50/50.” – uh, what is that proof of?

        Yes, the outcome of any one toss is completely independent of any other toss (and it amuses me no end to see how people study the stats of our National Lottery and use those “statistics” to predict what numbers are going to come up next). But I’m confused about what you feel that proves.

        I didn’t mean to imply that you said anyone was cheating, and I’m sorry if it read that way. I was referring in general to the overall principle addressed by Ashley’s blog, that people were using (their skewed perceptions of) statistics to “prove” that people were cheating.

        I do quite agree that the RNG in MS BG does seem to do some odd things that appear not to be all that “random”, e.g. the number of times I throw a double to bear off the last few pieces seems disproportionate. But how would I know that for sure? By keeping a tally of a large number of games. Then if I got more than one “double” out of every six last throws, I’d know it was flaky. That’s the only way that would have any meaning.

      • msbackgammonsucks says:

        My point is that if the odds are 6:36 to get a double and you examine a million die rolls and exactly 6:36 doubles, it would only prove that the RNG was fixed, because if you did the same thing with real dice, it would not occur.

        The RNG fixes itself. If it has not achieved the number of doubles it is programmed to have, it is programmed to “catch up” by making sure doubles occur more often until it has achieved its’ programmed goals.

        A poair of actual dice doesn’t know how many doubles it has or has not landed on.

      • ChrisB says:

        “A pair of actual dice doesn’t know how many doubles it has or has not landed on.” No, exactly. But I finally understand your point.

        However, you are wrong about “why” a die lands on a particular number and – more importantly – how. The fact is that if you throw a (perfectly balanced) die a sufficiently large number of times, it *WILL* come up exactly the number of times the law of probability predicts. Again I say: that is precisely WHAT the theory predicts, and it has nothing to do with the die “knowing what it has to land on” in order to satisfy the theory. It’s WHAT THE DIE DOES. So, yeah, if you did the same thing with real dice, it WOULD occur (probably not in the same sequence as the MS RNG, I’m sure!).

        Your argument is like saying that if you drop a stone it won’t necessarily fall, because it doesn’t know the law of gravity. They are called the laws of nature because nature obeys them, not because they are some set of rules humans dreamed up control nature; they EXPLAIN nature, in the same way that the theory of Statistics explains how dice (or cards, or coins) fall.

      • msbackgammonsucks says:

        We can agree to disagree. The RNG is faulty because it’s programmed to a specific outcome and no, perfectly balanced die will not do the same thing in any type of time frame short enough that can be measured.

        The RNG is more comparable to a slot machine than real dice throws. A slot machine is programmed to give a specific number of payouts per number of times played. With the RNG, the payout is doubles and it is programmed to give a specific number of doubles per number of times rolled.

        So, no. RNGs cannot mimic the results of real dice because it’s basically a slot machine.

      • Jimmy Kirk says:

        INCORRECT. It has now been proven that the two sides of a coin do NOT weigh the same or have the same aerodynamic properties. You’re conflating probability theory with physics.
        Similarly, the different faces of a die/two dice do not have the same aerodynamic properties or weight.

  77. Chris says:

    I play against Extreme BG 2 and GNUBG and at the minimum against World Class rankings. I consistently beat GNUBG but the games are close.
    When people QUIT and the PC takes over on MS Backgammon then you are forced to play the terrible AI in MS Backgammon.
    Out of 5 CONSECUTIVE games playing the MS AI I scored 4 Backgammons and 1 Gammon.

    The two points I am making are that I am NOT a novice player and Microsoft was very lazy in the creation of this backgammon.

    Why do I play MS Backgammon? When I am waiting for MS to update fresh installs of the OS on the PC’s I work on it gives me something to do.

    Are there hacks? 100% without a doubt there are people doing this. I have played some HORRIBLE players online that are over 100 pips behind and then suddenly they hit rolls CONSISTENTLY that are primes and 8% or below in probability. Usually these are hits on pieces that I have exposed.

    Not only that but 10 minutes ago I was playing another player who is terrible and without a doubt would probably win 10 games out of a hundred against me because of the luck factor. I played two games against him/her and I had one double in two games while my opponent had three doubles in a row in both games.

    During these “VERY LUCKY” rolls I have also noticed a significant delay in the time for the roll to take place.

    I will prove how easy it is to hack this program and paste a video on YOUTUBE in a couple of hours. I’ve never done it but there are so many kiddies doing it that I will bet it’s nothing more then a memory injection hack and a freeze of part of the process to roll the dice.

    In a match a few nights ago I played a guy who HAD to get a 1 on about 15 occasions in two games to have any hope and he hit it 14 out of 15 and ALWAYS there was a delay in the roll of the dice.

    I just laughed. I sat there with my friend and SUCCESSFULLY began predicting his dice rolls….not DIE…but DICE….in 80 percent of the rolls WHEN I had him bent over a barrel and he had ‘MUST’ rolls.

    PS….thanks for the statistical analysis in the article but until you actually play this game and learn how to play backgammon at a high level then YOU are the one making speculative statements.


    • Bob Z. says:

      If players were hacking the dice rolls, you’d think they’d be getting those great rolls at the beginning of each game where they can really turn the game to their favour and score gammons and backgammons. Instead, what you find are great saves, impossibly lucky rolls that completely turn the game around for opponents who would have otherwise been crushed. I’d certainly be interested in a video that shows how a memory injection hack would work, but it seems to me that the MS games server is more likely the lucky-dice-rolling culprit here.

  78. Razor says:

    This is for all those people who say there are no cheats on MSN Backgammon. Read on:

    I have had a few games recently playing against players (usually 2100+) where, when the player was losing, they did something that then caused one of their die to quickly move back and then forwards again, very quickly, a couple of times. The game then froze (it was still their 2nd move) and after a couple of minutes, the “It’s your turn, move now” message came up … but on MY side. As the other player still had not completed their second move, I could not go, resulting in me losing the game by being timed out.

    This has happened on quite a few occasions now with different players – and I bet I am not the only one who it has happened to. Sad to say, but there are DEFINITELY MSN BG cheats out there.

    Anyone know how they do this?

    • Their “die” moved or one of their men? You don’t have to cheat to do that. Just be an asshole. You move the first of your men back and forth a bit. Then you send a message to your opponent that it’s his turn. Then you walk away.

      • Tony says:

        I would argue that this is not the scenario “Razor” above describes. I have experienced this numerous times. Finally the opponent put a name to it. he/she said “Welcome to the dancing pips” His/her timer timed out, I tried to force their move and then the game ended stating I had been removed from the game for failing to move. It is almost always against an opponent with a rating above 2200 (a sign they do it often).

  79. Mike Mees says:

    Dear Ashley, I have read your posts and then created a new user on MSN and played 408 games. I disagree to the extent that players with higher ratings have more “luck” with rolling doubles and with very advantageous rolls against the odds in your table. I also noticed that with 408 games, I only went first 87 games. Also, in the 408 games, I rolled 9 (5-4 or 6-3 126 times), that seems odd as well. I do not know the odds of that perhaps it is just the luck of the dices. Additionally, I have noticed that newer players often roll very low numbers when trying to go out thus losing. I will create another new user ID and repeat the experiment. I have also determined that if one is polite they seem to get more advantageous rolls that rude players as I have pretended to be both with various user names. I do not know if there are MSN programmers playing the game but I suspect there are. Additionally, I feel there is a program in place that punishes poor or risky moves rather that the odds of the move being punished by pure random roll of the dice. In any event, I am old and cannot get around much and enjoy the entertainment of the game regardless of the manipulation of the dice by people that enjoying winning by whatever means. Thank you for your posts.

    • I’m not sure what you mean by “creating an account”. But to answer your implied question, the odds of rolling a “9” on a pair of dice happens to be 1 out of 9. There are four ways of getting a 9: 6-3, 3-6, 5-4, and 4-5. There are 36 possible combinations on a pair of dice. Therefore, the odds are 4 out of 36 which is the same as 1 out of 9. I’m not sure if you were saying that you rolled 9 126 times on your first roll in 408 games, which would have been too often; or if you rolled 9 126 times out of all the rolls, which would be too seldom (considering that there are dozens of rolls in every game).

  80. dyan says:

    MS everything sucks … especially backgammon

  81. dyan says:

    i was just playing and hadnt rolled the dice and 2 of my men moved on opening roll …. terrible software

  82. Gary Pryzner says:

    This is hilarious! One common scenario is to just stop playing when I start winning, and wait til I nudge them. Another is to do the same when they finally start winning. I think some players don’t realize a few BASICS about backgammon. If you don’t know them, you are not a wise player.

    1. Anybody can get lucky! That is why there are 5 sets to a match. (I’ve even seen a bad player get lucky 5 sets in a row – rare, but possible.
    2. If you have higher points before the match and leave… you did not win.
    3. Are you seriously trying to get a record number of unbeaten rounds by forcing winning players to leave the game so you can win against the computer? What does that prove – because beating the computer is elementary?
    4. There is no single strategy that is better than another. Yes, there are a few strategies that are plain foolish. But keeping to one so-called ‘proven’ strategy no matter what direction the other player takes is also foolish.
    5. Ever consider that to be a truly good player, maybe you need to lose a hundred times, and learn from the players that are beating you?

    [And, yes, with this bad software, the other day my opponent left because he was trapped and losing, and the computer played the only dice that would squeeze by my trap, and then sequentially another 8 doubles in a row to win.]

  83. Paul says:

    I play on window’s 7. I have been playing for more than 35 years. Against human opponents, I win 80% of the times. This version 7.0 is definitely rigged. You can see it happening. I just played a good opponent and was up 4-1; I was getting lucky rolls. The last 2 games I rolled 1:18 and 1:36 to win. I lost the subsequent game that should have been an easy win for me. My opponent rolled double ones twice in 3 rolls’ he needed both of these to win! The next game, my opponent quit. I deliberately tried to avoid hitting the retard mode computer simulation. The computer was way down and rolled consec 1:36 double sixes and before that a 1:18 to get around my 5 block. I have had 100’s of games like this in the latest best of 5 version; NEVER anything like this in the previous best of 3 version. If you notice, the computer will go into rigged mode for many consecutive games, not randomly here and there. I am an engineer and very good with numbers; this is statistically impossible to be consistently played this way.

  84. Mel Jones says:

    I’ve read most of this thread about backgammon cheating. I’m 70 years old & have been playing for close to 40 years. Most people think I am a knowledgeable player in most all games. I used to play backgammon on line, but have not for 4-5 years. After reading this thread went online & played a few games this afternoon & saw a few instances of some strange things & some numbers that were somewhat against the odds. I did not keep track, but I probably won 40 out of 50 games & only lost one match.Just a few minutes ago I played one match to 5 & it was ridiculous. Took four games for opponent to win. He won 3 & I won 1. He had four double 6’s & one double 4’s. I had NO doubles. The number 7 in the combination of 3 & 4 or 5 & 2 NEVER came up in the ENTIRE game! Only 6’s & 1’s. One match to 5 points is not any kind of a sample, but this was ridiculous!

  85. Mel Jones says:

    I’m not much of a tech person. I would guess that all backgammon websites are using MS software, so that the frequency of the outcome of the roll of the dice is the same no matter what website game you play on? Even the ones you can play for money on? Why then does anyone, like me, even play online? I never thought they were rigged until I chanced upon this thread.

    If this is not the case? What is the best(most true/honest/hardest to cheat) website that you have found?

    The reason for all this is that I’m retired now & would like to play an honest 1/2 – 1 hour session of backgammon most mornings

  86. Mel Jones says:

    I’ve figured it out! I’ve been playing lots of games the last 2 days. These people that cheat, quit playing when they have decided they are going to lose, are just the plain low life SOB”S that don’t have any moral values, period! Stand up in front of a mirror, bare has naked, look yourself in the eye and say ” I’m looking at a good man/woman! If you can not, you are a piece of SHIT!!!!!!!

    • Tom C says:

      Mel Jones, Try playing Pasha Backgammon on Facebook. After playing many BG sites, I find this the most fun and challenging. After playing face to face for 40 years this site is the closest to real BG

  87. Mel Jones says:

    Ashley & this board must be out of business or my observations must be too stupid to get any kind of a response.
    These low life that back out of a game, for what ever reason, I think maybe because they are losing. Do they lose the match? Or do they save their ass by letting the computer take the loss?
    By the way, has anyone ever lost a game to the computer? It seems to me the computer makes the most stupid moves that can possibly be made, all of the time. It accepts all doubles all the time!!! It also hits every time the opportunity arises. It must be programed to just get the game over with as quickly as possible. Man! I sure would like to find some place where I could play a computer that makes all the right moves, I would likely lose every game but at least I would not be loosing to a poor software program or a lousy cheat.

  88. Neither. False dichotomy. There are other possibilities than “out of business” or “not interested”. First, I’m really busy right now. I’m trying to write a 50,000 word novel every month for five months. But I got interrupted for a month because a potential agent wanted to see a rewrite of a manuscript for a thriller that I wrote last year and I’d really like to get an agent. And then there was Easter with family obligations. So I’m behind by about six weeks and writing like a mad person. Second, my policy on this blog is to mostly let my readers discuss with each other and not to interfere. Except to disallow obvious spam and trolling because that’s no fun for anyone. But I do read everyone’s comments.

  89. BG Player says:

    I certainly did not read all the posts and it’s possible someone already pointed this out. I quote:
    “One post stood out because it cited actual numbers. The writer had recorded the number of sixes rolled on the opponent’s first roll on over 2000 games. He found that the opponents rolled a six more than thirty percent of the time when the odds should have been one-sixth of the time. See his mistake? A six will come up one-sixth of the time on one die. But backgammon uses two dice. When you roll two dice, there are thirty-six possible outcomes. Eleven of them contain a six: 1-6, 2-6, 3-6, 4-6, 5-6, 6-6, 6-5, 6-4, 6-3, 6-2, and 6-1. Eleven out of thirty-six is about thirty percent. This guy didn’t prove that sixes came up too often, he proved that they came up about as often as random chance would predict.”

    I’m not trying to be a know-it-all, but you’re mistaken.
    In backgammon, each player rolls 1 die, to see who goes first. My home rules are that the player with a higher number, 5 against the opponents 2 for instance, may move those numbers or reroll once and play those numbers. MSN (popular online backgammon site) forces the player with the higher number to move without the option of a reroll. Again, each player rolls ONE die to begin the game. Peep my technique: 1/6 are the odds of rolling one particular number with one die. Keep your stick on the ice, party on, and remember, we’re all in this together. I’m pulling for ya.

    • You are correct, if this person is reporting the opening roll where both players roll a single die. But that confuses me because 2000 games means that he was not playing the same cheater 2000 times, but must have been playing with hundreds of cheaters in a row, all of whom are able to manipulate the opening roll. That strikes me as unlikely, to say the least. On the other hand, if “first roll” meant the first roll where the opponent rolled both dice, then all the numbers work.

      Incidentally, your “home rule” about letting the winner of the opening roll re-roll his own die is definitely not standard backgammon rules. It would have the effect of giving an even greater advantage to the person who was lucky enough to win the opening roll. That’s not a rule that I would like at all. The standard rules of backgammon already allow luck to triumph over strategy as much as I want.

  90. Billy says:

    there are many programs for cheating at online backgammon, and explain to to me how your opponent roles a 6 and 4 at the very beginning of the game and winds up moving 4 times going from 167 to 147?

  91. ChrisB says:


    Billy, please post where you can find these “many” programs for cheating at online backgammon. I have read many many such allegations but seen *not one* concrete example. I would really love to be wrong about this but sincerely doubt you are correct.

  92. Gary Pryzner says:

    That is not a cheat, Billy. It’s a bug in the program. I have even seen it where the opponent does not roll a double on first move, moves three pieces, and stacks one of my pieces on top of one of his rows. When you see that happen, just oblige and play your turn.. and the game will crash on the next turn.

    (While I believe there are cheats, I don’t believe they are available online. They have been self programmed by a very few genius types who like to show it off as their own ability.)

    But the greater problem with backgammon is how difficult it has become to find a player who is willing to play through a loss to the end. With all the people who post here and agree that people should play through to the end, I doubt if many of you actually follow your own advice. I have literally played through 30 – 40 rounds and either lose drastically, or else the opponent leaves as soon as I gain the upper hand.

    Other thoughts…
    Luck goes both ways. Dice can favor a poor player. Dice can favor a good player. I have been accused of cheating after rolling 8 doubles in a row. After the third double I actually began hoping for a poor roll. I also admit that it is luck, unlike some who like to think that this many doubles proves you are a good player. By the way, if you have only two of my pieces trapped by 6 of your pieces, and you opt to bring the last two closer in, leaving me a double six option out – and I just happen to roll that double six and move over you to a win – it’s your problem, not mine! You took the chance to allow me a high double roll. You can’t call me lucky because you opened the spot. If you want to stop my double six, leave a point there to guard that and bring the others in first. But then of course you have another chance to take later on. It’s all part of the complexity of the game.

    Some poor players think the way to win is to focus on bringing the back end home and leave me an 83.3% chance of rolling out whenever you hit one of my pieces. Meanwhile I have you at a 16.6% chance of rolling out – because I managed to focus on blocking my home, and bring the far end in later. And you think that I am cheating when I win that game? Get real. Your strategy needs some work.

    Finally, I am learning that there is no one strategy that is fail-proof! It seems wiser to play according to the opponent’s and adjust my strategy according to rolls and according to the current strategy of my opponent. If I always play safe when he/she leaves a piece open, I will most likely be beat. Yet the time for taking chances is not something to fool around with. And in the event that I do take that chance and lose the round as a result, well.. it goes with the territory of gambling for a higher score.

  93. fred says:

    I have a degree in math, and I am keenly aware of human fallacies of observation, such as confirmation bias, and I assure you, there is cheating. It goes way, way beyond any personal bias you may think I have. Uh uh. The alternative is that I have supernaturally bad luck. I just got finished with someone who must have been the greatest troll who ever lived. 5 games in a row, never doubled – and every single opportunity the guy did the DUMBEST crap ever, for move after move after move, demonstrating a complete lack of understanding of basic concepts like that it is unwise to leave singletons lying around near the END because when your opponent zaps them, you get set back more pips. 5 games in a row, where every single move was just epic stupid after epic stupid, and never, not once did I get to zap him. And when he zapped me, he would leave singletons lying around in his home box, and only one or two of the 6 spaces with 2 or more pieces, and at one point, the 4’s were the only one blocked off and I got double 4-s 4 times in a row. The odds of that are 1 in 36 to the 4th power. That’s less than 1 in a million. And that was just one small part of one of the 5 games. In my humble estimate, the odds of getting throws as bad as I got and his getting them as good as he got were in the vicinity of 10^-30. Was he really that stupid? Nuh uh. He was trolling me. It was safe for him to leave those pieces in stupid places because there was no risk. The engineering question is, WHERE are the random numbers actually generated? Are your own dice rolls generated on your own computer, or on the microsoft server, and how may it be hacked or manipulated? That is the question to be asking. I believe the answer to that question is that the random numbers are generated on the microsoft server, because if my own rolls were generated by my own computer, he wouldn’t have been able to control the numbers that come up on my computer, only his own, but he surely was controlling both his rolls and mine too.

    • I don’t know for sure where the dice rolls are generated, but if I were programming the game it would be on the users’ computers. The smart way to program an application like this is to have as much work as possible done by the client computers. That way, the server need only make the initial introduction between the two clients and then bow out and move on to service the next clients that are waiting for an introduction. Of course, that presupposes that the Microsoft programmers wrote a good program. And we already know from the obvious bugs that the guys who wrote the backgammon program were not the greatest.

    • msbackgammonsucks says:

      Ashley said it best, “And we already know from the obvious bugs that the guys who wrote the backgammon program were not the greatest”

      It’s simply some of the worst programming ever done. The previous version was bad, but the newer version is so much worse, it’s just funny.

    • Chris Bedford says:

      I’d bet good money you weren’t playing against a person, but “a computer opponent” that the game substitutes when your actual opponent ducks before a game ends.

      They tell you it’s happening but perhaps you missed that. Once you are playing against the computer (which computer that is I know not – yours, or Microsoft’s server) there is no indication (as far as I remember) that you are no longer playing a human.

      But from your description of the way “he” played, that was the computer you were playing against. Dumbass moves, *always* hits you if there is an opportunity, *always* leaves blots in the home board. Although I’m surprised you weren’t able to beat it 4 out of those 5 games, because when I still played that game I used to clean up – a lot – against the computer opponent.

      I gave up the game when I discovered the msn “Zone” game was several orders of magnitude better. Even when you have to wait a minute while it plays ads at you before you can play.

  94. Jeff "The Jett" H says:

    I do not think that anyone can cheat at Microsoft Internet Backgammon, but what is annoying is the player that is a bad looser and disconnects there internet connection so that both players get a lose recorded. This situation is starting to happen more and more, I have played well over a thousand games and my percentage is above 75% I would guess that half my loses are from this form of cheating, very annoying when you have a 25 game winning streak going. All I can say is BAD SPORTS take the lose and learn.

  95. Mark Jones says:

    Sometime back, I left a post about what I thought about MS Backgammon. Still I believe, the game is rigged. One thing I noticed was that at the beginning of the game, before you click the roll button, the computer has already rolled for you. How? Just wait 10-15 seconds and you will realize on the rolls that you have lost, you’re opponent moves the pips as fast as the computer while in the continuation of the game, his or her moves are slightly slower.
    A friend of mine that sometimes plays MS Backgammon disagreed with me about the rig theory and we decided on a bet. Whatever roll (not all rolls and my choice only) with odds in his favor I paid him 2 to 1 (two dollars) for wrong guesses and he would pay me one dollar for correct ones. After about an hour and ten or fifteen minutes, I ended up with $48.00!!
    My point is, it isn’t what your opponent is always getting with lower odds, it is also what you don’t get with higher odds either in the same game either!! Yes, I do agree that it doesn’t matter in terms of odds if you roll the dice when you need it or not, but when you put these rolls in a sequence of events, then it becomes suspicious.
    It looks like when playing on the actual board, I have my opponent roll his or her dice and play and when it is my turn I call out my dice instead of rolling and play, promising that I won’t call many doubles and so forth and offer my calls as randomly as possible. This is the feeling one gets or at least I get when most times playing with MS Backgammon.
    At end, I am open to place similar bets as the above with anyone who is in doubt. It is a win win situation for me because either I will win the game or win some money!! 🙂

  96. Jon Matthews says:

    Thank you, Ashley, for your well worded and intelligent summary.
    If the complainers would take the trouble to learn to understand backgammon, they could do very well. Over hundreds of games I have won 85% by patient thoughtful play.

    • Brian says:

      Please, pray, explain how in certain situations, (game-altering situations where a player “comes up big”, not situations I choose at random because they fit what I want to see), it is possible on a fairly regular basis to predict die rolls? Even Isaac Newton wasn’t that good!

  97. Bob says:

    While I agree that some of the complaints are due to lack of understanding of backgammon and backgammon strategy, I also suggest the evidence is that Internet Backgammon is both rigged, and riggable (i.e. it is possible for a player to cheat).

    I’ve actually taken the time to monitor the network traffic associated with the game (it’s not hard with the right tools) and there is a fair amount of hand-shaking that includes exchange of numbers thrown, as well as (obviously) the moves. Just from the information exchanged, it appears that both clients (in rough terms, when playing the game, your program is the client, and your opponent is the server – but your opponent sees it in reverse) provide input to each other over dice throws, and can (by how they acknowledge receipt) refuse to accept particular throws from each other.

    The interesting thing is that the pattern of acknowledgement changes during the course of the game – a client that is well behind or ahead on pips will reject more of the opponents throws. There also seems to be variation if one or both has doubled. It is not a big stretch to suggest that there are various simple rules implemented to dynamically change the balance of a game. And, although I haven’t bothered to work out all the nuances of the protocol, it is relatively simple, and wouldn’t be hard to write a program that implements a different set of rules.

    Why did I take the trouble to look at the network traffic? Like many others in this discussion here, I have seen occurrences that made me suspicious. I then played a game where my opponent got behind by about 20 points, and doubled. There was then a wait before the opponent threw. For the next eight moves, the opponent threw doubles (double 4’s, double 5’s, double 6’s). That stopped when (because of placement of my pieces) none of those moves were effective. There was another pause before the opponent threw, and the pattern changed (to something more pedestrian). While, yeah, there is a non-zero probability of such things happening in a fair game, I was suspicious, so had a look.

    There are plenty of freely available network analysis tools that anyone could use to work things out, and confirm what I’ve described. I would estimate that a script kiddy could decipher the ins and outs of the protocol within a day or two, and maybe write a cheat program within a week. Given the effort of some kids (and even some adults) to crack other games, that is hardly beyond reason.

    I will admit, reading discussion here, I find it appalling that the attitude often conveyed is “I’m right in saying there is no cheating, and if you disagree you’re an idiot”. Basic fact is, it is technically possible.

    • msbackgammonsucks says:

      Played a game today where my opponent got a piece off the board on the first roll. That’s a neat trick.

    • gamond says:

      I think you’re giving far too much credit to MS programmers.

      The program is incomplete as it is.. when my opponent quits and I beat the replacement computer player and try to find a new opponent, it says “are you sure you want to quit? this will count as a loss in your statistics”.. what statistics? and I didn’t quit.

      To imagine that such programmers could conceive the complex situation you pose is beyond belief.

      • Bob says:

        I think you’re under-estimating how easy it would be for a software developer of even modest skills to conceive of or implement what I described. Or how often design of simple protocols and implementation of programs that work with such protocols over a network have been taught in primary and secondary schools for a couple of decades, at least – because it is easy to teach.

        It is certainly easier to teach such things, and to find basic tutorial material about network programming with working sample code using google, than it is to find guidance on how to write software that implements decent backgammon strategy.

    • JamTrack says:

      If you were still in a position to win after your opponent got 8 straight doubles…4s, 5s, 6s…then you were clearly the one doing the cheating.

    • JamTrack says:

      This, of course, is rubbish. Both output from, and input to, the bckgzm executable is binary data packaged for network transmission. Ever look inside an IP packet? It’s all ones and zeroes bro. You have no clue what you are looking at. And the input and output are certainly never directly to the other game-playing opponents computer but to the game server which is the go-between for two opponents. “Relatively simple to implement a different set of rules”…my man you are utterly clueless. “A script kitty” decipher the ins and out of the protocol”. Do you know what a protocol is? You certainly don’t seem to. You seem to have a grasp of buzzwords that you are hoping make you sound credible if you throw them around. So your script kitty is going to intercept IP packets, manipulate the data inside them (once they figure out what is what), and then forward them on to where they were going? Right. Here kitty kitty kitty.
      And then the old “I played a game where my opponent threw doubles eight times in a row”. That didn’t happen either.

      • Bob says:

        So, on one hand, you accuse me of cheating because of the what I described.

        On the other, you accuse me of using buzz words to hide my incompetence which would, among other things, mean I would not be able to implement a cheat.

        It seems like all you are doing is trolling – you’re either incapable of or disinterested in even mounting a coherent argument, and not interested in permitting any exchange of views. I suppose that goes will with the spirit of this blog, which is essentially “cheating does not occur, and anyone who says otherwise is an idiot”.

        I won’t be back. You, and everyone here, can demonstrate your intellectual inferiority for perpetuity. I won’t see it.

  98. Robert says:

    Any one person with even an ounce of common sense, can tell you darn well that people are not getting “Internet Backgammon has received corrupt data from the network and can’t continue” in the middle of a game to where the person you are playing is losing his / her ass big time is not from a game hack or directly from one of Microsoft’s stooges! You would have a total ignoramus to attempt to tell players that have played the game for years literally that there is no corruption in the dice as well. LOOK AT THE DICE ROLLS IN ANY GIVEN GAME, You just can’t make this shit up people, and I would have to say that the dumb asses here on this thread explaining away are from Microsoft and if they are not , then why the heck start a thread where it forces you to absolutely double down on stupidity! ……………. The people here that are explaining these various situations are real freaking people that have played the game for years literally…….. I think they know when they encounter corruption and or game cheaters………………Microsoft needs to correct it’s stupid game products ……………..

    • I try to be tolerant when approving comments, but when the comment is just calling people names without adding anything to the discussion, I really wonder if my policy is reasonable.

      • Tony says:

        Robert, although colorful is right on with his comments. I am not interested in knowing how to do the “dancing pips” but rather how to prevent it from happening.

  99. Brian says:

    For those of you who think that Internet Backgammon is on the up and up consider this: I have figured out a way to win every time. All I have done, (as an experiment I do not make regular practice of this), is exit a bunch of games to incur a ton of losses and KILL my statistics. Afterwards I have won probably 13 matches in a row. Now as an engineer I understand probability.. I like to think that I understand it reasonably well.. not to mention that kind of repeatability is an experimenter’s wet dream..

    So tell me, if there is NOT a controlling algorithm that regulates who gets to win and when, how does this get explained? Probability can’t do it! Methinks something in the background is working pretty hard to maintain a roughly 50% statistical win average.

    OH and by the way: just because the limit of die face results approaches classical probability does NOT mean interference does not happen. Hey I’ve given this guy 422 Sixes in a row! I should probably start throwing other numbers to bring the results closer to probabilistic norms. THAT was tough!

    • JamTrack says:

      I have figured out a way to win every time. Step 1….lose every time.
      Step 2. Win probably 13 matches in a row. Or possibly not…meaning a loss is in there.
      Step 3. After 13, unknown
      And this is how you win every time?

      • Brian says:

        Step 1: Purposefully lose a bunch of games to kill win percentage.
        Step 2: Play internet backgammon and watch the game’s roll generator give me exactly what I need to get a serious leg up on my opponent… or not because you totally know what’s going on on my computer screen.
        Step 3: Enjoy the wins that Internet Backgammon is basically throwing at me so my win percentage once again approaches 50%.
        Step 4: After 50%, once again watch how the “random” roll generator rigs the game to pre-determine the winner… again.

        Yes, by killing my win percentage I was able to enjoy very many won matches in a row, (not straight games mind you because only matches count towards win percentage.)

        Oh and by the way, no matter how much fun you can make of this post, the point is that I have been able to observe.. quite reliably I might add, which was the point of that whole post……. that by rigging the numbers I could coerce the game to hand me wins over and over.

        By the way the original post says 13 matches in a row, not games so if you’re gonna try to be funny, and mock people you should probably read what you’re mocking first.

  100. Paul says:

    My theory….

    MSN Backgammon is brilliant programming. The game will employ another program that will study the best or worse possible outcomes; these programs do exist. The rolls are still random; however, depending on the player, the computer will roll say 6 “random” sequences and analyse the best or worst outcome. You will only see the final roll.

    It would explain why 66’s come up at the right time or that 16 combination will come up to kill you. again, this doesn’t happen every time, but say one out of 6 times in my example (remember, the computer will “randomly” come up with 6 rolls but chose the best or worst outcome).

    I have been playing backgammon for close to 40 years and am an engineer. Playing one on one with real dice is totally different than MSN. My rating on MSN is around 1800 after 100 games; I win about 2/3rds of the time. Regardless of the outcomes, I notice the following:

    1) More doubles than normal
    2) Higher average rolls than normal
    3) Win the 1st game and the planets will align against you the next
    4) If you have 2 or 3 open blots after being knocked off AND you opponent has an 1850 rating AND your opponent has played a lot more games than you on MSN, then you will not be able to get back on easily. It will take on average 1.5 rolls for 3 openings and 2 rolls for two openings.
    5) Abnormal amount of ties on opening rolls. The opening rolls don’t reflect the final opening rolls; why is that ?

    Maybe the key is buying whatever is being advertised around the board.

    By the playing styles, I should be able to beat 1850 players 80-90% of the time. Most will be extremes; not leaving men open or hitting anything open regardless of the position. Sure, you have to take chances to win and when up, why take a chance? Throw out real, learned strategies; they don’t apply with MSN.

    I would love to play against anyone on MSN with an 1850 rating or more to prove my point.


  101. GDyTwoshoes says:

    I’ve had too many times when my opponent gets to the last few turns and gets simultaneous doubles for it to be ‘chance’. Try calculate the mathematical possibility/ probability of a double six, a double four then a double six in that order, in a row? No cheating going on, yea right…

    • The odds of a double six is 1/36, same with a double 4. Therefore, the chances of exactly those three rolls (d6,d4,d6) is (1/36)*(1/36)*(1/36)= 1/46656. A little better than one chance in 50,000. High, but not astronomical. However, you might have better asked “What are the chances of three large doubles in a row?” The odds of a double 4, double 5 or double 6 is 3/16 which is 1/12. The odds of three of them in a row is (1/12)*(1/12)*(1/12)=1/1728. Still high, but not terribly unlikely. But that’s not what you are really reporting. You are reporting three high doubles in a row while you are bearing off, say in the last ten rolls. The chances of rolling three doubles in a row somewhere in ten rolls is way higher than that. I can’t be bothered doing the arithmetic, (it’s a lot of multiplication and division), but you can take my word that it’s fairy likely. And if you extend it to three doubles out of four rolls (almost three doubles in a row), then it’s going to be quite likely. If you’ve played even a couple of hundred games, you’re going to see it happen, almost guaranteed.

      • Paul says:

        If you need double 4’s 5’s or 6’s per roll, it is 1/12 each roll (3 out of 36) or 1/12 x 1/12 x 1/12 in 3 consecutive rolls; sure, it happens. Still, with MSN, it happens more frequently.

    • msbackgammonsucks says:

      I heard if you sit further forward in your chair and stare into the screen very close while playing with your legs crossed that they can’t cheat.

  102. GDyTwoshoes says:

    Thanks for your reply Ashley, it was bearing off, I was well ahead and it was looking a likely win only for whomever I was playing somehow got those throws to beat me, the I don’t mind losing but that was and it’s far from the only time its happened too suspicious to let go…

    • msbackgammonsucks says:

      The only way computer dice meant to be random could actually be random is if the programmer stops having it “keep count” or “remember” previous rolls in any way. As long as it’s programmed to stay within the odds of actual die rolls, then it uses its’ memory to determine the die rolls instead of them being random.

      For instance; I play a game called morrowind. You can modify the game using their construction set. When you modify the dialog, you can use what they call random 100 to have it choose which dialog piece will be said by an NPC based on randomness.

      However, if you have one piece of dialog come up because it was set to do so when the random number is between say 50-59, then that takes you to another topic that is also using random 100, then the response from the second set will still be the choice that falls between 50-59.

      So everytime you get that response from the 1st set, you’ll also get that same response every time from the 2nd set.

      Unless; You set code in the message box or use a script to tell it to “reset random 100”.

      With computer-generated random die, they don’t “reset” the odds so it uses its’s memory to “catch up” whenever it goes off what the programmer wanted the overall odds to be.

      So, we notice it most on doubles, but it happens with all results. If the computer ‘remembers” that it is far behind on 4-3’s, 6-2’s or specific doubles, then it is programmed to “catch up” and product those rolls until the data is correct.

      If it were set to “reset” the odds after every single roll, then it would be more random.

      Real die don’t have memory. They do actually reset after every roll so the odds of the next roll are the same as the previous or next roll.

      But, programmers want to be able to monitor a million rolls and show that the odds over a million rolls equals the odds of a single roll, thus proving their die are random.

      Actually it proves the opposite. The die rolls are more like a slot machine than actual die. x number of payoffs vs number of plays or rolls.

      If you monitored a million actual die rolls, you would not likely match the odds of a single die roll for each of the numbers. It would be highly unlikely to produce the results that programmers are actually seeking to have happen.

      • Bob Z. says:

        It’s not just that the dice rolls appear to be non-random and that doubles appear to be happen more than can be explained by statistics. It also appears that novice opponents who find themselves cornered and way behind somehow get saving rolls, the single combination of dice rolls that gets them out of a trap, followed by a number of lucky rolls, ie double combinations, that somehow put them ahead. You can’t explain everything that happens in this game by a bad randomizing algorithm, it appears something else is also giving players a boost.

        I think the server might be trying balance the game between non-equal players since I still win a lot of matches over lucky-rolling players whose poor decisions still hurt them in the end.

      • msbackgammonsucks says:

        I agree with you that they do seem to have some type of code that helps players that are way behind. I think they want it to seem more exciting. That just adds to the bad randomizing program and makes it all even worse. MS Backgammon is simply one of the worst programs I’ve ever seen.

        Spades isn’t much better. For awhile, and it still happens from time to time, when someone goes set on a nil, it doesn’t subtract 100 from their score, then at the end, games go beyond 500 points until it makes up for it.

        Without some type of rating or penalty for early quitters, it isn’t much use anyway. With spades, too many blind nil 1st hands. If they make it, they stay. if they don’t they quit. So, basically, they’re playing in expert mode and telling you that IF you spot them 200 points they’ll play.

        A better program wouldn’t let you choose the level at all. It would promote you to higher levels based on your play.

      • bobsyeruncle666 says:

        Yeah, Spades can be pretty screwy, too. I swear the computer program playing my partner makes some pretty egregious mistakes at critical points in the game to try and balance out the match.

        As to the 200 point blind nil 1st hands, sometimes you make those bids to scare off your partner and play with the less than optimal, but more predictable computer partner. It can be less expensive than bidding 13 to achieve the same effect.

      • msbackgammonsucks says:

        I’d believe the blind nil thing more if 99% of those who did it and don’t make it didn’t quit immediately. Blind nil really should only be allowed in specific circumstances, if at all. I’d accept it if it’s the only way someone can win or if they are at least 150 points behind. Other than that, it adds an element of luck that isn’t necessary for good players.

  103. bobsyeruncle666 says:

    That element of luck is available if it’s the only way someone can win (a “Hail Mary”) or at least 150 points behind. Sometimes it is necessary. That idiot players use it to take themselves out of the game in the first hand can be a blessing. You don’t want a novice player around when the match goes down to the wire and he (or she) is oblivious to the necessary options.

    Sometimes you’ve got to lose a hand to win, like bidding 0 when you’re really looking to bust an opponent’s critical bid or bidding more tricks than you can take to suggest a blind nil. Or to push the opponents score to -200, ending the game. And sometimes a bad blind nil works better in the long run if it rids yourself of an oblivious partner. 🙂

    Yes, if Microsoft had implemented a scheme that promotes players based on their play, a lot of this wouldn’t be necessary.

  104. Jane says:

    When you roll the dice in backgammon, and it changes when it appears in the opponents court, you know something stinks about that. When your dice start moving again after stopping, and the first roll was good…stinky. I would love to go somewhere else to play, but don’t want to be hacked more than I already am. So, just grow up you stinky little cheaters, and play for the fun of the game – J.

  105. Jane says:

    Another good one. Just happened. You roll the dice and it comes up as a tie roll, and then magically your die rolls itself! Magic!! – J.

    • msbackgammonsucks says:

      I like the one where they roll the dice at the beginning of the game and they move 2 pieces and a third piece moves for them on it’s own, sometimes putting their piece on top of a slot your pieces occupy. 🙂

  106. Joe says:

    Those are bugs, they don’t happen that often. They might have something to do with the quality of connection.

  107. Joe says:

    I have not read all the comments here but I have read quite a few. I will try a summary;
    1. There does not seem to be any proof of cheating.
    2. There are some glitches in the program (things like false or multiple moves).
    3. Many players are not good sports.
    4. The dice rolls are not random.

    • JamTrack says:

      Joe has it right on all points. The dice may have an agenda, but that is handled by the program. Just a person sitting in front of their computer playing the game cannot influence the program in any way.

      • mememe says:

        No one has yet given a good reason why the programmers would include dice rolling with an agenda, or how a computer program that has no idea how to play backgammon could know how to cheat at backgammon.

      • msbackgammonsucks says:

        You said “does anyone at all have a high win percentage? The only way to get that would be to consistently play out games against the computer after someone quits.”

        So beating humans most of the time is impossible?

        You said “In a truly random number series, there is an equal likelihood of a string of 36 double sixes as there is of all possibilities coming out in no particular order.”

        Nope. it’s not.

        I don’t think they are considering it cheating. They programmed the game to be more “exciting” and not using statistics of past games, just the current situation in the current game. There are way more amazing comebacks on ms backgammon than there ever is in a real game. It goes both ways, your own comebacks and your opponents.

        You don’t have to be a computer expert to see how many time you get double 6 when trying to get back on the board and only that space is unavailable, or a 6-3 when those are the only 2 spaces unavailable. Or how many times you’re losing and all you need is an exact roll with a low possibility and wow! you get it! Or your opponent does. or how many times you’ve obviously won the game, then suddenly your opponent gets 3-4 doubles in a row to barely win.

        Any of those things above can happen in a real game, but not nearly as often as with msbackgammon.

        Again, your opponent is not cheating. The computer isn’t exactly cheating, they are trying to balance the game and make it exciting. And last, but not least, it’s a game and shouldn’t be taked too seriously. being good or bad at msbackgammon has nothing to do with how good of a backgammon player you really are. The online version isn’t backgammon, it’s an online game similar to backgammon. 🙂

  108. Joe says:

    Has anyone ever enquired with Microsoft?

  109. Dan the Man says:

    Cheating unfortunately DOES exist. My rating is over 2000, which was earned through playing fairly, but it used to be higher still. When playing against opponents rated 2300 or thereabouts, I have encountered numerous examples where my opponent rigged the game once they realised they were losing.
    After a delay, one of their counters move back and forwards a couple of times and then it stops. After several minutes, although it is still their move, it is MY side that now displays the counter … but no matter what I do I am unable to move because it is still showing as their move. Once the timer reaches zero, it is me that gets removed from the game.

    The first time this happened, I thought it was a glitch? Numerous occasions later however show otherwise. Cheating on MSN Backgammon unfortunately DOES exist.

  110. Joe says:

    That must be another version. I run W7 where there is no rating and no visible counter. On this version (or others) rating or record means nothing a lot, if not most, games are not played to the end. What you describe may be a way of cheating using a glitch but I do not know as I have never played that version. I think I have seen it and at least the W7 version has much better graphics and mechanics. Anyone know if the W8 version is different than 7?

  111. Joe says:

    Too bad they can’t/won’t just fix it. I think I will just stop playing, the ‘streaks’ are sometimes just absurd. I a true RNG that hard to include?

    • mememe says:

      When you say ‘true’ RNG, do you mean one that returns an even distribution of results over any sample size? That wouldn’t be random

  112. Rick says:

    I think it highly unlikely that the other PLAYER is cheating. I think the program has an algorithm built into it that can alter the laws or probability to a great extent. I have noticed when I kept count that at I average winning the first roll about 30% of the time, well below the predicted 50%. At times I can almost predict my opponents next roll, being exactly the one roll he needs to jump an open man. Can’t tell you the times my opponent has rolled the exact DOUBLE he needs to jump my open man or win the game. Just as an experiment, I started quitting games when I noticed what I thought was an “unlikely” roll, and it appears that the more you quit, the more the program “punishes” you by giving your opponent fortuitous rolls. Just my 2 cents.

    I suppose this just underlines my basic premise, that you never risk real money on an online game of chance. Too many possibilities for manipulation of the odds.

    • mememe says:

      Rick, just a question – You say that you personally win the first roll less than normal. Does that mean the game is conspiring against you personally? How are you suggesting the game chooses which players to favour in the opening roll?

  113. Joe says:

    It may be related to the level you choose but it just seems streaky for both players. Yes the one needed roll is often the one you/they get. When you get down to it, it actually is not backgammon.

  114. mememe says:

    I doubt anyone’s able to cheat. Who would spend the time and effort to come up with the tools to cheat at a game that is so meaningless. There’s no prizes, betting, or even names and rankings. It’s possible that the dice generator isn’t very good, but then again, random doesn’t mean producing rolls that are evenly distributed. The idea that the dice are rigged to recognise a weak player and help them out is even more far-fetched. That would mean developing a very sophisticated program that could detect weak and strong players and make decisions about how and when to help them. Really? Microsoft put so much effort into their cheap little game? Why on earth would they do that? I don’t think it’s so important to Microsoft for their cheap add-on game to be ‘exciting’. Far more likely is that when people think they’re very good at a game which is roughly 50% dice luck, they don’t like losing and so develop an idea that there’s cheating involved. The cheating idea is probably also something people adopt when they don’t like losing, so they can quit when losing, without feeling like so much of a petulant child. ‘Another cheater!’ I’m not putting up with this!’ Either way, it’s a weird delusion when you look at it.

    • bobsyeruncle666 says:

      So, basically, you’re ignoring everybody’s personal anecdotes about impossible saves, unusually high sequences of doubles, inept players winning despite poor strategy and generally broken logic?

      So you think a program has to be sophisticated to detect weak players? How about just looking at the win/loss statistics?

      • mememe says:

        I have a sneaking suspicion you agree with me, Bob. If not, I don’t know how to answer in a way that you’ll understand.

      • bobsyeruncle666 says:

        I have a sneaking suspicion you’re just trolling now.

      • Mememe says:

        No, not really. Just disagreeing with the whole cheating theory. Quite open about it. How about you?

      • bobsyeruncle666 says:

        I think the game is cheating. What individuals are able to accomplish, at best, I’m guessing, is deliberately dropping out of games to get a big handicap going in to the next one.

      • mememe says:

        Also, Rick’s anecdotal evidence (above) is that the game punishes a player for quitting by then giving his opponent good dice. That seems to go against your idea that losing a lot is rewarded. Unless of course the game distinguishes between quitting and losing…The only answer that combines all the anecdotal evidence points to an ever growing list of features the game uses to load the dice. Unlikely

    • mememe says:

      I’m not ignoring these anecdotes. Just questioning the reasoning following them. There is no such thing as an impossible save. Unusually high sequences of doubles are simply unusual, but are statistically just as likely as no doubles at all, or an even spread of doubles according to theoretical probability. inept players can win because it’s a game of at least 50% chance. I can’t see any broken logic. And yes, it would have to have a fairly high degree of sophistication to detect weak or strong players. See below

  115. Warning Sign says:

    Hereabouts there be trolls!
    Turn back whilst ye may!

  116. mememe says:

    Oh you’re really serious? Sorry, my mistake.

    So, does the computer notice the player’s win/loss statistics and use them to decide who to help? I think the win/loss statistics are meaningless in recognising player strength, as the number of drop outs or crashed games are so high that everyone regularly has to quit games, giving everyone a low win percentage. I’m not bad at backgammon, and my win rate is 12%, which would make me a very weak player, and therefore the computer would make me win all the time (does anyone at all have a high win percentage? The only way to get that would be to consistently play out games against the computer after someone quits. You could lose your mind that way). Instead what I notice is that sometimes I get lucky dice, sometimes I don’t, which seems normal to me. The intricacies of random number generators are beyond me, but I do understand that a random series does not mean an even distribution of results. In a truly random number series, there is an equal likelihood of a string of 36 double sixes as there is of all possibilities coming out in no particular order.

    I sometimes get lucky dice even when I’ve won a few games in a row. That should be impossible according to your theory, unless the program sometimes takes breaks from applying the cheating part of its code. Is that what you’re suggesting, that the programmers also included some code to only occasionally cheat? How does it decide when to cheat?

    Also, your own hypothesis that the computer helps weak players by biasing the dice rolls to let them win would tend to even out the win rates, so the computer would not be able to distinguish weak players from strong ones. Unless of course the computer kept a track of each individual player, and was able to discount the wins when it knew how much it had helped that player, run some kind of program to keep track of their ‘genuine wins’. That would be problematic in terms of the amount of effort they would want to put into a cheap little add-on game.

    The computer would also have to be able to distinguish between a player who was making weak plays and those who are playing a back game, for example. That wouldn’t be easy. It would have to be programmed with a fairly comprehensive knowledge of backgammon strategy. Remember that we already know the computer doesn’t have that, from the extremely low level of play the computer can manage. I suppose the answer to that is that the programmers knowingly gave the game zero skill when playing backgammon, but a comprehensive knowledge of backgammon when cheating for weak players. I suppose that’s possible, but very unlikely, and I can’t think of a reason why they’d do that. Can you?

    I can’t see how the computer would cheat for weak players without a reasonable amount of effort on the part of the programmers. That being the case, you would expect to be able to work out their motivation for that effort. The only motivation suggested by anyone here is that they want to make the game more exciting. I don’t think the desire to make a cheap add-on to an operating system more exciting is very strong motivation for the effort required. People aren’t supposed to care that much about Microsoft backgammon.

    On balance, I can’t see any evidence of the game cheating in the way you’ve described. Unless anyone has answers to these points, I will remain convinced that a belief in cheating is simply a conscious or unconscious device people use to justify to themselves why they quit when they’re losing.

  117. Joe says:

    I also doubt if winning % is a factor. However chosen skill level may very well be or not. One thing the game recognizes, without question, is the position of pieces. Open/closed points and vulnerable pieces could be factored into roll results. There is no doubt in my mind that rolls are not random

    • bobsyeruncle666 says:

      And that was the main point. There are some pretty ridiculous saving rolls occurring in regular order and an unusual number of doubles. Games which would ordinarily end in short order against weak players with no clear strategy are being drawn out to ridiculous ends.

      My point about the win/loss statistics was about how simple it would be for the game to identify a weaker player and give him a handicap. Your point about open/closed points and vulnerable pieces are also easy to program. It isn’t hard at all for the computer to figure out which rolls are needed to find an open point, i.e. to clear a wall or to find which points only contain a single, vulnerable checker to tip the balance of the game. It’s still quite possible for the game to be cheating to explain the way most of these games play out. The idea that it must be hard for the game to figure out how to cheat, which mememe put out there, is wrong.

  118. Joe says:

    It is a fact that the program ‘knows’ the status of every point on the board.

  119. Ivan Moore says:

    Golly jeepers, I can’t read all of this. All I can say is this… while there are a few bugs in the software which usually result in a game crashing, there’s nothing too complicated about programming a game for two people to play backgammon, nor anything complicated about this program. In my view, ANYONE who seriously thinks there is either a) cheating that goes on by people with some magic program, or b) something “rigged” in the delivery of random rolls by the dice, is either deluded, or, more likely, just not a very good player. I remember, years ago, I downloaded GNU onto my computer and started to to play it… I found out super quick how ordinary a player I was, and learned also that it is very easy to get sucked into the whole “it’s rigged” or “it’s cheating” mindset. The dice are totally random, no-one’s cheating… it’s all just perception when you get a good beating. Then, go download GNU or Snowie and challenge yourself to recognize that it’s random too. It’ll make you all better players.

    • msbackgammonsucks says:

      If you think computer die can be random in the same way real die are, then you’re the one who is deluded. Computers remember what they rolled and adjust to try and stay within the odds of each roll. Real die have no memory.

      • JamTrack says:

        Computer die can be virtually identical to real die…depending on the programming. Computers don’t remember anything, programs do. The only way a computer remembers what they rolled and adjusts is if it is programmed that way, otherwise no. Real die have no memory? Correct.

      • msbackgammonsucks says:

        You make a good point about the programming, however, they do program them that way so they can monitor the odds and try to hit as close to things like 1-in-6 chance for a double. If it were truly programmed to ONLY consider the odds for each die roll, then it would be closer to real die.

        But if you look at what programmers write about their random generators. They tout the fact that after a million rolls, it was right on the money.

        That’s more like a slot machine. X Number of payouts per so many pulls.

  120. JamTrack says:

    You’re making some global statements here. You seem to be saying that “They” means all backgammon programmers and “they” program every backgammon simulator identically, in the manner you describe. Of course that’s not right. Now if your “they” is/are whoever programmed just the MS Internet Backgammon game, then you are making an assumption since you don’t actually know the programming behind this game. Nothing wrong with speculation, just label it as such.

    • msbackgammonsucks says:

      Nowadays, after the advent of computational random number generators, a growing number of government-run lotteries, and lottery games, are using RNGs instead of more traditional drawing methods. RNGs are also used today to determine the odds of “modern slot machines”.[1]

      Several computational methods for random number generation exist. Many fall short of the goal of true randomness — though they may meet, with varying success, some of the statistical tests for randomness intended to measure how unpredictable their results are (“that is, to what degree their patterns are discernible”).

      The generation of “pseudo-random” numbers is an important and common task in computer programming. While cryptography and certain numerical algorithms require a very high degree of “apparent randomness”, many other operations only need “a modest amount of unpredictability”. Some simple examples might be presenting a user with a “Random Quote of the Day”, or determining which way a computer-controlled adversary might move in a computer game.

      The first method uses computational algorithms that can produce long sequences of “apparently random results”, which are in fact completely determined by a shorter initial value, known as a seed or key. The latter type are often called “pseudorandom number generators”.

      A “random number generator” based solely on deterministic computation cannot be regarded as a “true” random number generator in the purest sense of the word.

      Pseudo-random number generators (PRNGs) are algorithms that can automatically create long runs of numbers with good random properties but eventually the sequence repeats (or the memory usage grows without bound). The string of values generated by such algorithms is generally determined by a fixed number called a seed. One of the most common PRNG is the linear congruential generator, which uses the recurrence

      Xn+1 = (aXn + b) mod m

      to generate numbers. The maximum number of numbers the formula can produce is the modulus, m. To avoid certain non-random properties of a single linear congruential generator, several such random number generators with slightly different values of the multiplier coefficient a can be used in parallel, with a “master” random number generator that selects from among the several different generators.

      The default random number generator in many languages, including Python, Ruby, R, IDL and PHP is based on the Mersenne Twister algorithm and is not sufficient for cryptography purposes, as is explicitly stated in the language documentation. Such library functions often have poor statistical properties and some will repeat patterns after only tens of thousands of trials. They are often initialized using a computer’s real time clock as the seed, since such a clock generally measures in milliseconds, far beyond the person’s precision. These functions may provide enough randomness for certain tasks (for example video games) but are unsuitable where high-quality randomness is required, such as in cryptography applications, statistics or numerical analysis.

      But you are right. Not ALL programmers do that. uses atmospheric noise to generate “true random” numbers. But, what are the odds that the programmers of microsoft backgammon did that do you think?

      • JamTrack says:

        I’m unsure what point you are trying to make with all this. But listen..when you cut and paste without attribute or acknowledgement, it comes off like you are trying to pass this off as your own thoughts, words, and knowledge. In most academic environments, it is plagiarism. In something as informal as a blog, it just makes you out to be kind of an asshole trying to sound like you know more than you do. You should watch that.

      • msbackgammonsucks says:

        Wow. Anyone would know that was copied and pasted. I even left the references to figures in it because I didn’t have much time.

        It doesn’t discount the information. Your comment simply distracts from the point that random die generators are not truly random.

        I didn’t invent that information, nor did I claim to. You tried to make the point that some generators made by some programmers for these games could be random. That I was making a blanket statement by saying the programmers didn’t use true randomness.

        I simply looked up the information and provided it. But, since you just can’t be wrong about anything, you deflect to something else rather than admitting that the die are not truly random for the game.

  121. JamTrack says:

    OK…just trying to help. Carry on.

  122. Joe says:

    Anyone who claims that this game is just like a normal ‘live; game probably has not played it much. The streaks and ‘hits in a row’ are simply not random. I have played many real games as well as this W7 one and I have zero doubt in that the odds of certain numbers coming up in certain situations are the odds of a ‘random’ roll.

    • JamTrack says:

      You’re having as much trouble following the thread as wikipedia boy.

      • msbackgammonsucks says:

        I notice JamTrack doesn’t add any links to dispute what I found on wikipedia. My point was that your opponents aren’t cheating, which is in direct response to what this thread is about. So, maybe it’s you that can’t follow the thread.

  123. Joe says:

    Above I should have said . . . NOT the odds of a random roll. I agree that it is not the opponents that are cheating, Not many who are actually following the thread dispute that.

  124. abu afak says:

    The computer Handicaps the dice against the Player with better record.
    The better your record, the worse your dice.

    If you have an 70-80% win rate you’ll note your opponent gets STUNNING Dice.
    Opens with 1/1, 1/3, 6/1, etc.
    Bumps you at 3x the rate you bump.
    Gets back on the board and over your blockade when only left a single opening.
    While you can’t get back in even tho he only blocks 2 or 3 of the 6 spots.
    Rolls HUGE, doubles etc, when the game becomes a mere race with no bumping possible.

    I’m an odds guy and I see stunners in every game.. CONSECUTIVELY.
    9:1 Best Roll possible shot… followed by 35:1 best roll possible shot.. 17:1 best roll possible shot… etc, etc.
    One mind-blower is possible, but when you see 5 or 6 in a row it’s Off the charts. NOT possible.
    And it happens in EVERY Game.

    If you just have a 50/50 record you’re not going to notice as easily, though if your opponent is a 1-fer-10 beginner, HE will get the better dice.\

    Most of you are too stupid tp notice and the computer has evened you out so it’s not as pronounced.

    • abu afak says:

      and BTW, there is NO cheating possible.
      One can delay one’s opponent into an hour or more Match by waiting full times between moves/’nudges’, or faking being a beginner with slow moves.
      Most don’t have the patience and flee.
      I have no qualms about using this method due to Microsofts nasty hadndicaps.

      the only smart one.

      • JamTrack says:

        This is excellent strategy. Pretend that you are stupid and a poor player. Then, when your opponent leaves to look for better competition…you become the winner and get all the glory and accomplishment. And it is all due to Microsofts nasty hadndicaps. You really are “the only smart one.”
        Psst…don’t sleep on Salim!

      • Joe says:

        Well (s)he would not have to pretend about the stupid part . . .

      • abu afak says:

        Just started another usual game.
        I Got 5/4 and he OF COURSE got 3/1 to bump me in 5 spot and block.
        I got back in with a 2, in the 2 spot…
        He got 6/4 to bump and block two spot.
        Got back in with a 3 and he got 5/3 to bump and block 3 spot. (with a 3rd die he had gotten there. Now 4 points blcoked
        and so it keeps going.
        I can actually Call my opponents role by just realizing what is BEST role is.
        About 80% of the time he gets not just a good role, but the BEST (or ONLY) Role possible.

      • msbackgammonsucks says:

        Why did you open up those spots with the 1st roll 5/4?

      • abu afak says:

        WTF Idiot
        You HAVE to open up one man with a 5/4 opening

      • msbackgammonsucks says:

        at home?

      • abu afak says:

        OK, very next game.
        I opened 5/4 again, and place man in 5-spot
        He gets 3-1 OF COURSE!’
        EVERY GAME is rigged/handicapped against great records.
        this jerk didn’t know what to do but the dice are HIS

      • JamTrack says:

        I am starting to think that maybe abu is not the only smart one.

      • Joe says:

        “EVERY GAME is rigged/handicapped against great records”
        Come on, records mean nothing. Anyone with a great record would have to play a lot of games against the puter. With all that rigging how come you still have a great record huh? huh?

      • Joe says:

        what a maroon

      • Seriously? You’re the smart one? Your opponent sees you playing really, really slowly and you think that he’s saying to himself, “Boy, that Abu Afak is sure a smart fellow. He’s a brilliant backgammon player. I wish I was as smart as him.” You think that’s what he’s saying to himself? In what universe is that going to happen?

        You do realize that boring your opponent out of the game doesn’t mean that you won the game, right? It isn’t a strategy that any actual backgammon expert would ever employ. It’s just a way that you make yourself feel better about losing.

      • abu afak says:

        1. Ashely is the BIMBO who even started this Idiot string.
        One Cannot ‘cheat’ in MSFT games nor Yahoo games you Stupid Bimbo.

        2. But the machine Can handicap the dice against the best record and does.
        Especially, again, in 70-80% win country…
        or help someone who is in 20% win country/en know

        3. When an opponent leaves and you play against the computer, the oponnent/computers dice will still be great, just the machine moves randomly with those numbers..
        otherwise compiling a great record would be impossible.

        4. AGAIN, as every game, I just saw an unbelievable string of dice.
        Playing against a Total beginner MORON.. he won game one.
        How? EVERY role a winner.
        He got 1-1 on role two and did Not even know how to use it to block (and in this case bump too) the usual/correct spots. Instead the idiot, moved his two back pieces in the one slot to the 3 slot!
        NO MATTER
        Role after Stupid role he got the best numbers possible and still BLEW multiple bumps/blocks
        He took virtually every one/Gift incorrectly.

        No matter, when it becomes a race, I am way ahead only due to his stupidity.
        BUT of course.. here comes Rusty!
        Double SIXES, Double FIVES, 6-5, Double Threes, ..
        and on the second to last move I double since it’s my turn and we both just have just have 3 men left in the one slot.
        I got single dice, he roled doubles to win.
        I am now down 2-0 but he doesn’t know there a nudge button and will leave/lose in an hour or so.

      • Mememe says:

        Abu afak, you are a deeply rude and unpleasant person. You really ought to apologise to Ashley. I understand that you take the game very seriously, but you still shouldn’t insult people like that. Apart from anything else, she doesn’t really come across as a bimbo, so it isn’t even a well targeted insult. An effective insult is one that contains a painful train of truth. Try harder next time, or calm down.
        You’re also deluded, but you seem to be committed to that so I’ll leave you to it.

      • That’s DR. Bimbo to you, Mr. Afak.

      • abu afak says:

        @ Mememe

        UNlike me you put up ERO on topic content.
        Unlike me, NO one has the brains and record to be able to share the actual situation.

        You’re all quite welcome for the lesson.

  125. Joe says:

    The time given for a move is a bit long but slow play is not MS’s fault. It just seems like a lot of players are jerks. The program may be faulty but the biggest problem is the people who play it (most of). If only there were “handles” then one could play/choose opponents who have some class.

  126. JamTrack says:

    This is excellent strategy. Pretend that you are stupid and a poor player. Then, when your opponent leaves to look for better competition…you become the winner and get all the glory and accomplishment. And it is all due to Microsofts nasty hadndicaps. You really are “the only smart one.”
    Psst…don’t sleep on Salim!

  127. Joe says:

    Well (s)he would not have to pretend about the stupid part . . .

  128. Joe says:

    “EVERY GAME is rigged/handicapped against great records”
    Come on, records mean nothing. Anyone with a great record would have to play a lot of games against the puter. With all that rigging how come you still have a great record huh? huh?

  129. GDyTwoshoes says:

    Why can’t the good folk at MS put really useful chat comments like ”You effing cheat” or ”Nice, five doubles in a row, you effing cheat!”. Just finished a game where ‘the opposition three FIVE doubles in a row, please tell me the mathematical odds of THAT happening!!!!!

    • Seriously? 1/6^5=7776. Unlikely, but not astronomical odds. And that’s if you only rolled a pair of dice exactly five times. As I’ve said before, if you’re talking about 5 doubles occurring at some point in a long string of rolls, the odds are harder to calculate, but considerably less than 1 in 7,776. I don’t know why people who play backgammon think that doubles are a such a rare event. They’re not rare. They happen on one roll in six on average. Consecutive doubles are going to happen. A lot. Get used to it.

      • Paul says:

        OK…. doubles
        This is something that all of us can relate to….
        When rolling to see who goes first, too often it takes 4 or 5 sets of rolls to decide; that is, we will tie 3 or 4 times before finally breaking the ice to see who goes first. I have played about 100 series say an average of 5 games a series. So…. out of 500 games, I figure I have seen at least 3 or 4 or more ties to see who goes first. It seems like at least half the initial rolls are ties, it takes 2 or more rolls to see who goes first. Think about it…. This more than supports the weird number of doubles given up by MSN.

      • Paul says:

        Sorry, I meant taking 4 or more rolls at least 10 times to decide on who goes first out of 500 games.

  130. Paul says:

    Abu, I understand your frustration but don’t take it out on Ashley. I agree with you that this MSN backgammon is totally rigged and does not in any way represent the true game with real mechanical dice.

    I just played 10 best of 5 series after taking a break from this for 3 months. Albeit I did win 6 of the series, I experienced the following, AS USUAL.

    – one of my series that I lost, I was up by 30 points in 2 games, lost them both. I had winning positions in 2 games and lost both. one game was a running game; once we passed each other, my opponent pulled off high doubles to my 1,2 2,3 1,3 etc etc. the one game I did win was a back game that, for a change, went in my favor. So, I lost 4 usually won games and won 1 usually lost game. Typical MSN.
    – I won 2 series where I was down 4-1, gammoned my opponents the following game to make it 4-3. Doubled in the next game, was behind in the final game (note this is for both series, MSN is consistently rigged); fell behind in the final game (the usual, my opponent getting perfect rolls) only to miraculously win by pulling 1:36 rolls followed by a string of doubles myself to win!!! One of the series, I rolled double sixes 3 times in a row while off with my opponents 6 and 5 blocks present. apologize for my poor description; basically, I couldn’t get on. with 4 open men and the double sixes were useless.
    – one series I lost I had a backgammon. my opponent hit me 1:9, 1:3, 1:18 every time. I had 4 men off and resigned, she refused. with 2, 3, men open I couldn’t get on; it was a combination of 5 rolls. not finished… my opponent had a 3 block when I finally got on; 1st roll useless double 3’s, then a 2 block; 2nd roll double 2’s another 2 block and another set of double 2’s.
    – one series I lost; the last game was miracle rolls by both parties back and forth. my opponent was getting perfect roll after perfect roll. he was finally open and I knocked off a man. he couldn’t get on with 3 open men. I had a six block on him, a lock but lost with garbage doubles that ruined my position. not done… in the back and forth, my opponent rolled double sixes to take a lead around my 5 block… not finished. he had to leave a man open which I hit. not finished… I still had a won game but he came on with double 3’s to knock off my man and close out his inner board; I lost.
    – just finished a series with a lady that would not leave a man open; I lost the last 2 games, she rolled perfect and had 3 sets of useful double 6’s in both games. not finished… in both games I had 6 blocks but rolled destructive doubles (4’s in one game and 5’s) the next to destroy my position.
    – no one over 2000 rating will play me. Why is that? I am close to 1900 after 75 games.
    – I win 80% of my series against players 1900-1999 and 50% against players 1850 and lower; why is that?

    Abu, I have been playing Backgammon for 40 years; MSN is a farce. Anyone that has played “real” backgammon with “real” dice (a cup with a lip) will know MSN is rigged. I get frustrated myself when I do play on MSN. Think of this. Most of my opponents have played in the thousands of games on MSN. Imagine how they will feel if they play against real opponents with real dice and realize they have been wasting their time on MSN. They will see that MSN backgammon is not real backgammon.


  131. JamTrack says:

    Seems to be a discussion on two different products. I believe the subject of this discussion is supposed to be the game that is included with all versions of Windows between XP and 7. This game is called “Internet Backgammon”. This is being confused with the backgammon game that can be played on the MSN game site at Is this correct?
    I can understand why people would want to play the free game. It is quick, it is there, it is a time-kill, and anyone can bail at any time if they want to. All this offsets the fact that it is not a particularly good program, so people will play it anyway. But if the MSN game of backgammon is also a lousy program, why would anyone play it? There are excellent sites to play competitive backgammon on-line. Why would anyone play on a site with a lousy program? The free game I can understand…every game is a throw-away, who cares? But if you are actually keeping score and you play on a site like MSN that has a poor program…when there are so many alternatives…that is just on you. Just go to a better game site. KInd of the same for the program included with Windows. It’s crappy but there it is. If you want to play quality backgammon, there are plenty of other places to do it.

    • Paul says:

      I agree.. can you tell me the “good” sites? I don’t mind paying at all. MSN backgammon is totally rigged…. a sham…..

  132. Frank says:

    Ashley you are a TOTAL IDIOT… Your comments suggest that not only your MATH stinks but that you also have very limited knowledge of the game!!!! I have TWO words for you and they are NOT “Happy Birthday”… Moron!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  133. David George says:

    I have never suspected any player of cheating. I do however notice an unlucky bias on initial rolls and rolling doubles. I have kept records over the past year to confirm my suspicions. I consistently get out doubled by a ratio of over 4:1 (almost 5:1 in fact). I also lose the initial roll 87% of the time. I keep thinking that this will even itself out eventually, but it never does. It is the same at home or at work (different computers) so I can not understand how it happens. I have a win percentage 77%. This is evidence of smart tactics an careful play.

    • Paul says:

      I find that hard to believe…. r u talking about the windows version that we get on the computer (say windows 7) or MSN? On windows 7.0, I have a 76% winning percentage mainly because my opponents quit most of the time. MSN is another story…., it is so badly (or well) rigged that I only win about 66% of the games…

  134. Paul says:

    Hey Ashley….

    Sounds like most of us are from Canada…. Maybe you can host a tournament.
    One side will be the MSN believers; the other side will be the doubters…. I want to captain the doubters 🙂

    and…. let’s use real dice!!

  135. Joe says:

    Pretty hard to believe anyone has a +70 winning % on W7. It would mean finishing games where the opponent quits/stalls/etc. I guess if you do that, but why????????

  136. Tony says:

    No cheat program, hug?
    So, what is you opponent doing for 40 seconds before he/she rolls the perfect 1/36 probability roll?
    DEFINTION: come out roll — the first roll of one die

    Let’s say, today I play a game and my opponent rolls a 6 on the come out roll.
    It doesn’t matter if I roll or not.
    That probability is 1/6 that he/she rolled that 6

    Tomorrow I play again and we both roll the same number (any number) on our come out rolls.
    That is a probability of 6/36 or 1/6. (this is the same as rolling any double)

    There are two events here.
    Lets call today’s event, event A. Lets call tomorrow’s event, event B

    Then the probability, P, of either event A happening OR event B happening is…

    P(A or B) = P(A) + P(B) – P(A and B), where P(A and B) = P(A) X P(B)
    P(A or B) = 1/6 + 1/6 – (1/6 X 1/6)
    = 1/6 + 1/6 – 1/36
    = 30.5 %

    To put it another way by enumeration…

    NOTATION: The first number in parenthesis is my opponent’s roll; the second is my roll.

    All possibilities…
    (1,1) (1,2) (1,3) (1,4) (1,5) (1,6) (2,1) (2,2) (2,3) (2,4) (2,5) (2,6)
    (3,1) (3,2) (3,3) (3,4) (3,5) (3,6) (4,1) (4,2) (4,3) (4,4) (4,5) (4,6)
    (5,1) (5,2) (5,3) (5,4) (5,5) (5,6) (6,1) (6,2) (6,3) (6,4) (6,5) (6,6)

    Event A or Event B
    (6,1) (6,2) (6,3) (6,4) (6,5) (6,6) (1,1) (2,2) (3,3) (4,4) (5,5)

    P(A or B) = 11/36 = 30.5%

    What actually happened…

    Using a program I developed, I counted event A and I counted event B.
    I played a total of 344 games. Event A or event B happened 242 times.
    The expected probability is 30.5%

    I got 242/344 or 70.3%

    Please explain why you think this is normal?

    • JamTrack says:

      Tony wrote: “No cheat program, huh? So, what is your opponent doing for 40 seconds before he/she rolls the perfect 1/36 probability roll?”
      Tony, I am just curious…what do “you” think he/she is doing?

      • Jimmy Kirk says:

        JamRag, why do “you” have to put “you” in “inverted commas”? What do “you” think “you” are doing? (Apart from “trolling the depths”, of course…)


  137. Rick says:

    I don’t think it is players cheating, I think it is the algorithm that Microsoft programmed into the game. Addressing Ashley’s article, I don’t profess to be up on my statistics, as it has been 40+ years since I took the course. But from my observation, there is a statistically significant probability (no, I would say it is more of a predictability) that on any given roll, if you leave a pip open on the board, your opponent will get the one roll he needs more often than not.

    When I first noticed this anomaly, I got pretty upset. I have played thousands of games of backgammon, and other games involving the chance of dice rolls. I understand the basics of statistics and odds of particular dice rolls. But the “cheating” or better termed, the bias of the algorithm, was so obvious as to be almost laughable. Seeing how the programming can affect the outcome of the rolls/game, it made me all the more convinced NEVER to wager any money on on-line gambling sites.

  138. Kaliakoydaw says:

    I do not know if they cheating, but the things so they cheating (very please try to understand my bad English): An example: when the dice is well and easy to play, the play normal, no delays!
    When they start to feel pressed and they do not have lot choices then they slow down… until to find a good dice…
    19/5/2015 16:10+-:
    All was closed except the five, I had hit 2 of his, he stopped to play, was quit. My plan go like this, if he will bring double 5 I’ll write “I’m going to play an other game” and I’ll leave the game!
    I waiting, few minutes, then he bring double 5! The game for me have ends as is 1000000% cheater. This happen all the time, they stop to play until to arrange what they need, and then they bring it! Or is not cheater and just stop to play, I guess they chatting and they do not care any more! This is my proof. Soon I’ll upload lot of “1 hour random games internet backgammon” on youtube, enjoy my playing way!

  139. abc says:

    The human factor: given a chance to tweak a game to favor new or paying players without consequnces, it will happen, and happen a lot.

    • JamTrack says:

      No one is paying and no one is new. (there are no identities, no records, no history, no names, no tracking).

  140. Jimmy Kirk says:

    Many people are paying financially (for the MS operating system).

    Others are ‘paying’ or conversely ‘being paid’ via their own neurotransmitters in orbitofrontal cortex, hypothalamus/other limbic structures and other reward/punishment centres.

    ‘New’ players might be inferred to be the weaker ones. They might feel rewarded for having a go at ‘silverback’ players. The latter might, in turn, salivate at the prospect of maintaining their self-perceived (over emphasised?) mastery of the game.

    The end result? Addicts. Not so much fanbois as fallguys being manipulated by their own nervous systems as much as by the server’s programming.

    As far as the rest goes, how do you know; or do you have inside information?

  141. Günther says:

    Hello to all,
    I´ve collected the data of more then 2.000 games – and surely can tell you: the dice rolls are rigged. I don´t know either if there are cheaters or programs or if most of the games are played by “unnatural” players (the computer). A few examples might be enough: the other player were starting with 1:6, 6:6 or 1:3 ten times as much then I do. Their chance to get in after they were beaten is about nearly 95 % when 3 out of 6 fields are occupied, while my chance is less then 5 %. They´ve got the chance to beat a unpaired token ten times as much then I have – and 25 times as much then I can by doubling in their home base.
    I recognized that there are different pattern of manipulation that can be fixed mathematically, some of them might be combined. A few of those pattern are similar to the one of the computer as second player.
    What´s the conclusion? MS Internet Backgammon is surely manipulated, but as a matter of fact nobody really knows how or by whom. But as there are a few pattern similar to the computer I suppose there are programs used – either by ms itself or by (or via?) the programmer. And as there are different pattern, I supposer that there is at least one other.
    (Sorry for my english vocabulary and grammar, I´m from Germany).

    • Jimmy Kirk says:

      Danke vielmal Gunther! Dein Englsich ist ganz gut und ich kann ihnen gut verstehen. (Mein Deutsch ist sclecht; ich wohne in USA).

      Let’s lay the ghost of “cheating players” once and for all. There is obviously a proprietary software program or at least add-in subroutines for exisitng software packages. It’s all designed to get us keen backgammoners salivating at the chance of restoring our good name in the face of unfair game play. A heady cocktail of dopamine and serotonin, shaken and stirred by adrenalin.

      By the way, other sites have done the same thing with their dice, to the best of my knowledge and experience; Kurnik was one and PlayOK another. Similar observations to yours with MS Internet Backgammon.

    • JamTrack says:

      Achtung baby. Nothing in this post is accurate

  142. JamTrack says:

    Nice try

  143. IN says:

    I think that there is something ‘odd’ going on. I’m talking about the Microsoft Internet Backgammon that comes with Windows XP, and it appears is at least superficially different to website based program.

    For example, today I played a game (yes, only one game I’m quoting here, and statistics can’t be based on one game) but in that game at the very first opportunity my opponent asked to double. Since I was ahead in PIPs and had a better start position (I’d rolled a 6:1 to get into a good block position) I accepted the double.

    He then proceeded to get no less than 5 doubles in a row, and doubles that he needed to overcome the 6:1 block. (in other words the I had two counters in position 6, 7 and 8.

    So, firstly, from a disadvantageous position he doubles, and then proceeds to shoot to the front.

    I’m also amazed at the number of times I take a calculated risk “oh, I’ll expose THAT piece because he can only get me on an 8, and he has to roll a 5:3 to get that 8… pretty statistically unlike… oh he just got a 5:3”

    Or the guy who refused a resign for 1 point because you’re on the bar, and you’ve got only to get that one piece off the bar to go around and get one piece out to make it a 1 point loss, and statistically the chances are pretty small that he’ll get higher than 1 point… but you roll 1:2, 1:2, 1:1, 1:2.

    I dunno, yes, they happen in real games, but they seem to happen with incredible frequency in internet backgammon.

  144. shahyn says:

    what are the “probability” of having double 6 for 3 times in a roll, then 3 double 4, then 2 6-5??? calculate the odds yourself

  145. Resignated says:

    suggestion: the game Provider could publish the RNG-seed related to your game after finishing it … Fair n honest but Utopia in our “modern times” , right ?

  146. Iknowyou says:

    Quitters! I know you are the quitters! I play this game and you quit quit quit. All you here are the same people. You are all the quitters.

  147. Joe says:

    Well W10 does not have it so it will fade away. Too bad in a way because the graphics and interface were very good.

    • SotoVotoMoto says:

      That’s right. MS tried to drop these games after WinXP. These weren’t included with Vista back in 2007. Then when Vista failed they brought the internet games back with Win7 in 2009. MS dropped the internet games again with Win8 in 2012 and they haven’t been included since. Even though all support for XP is long over, I think the XP Intenet games still work. Win7 versions still work although poorly coded and often unstable and/or unavailable. They’ll let these games die off as the licenses of the old OSs are replaced and eventually turn off the servers.

  148. Tony Vignone says:

    To quote you:
    “How do people really cheat? They do it by getting a program like GNU Backgammon and using it to advise them on strategy. You won’t see them forcing good dice rolls for themselves more often than chance because that’s not what they’re doing. They’re simply playing better than you with fair dice”

    I agree that when after the roll, there is a DELAY IN THEIR MOVE. They are getting advise. That’s fine with me. They simply have a kibitzer.

    However, why is there a DELAY IN THEIR ROLL? Why does a player not roll for a long time? There is no logical explanation for using a kibitzer to evaluate anything BEFORE the roll, especially BEFORE THE FIRST ROLL. The only thing I can deduce is that they are requesting a roll from some software. And that usually happens. When there is only one combination of 2 dice required for an opponent to get out of a loosing situation, there is a long pause before the roll, and then that 1 in 36 roll more than not occurs.

    Can you explain a better reason for a DELAYED FIRST ROLL?

    • SotoVotoMoto says:

      How do you request a roll from some software?

      • Tony Vignone says:

        Another question does not answer a question.
        The question remains:

        Can you explain a better reason for a DELAYED FIRST ROLL?

      • SotoVotoMoto says:

        The reason for a DELAYED FIRST ROLL is that the other player has not hit the Roll button yet.

  149. SotoVotoMoto says:

    Some people believe there is an association with the amount of time between rolls and the numbers that come up on the dice…as though the number generator is taking the waiting time value to generate the dice values. Some believe if they double they will get advantageous dice rolls. None of these things are true but this is probably why people wait a while before throwing dice. Or they are just being an ass. Or the game or server or network hiccups and takes some time to resend. Or as you said maybe they are requesting a roll from some software.

    I am no statistician, but isn’t it a 2 in 36 roll? For instance, if a player must have a 2 and a 6 and only that to save them, aren’t there two ways to get that with two dice? A 2-6 or a 6-2. So that would be odds of 36-2 or 16-1? I may not have this right though. Odds of rolling a specific doubles … say double 5s and only double 5s…I think that is 36-1.

    • Your probabilities are correct. The odds of a specific pair of numbers is 1 in 16 and specific doubles is 1 in 36. More often, someone is looking for a specific number, say a 6 on either die or both dice. The odds of that is 16 in 36 (4 in 9), or slightly less than one-half, because there are seven ways to get a single six: 1-6, 2-6, 3-6, 4-6, 5-6, 6-6, 6-5, 6-4, 6-3, 6-2, 6-1; and five ways to get a combination that adds to six: 1-5, 2-4, 3-3, 4-2, 5-1. People often seem surprised that their opponent needed a six to hit them and got it. Other numbers, like needing a 1 to hit you are a little less likely, but still high (12 in 36, or one-third).

  150. SotoVotoMoto says:

    Thanks for the info especially about just needing one number on either die to hit. There are many times I leave a piece open and sit there and say to myself “Don’t roll a 4 Don’t roll a 4” but I never knew what the odds were that one of the dice would come up with a specific number. That is good to know.

  151. SotoVotoMoto says:

    I’ve been thinking about the claims of Tony Vignone and many many others that there must exist some type of program that allows a player to substitute their own desired dice rolls for the rolls that are generated by the program. I’m pretty skeptical. First of all, there are millions of active Win7 licenses now, so there are thousands…maybe even tens of thousands of people playing Internet Backgammon at any given time. The odds of actually playing the same person even once are slim, but the same person over and over? Hardly. Yet these people claim that the users throwing impossibly lucky rolls happens often…over and over…all the time. So A LOT of people would need to have this cheat program. Hundreds at least. So if that many people can get a cheat program, why can’t Tony? If existed, think something like that so prevalent would be hard to find? Of course not.
    But ok…let’s say someone wants to architect a program like this. The program that runs Internet Backgammon is bckgzm.exe. It doesn’t write any data to disk or generate a temp file of any kind, ( there is a .mui file and a prefetch but these are no help to the programmer) so it’s i/o goes directly to the network for transport to the server. So for such a program to even be possible, the dice rolls would have to be generated locally and passed to the server. If they are generated on the server then forget it. So let’s say they are produced locally or the conversation is moot. The cheat program would have to be able to identify and intercept the network packets generated by the bckgzm program, and then parse the binary data in those packets to find which bits are the dice values. Then the cheat program would have to substitute the user supplied dice values into the packets and resend them on their way. Whew! I’m not saying this is impossible, impossible is a very strong word. But to do this would require significant effort and tools, particularly the effort. This would be a really substantial amount of work. And the return on investment for this much work? Hmmm.
    So there is a program that took a great deal of time and perspiration to create, that many people have. But no one can find it. And the reward is the ability to cheat at Windows Internet Backgammon. Yeah…ok…maybe…I guess.

  152. Tony Vignone says:

    You said,
    “They do it by getting a program like GNU Backgammon and using it to advise them on strategy. … But they’re playing more slowly because they have to keep consulting the program to get advice before making their moves.”

    OK, I have no problem for anyone moving slowly because they are getting advice on making their move. But how do you explain the delay in rolling? What advice are they obtaining to merely roll?

    You know as well as I that they are setting themselves up for a favorable roll or setting you up for a blocked re-entry after being hit. When I play for 3 to 4 hours, I get an average of 4 double sixes when trying to re-enter when my opponents have only their 6 point covered. This happens only when there is a delay in the roll, not the play.

  153. Tony Vignone says:

    78 and playing for 50 years. I am guessing 18 high school dropout.
    Q still: What advice are they obtaining to merely roll?
    And stop answering like a teenager with Argumentum ad Hominem.

    • SotoVotoMoto says:

      Ah…78…that explains it. They are getting advice from a very popular software utility. It over-rides the backgammon program with advantageous rolls for everyone who has it.

      • Paul says:

        Don’t get it….
        Microsoft backgammon is totally random and reflects what I have seen in my 30+ years of playing live players. The better players out there are the best because they know how to roll high doubles when required. The poor players routinely roll say double sixes when knocked off and the six spot is blocked. The better players also go first 70% of the time; they know how to roll.

        Really, this happens in live play at championships.

    • Paul says:


      I was being sarcastic…

      MS backgammon in my opinion is totally rigged. Personally, I think it’s the program itself. Perhaps some individuals hack into the games; I would think this scenario is more science fiction. I played about 100 series and hundreds of individual games. Most of the games themselves were totally whacked; by far and away not reflecting live play.

      • SotoVotoMoto says:

        I know you have been playing for 30+ years, but Tony Vignone has been playing for over 50 years. He is convinced of the existence of a cheat program that many of the opponents that he draws use against him. He feels that if they delay hitting the “roll” button then they must be using this program to choose their own dice values. This happens to him a lot so many people must have the secret program. 78 years young and still gammoning strong…TVig must know what he is talking about.

      • Paul says:

        I hear you. I played about 100 matches and a few hundred games. My take is as follow:

        1) The game itself is rigged. MS Backgammon incorporates GNU or something similar. Say the game does 5 random rolls and picks either the best or worst combination; that may explain the delay.

        2) The game itself will analyze my rolls say with GNU. If my rating is high, it will go into rigged mode as above.

        3) The game is free because the sponsor makes money off the advertisement. Mediocre players are, therefore; helped out so they will continue to play. Since the game is rigged, good players will get disgusted and drop out. There are many more mediocre players… Sponsors make more money.

        4) If there are programs out there that cheaters use to somehow manipulate MS backgammon, very few people are aware of it. There could be some very brilliant hackers out there. I did notice that one player had a 2300 rating and played 20000+ games!! That would support people having a cheat program. Also, anyone with a rating over 2000, never played me.

  154. SotoVotoMoto says:

    Paul…but that is live players. For MS Internet Backgammon, the better players who roll high doubles when required are using a secret though widespread hack utility that lets the better player substitute their own desired dice values. The poor players who only roll double sixes when knocked off and the six spot is blocked do not have this valuable program. The live players who know how to roll go first 70% of the time. The MS Internet Backgammon players who go first 70% of the time have the coveted program as well.

  155. Zebb mahoun says:

    Why dont we all admit it and face the truth, The Backgammon in windows has NO random generator for the outcome of the rolled dices. Its ALL prepared, calculated combinations in relation to the actual set-up in a particular game.
    The worst ever backgammon internet game! The WORST.

    • SotoVotoMoto says:

      Well Zebb, I suppose that’s possible. But I just have trouble accepting the thought process behind it. They throw in these games with the OS, but someone decides that “hey lets make the backgammon game not a real game. Let’s pre-program the outcome of every game.” Any ideas what the reasoning behind that might be? The game has nice graphics and well designed for mouse clicks, why would they make it a fake game? Help me understand why you think this might be the case. Thanks.

  156. Zebb Mahoun says:

    Jesus, that was along line of comments regarding windows Backgammon.
    My point is that its no way y can cheat,
    The cheater here is the so called random generator which is no random generator.
    I play this stupid game when I for ex is waiting for a call.
    Examples of stupidity in this game:
    The so called generator deliberately gives you dices that does not give y any chance of getting out of a situation. It creates problems for y since I beleive the generantor is not a generator but at ALL TIMES pre-set rolls of dices prepared after all possible situations that can occur.
    Its all a laughing matter Windows Backgammon-
    I dont really know ewhy I keep coming back to it??? Beyond my…….
    Another example: If I dbl before its my turn to roll the first role, I can get a favourable set-up of the dices that hits the oponent if he for example has left a blank(single pawn)
    I dontr give a damn here about odds or expectations, Here its to play against a prefabricated game in EVERY situation that might occur.
    The EVER worst game I have ever imagined.
    Support or feedback from Windows?
    Forget it!

  157. SotoVotoMoto says:

    OK Zebb and thanks for making those points. Your anger and dissatisfaction with the game is loud and clear. I don’t know why you keep coming back to it either. Beyond your ……
    So Zebb feels every roll is pre-determined. Tony Vignone feels that there is a software utility that many people have that allows a player to substitute desired dice rolls for the one generated by the game.

  158. Lou says:

    Sorry I didn’t read all of the entries to see if my question has been addressed. I’m wondering if players who are more interested in their stats than in playing the game have figured out a way to instigate an error code when they are losing. I have had error codes end the game when I am losing but it seems to me it is much more frequent when I am winning.
    I do agree that the dice roll is not likely random but my take is that this is Microsoft’s doing rather than some secret software. I’m guessing they want to make the free game so frustrating that real players are inspired to go to the paid site.
    Still, free backgammon is one of my favorite time wasters. If anyone is really so desperate to win that they would use secret software to improve their rolls I figure it’s no skin off my back. There is one guy who plays the game solely to win by making his opponent quit. He claims his victory is in making people mad. I couldn’t care less about my stats so I am happy to give him the game when he starts mucking about. If he would invest in the secret software I’d play through to the end and give him the benefit of the doubt.
    Anyway, the error codes are what make me most suspicious. How could such a popular game made by the world’s foremost software creator be plagued with so many errors?

    • SotoVotoMoto says:

      Microsoft is the world’s foremost software creator? How did we warp to 1993?
      Regardless, the errors you reference resolve to the Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) processes running on the server. The configuration of the client system is not a factor.

  159. Colleen says:

    Well I did not vote for Obama so you know right where you can stick it it’s the computer that’s frightened people like myself just like Banks do just like any other computer nerd does they know how to set the system up and they know how to win each time

    • SotoVotoMoto says:

      This is actually a pretty interesting post. I wonder which one Colleen was replying too. I have never made the leap between politics and backgammon so I’m not sure where she is going with that. Also, I don’t suffer from irrational fear of objects or entities but I am sure that those who do find the effects profound. The interesting part is the punctuation and capitalization. I know…punctuation is rarely interesting, but here I am intrigued. It is one long, run-on sentence, yet Colleen makes the point of using punctuation for contractions. Also, while most of the sentences do not start with a capital letter (at least where sentences would be if periods were used), there is use of capital letters at the beginning, for the pronoun “I”, for a proper name, and another curious usage for the noun “Banks”. It is sort of a modified ee cummings vibe.

  160. john says:

    The program ‘punishes’ risky moves. Can anyone disagree?

  161. Sherman says:

    Bullshit… the cheating is done by the site program. Players that pay for game chips are going to lose so that they will buy more chips… until they too figure out that the site is gaming them…there is no question whatsoever. The improbable perfect rolls at the perfect time in many cases defy all probability odds

    • SotoVotoMoto says:

      Sherman…I think you might be referring to a different game. This forum concerns Internet Backgammon. It is a bundled game program that came with Windows XP and Windows 7. There are no “game chips” or the capacity to buy anything in this game. No worries…people confuse this with other backgammon games played on the internet all the time.

  162. Brian says:

    Interesting discussion. I have a PhD in statistics and computer simulation and play backgammon fairly well for fun and have used GNU to improve my game but not during a game against another player. I know the strategies and play fast and always spot the gamers using GNU to inform strategy.

    I agree though with those who have posted to say they suspect some players are somehow manipulating the game. I had one the other day. I had winning position in 4 games running and the only possible ‘lucky’ throw that allowed the component to escape occurred followed by a heavy run of doubles bearing off to win by one pip. I don’t quit games but that one I did.

    My final advice. Don’t ever play internet backgammon for money you are always playing a computer or a person using a computer. There are people out in Asia, Africa, Russia who get paid $10 per day to do this all day.

    • SotoVotoMoto says:

      Brian…someone with your credentials can certainly help here. As a PhD in computer simulation, you have strong skills in programming and program architecture. (you can’t get even a bachelor’s in CompSim, much less a PhD, without extensive programming classes and training.) So when you say that you agree that that some players are somehow manipulating the game, you must have some strong ideas how they might do that. Even a cursory check of a system running the game will give you the details you need to form an idea of how a player could manipulate the game. What do you think? How would someone go about doing that and what would it require to pull it off? I’m just asking for your thoughts and ideas on this, not anything concrete or specific. Thank you for any light you can shed.

  163. Stella Lewis says:

    If you play for the sake of playing the game then does it really matter whether you lose one or win one game? I am enjoying strategy and I accept a loss hoping to play better eventually. However, when I seem to be ahead more times than not the game is broken by the opponent who is about to lose or by the owner of the game or perhaps by someone who does not like the way I play! If you like the game why don’t you play it whether you win or lose?

  164. James T Smith says:

    Stella, grow some balls and then you’ll understand…

  165. Tony V says:

    Well, cheaters. You did it, No more Multiplayer Internet Backgammon!!!!! Microsoft got sick of you all as I did.

  166. cvco says:

    Ok. Ive played all my life and know the game well. The MS game on Win 8.1 is a big fradulent lie. Not only is it rigged, but its also had me in a noose for almost 2 years now. You can get to 1710 and then it forces itself to win until you are back down to 1675 and then lets you start winning again. When you hit 1705, 1708, the winning stops and here you go again. I dont want a game hack, I want a way to hook up a IP cam to my real dice cup, let the game see the real random roll and move the men accordingly. Thats all I want. The Settings are BS too, all the dice rolls are the same, and Easy, Med and Hard levels is also a lie. I play at Hard level and its actually the Easy level. Hard is supposed to be a 1-point game but its really 2-points. I have tried mixing levels and different dice rolls and its all the same. In a real game, I cannot predict the rolls. In Win 8.1 game, I can predict the rolls 61% of the time. WHY is that? That alone defies logic and statistics. Its very frustrating to play this but I dont have anything else. Im very impressed by how the top players in the world got to 2400. Id like talk to them! Did they hit the 1700 ceiling and then switch dice, levels and playing strategies? What happened?

  167. walker dude says:

    You can also see that getting a six and five – 5,6; 6,5 – is twice as likely as getting double fives – 5,5 – but exactly as likely as getting either double sixes or double fives – 6,6; 5,5.

    this makes no bench

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