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Poker Psychology Applied in Backgammon
Any poker expert recognizes that the determination of a flaw in the game of an opponent and making a move on it is very important. For instance, let's say that an opponent rarely bluffs. The natural reaction is to only call on his bets when you possess a strong hand yourself which you are hoping that could defeat his legal hand. If that is not a possibility, you fold. That is basic.
What is tougher is to make an opponent equally less possible to bluff on you, because if he chooses to bluff on you chances is his bluff will be successful. How can this be accomplished? By simply pretending to call his wager, even though the opposite is the truth. Place aggressive bets on this player at the onset of his hand to show the stability of your hand.
The same principle holds true for backgammon. The mysteries of the cards are conspicuously absent because everything is visible. The only thing unknown is your mindset. If you are up against a player who is not adept with the doubling cube, you will exert all effort to make him slower to double so that he will pass on some good opportunities for such. Do some advance planning on whether or not you are going to take the chance and double. The purpose is to make your opponent assume that you are going to do so more of the time than you really intend to.
If you are up against a hesitant opponent in poker who folds many times, it is advantageous to bluff on his bet. Of course, your intention is to make him fold a lot more so that the chances of bluff becoming successful will be greater.
In backgammon, the same scenario can be applied when pondering on doubling. If your opponent tends to ignore doubles, then double ahead of the time you usually would - chances are, he might pass again. When you rotate the cube, do it in such a way that you deem you have a strong double whether it's the case or not. This may rattle his trust in his decision and lead him to surrender when he possesses a strong take. At the onset of an extended session it is most of the times helpful to roll out a minor double just to catch his attention. This will come in handy in your succeeding judgments.
If you think that the other player is a taker, of course you delay doubling on minor positions. You can standby for a spin to check if your situation develops, and your opponent will possibly take again though he has a correct move.
When up against this type of opponent you double hesitantly, making it seem that you are uncertain of your double. This will encourage him to take more loosely than usual.
These scenarios demonstrate how winning strategies in poker can be applied to backgammon. While the positions are visible to the two players, in contrast to concealed hands in poker, similar tactics ensure success. It is not the hands you have or the position you are on in backgammon that is essential. What counts is the mindset and viewpoints of your opponent.
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