Splitting vs. Slotting Checkers in Backgammon

The question of whether to split the checkers in Backgammon or slotting in is a question that will often be faced by new players. If you are new to the game, learning which options to exercise will be very important in helping you be a better player.

The answer as to which one should be used will depend on the situation. Of course, slotting the 5 point will be paramount; whenever you get the chance you should aim for this, as it will give you a huge advantage. However if your opponent manages to slot in the five point as well, it could lead to a prime vs. prime, making the game more complex.

Splitting checkers usually leads to less complex situations, as it often scatters the board and also to more offense oriented game types, like high anchors or the running game.

Take the 21 dice roll for example. If you opt for the slot via a 13/11 play, you will likely get the 5 point and you will get the heavy pieces uncluttered. However, by going for the split, you will increase your chances of getting an anchor on your Backgammon opponent's board.

The same arguments can be made when you play Backgammon rolls like 41; you will have the opportunity to slot in important points, but by splitting you will get plenty of opportunities to hit back the opposing checkers. In this instances, you will have to make the call based on what you think is the best for you at the moment.

If you are a highly skilled player, the proper Backgammon strategy would be to play the slot game more often. The more complex the board becomes, the more likely your skills advantages will play a part as your opponent starts making mistakes. If you are a new player, obviously you will want o keep things as uncomplicated as possible.

However, the situation is different when you are playing in Backgammon tournaments. Here you will resort to slotting if you are behind, as it will often slow the game down, allowing you to get more dice rolls that can change the situation. If you are ahead, then you will want to end the match as quickly as possible, so go for the more straightforward approach.

As you can see, splitting and slotting in Backgammon is very situational. Both have their uses, and deciding which one to avail of will depend on the circumstances of the game and your skills. The advantage of knowing both, however, is that you will get to exercise either one of them efficiently when the situation calls for it.