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Old 02-11-2009, 11:34 AM   #1
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Making a living playing backgammon

How good would you have to be to make a living playing (i.e. not coaching, writing books/articles etc.) backgammon? Could the 100th best player in the world do it? Also for those people that do make a living playing bg how much of that are from tournaments and how much from money games?

Also are there people grinding out a living at online backgammon like at online poker or is there not enough traffic for that?
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Old 02-11-2009, 11:41 AM   #2
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Re: Making a living playing backgammon

I spoke with Dane Pia Jeppesen last year and she said that her primary form of income was from backgammon. She just made 3 finals on the BG on Board cruise:

http://www.chicagopoint.com/results.html

Not sure how much she plays online.
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Old 02-11-2009, 12:47 PM   #3
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Re: Making a living playing backgammon

The summer two year's ago I turned $50 into $1200 on PartyGammon within two and a half months. This was my take to paying my tuition without having to borrow money. If I remember correctly I used a bankroll management of 100 points. Those days there were a lot of bad players on PG and I moved up to 3/24 pretty quickly. I kept grinding that because there were some really lousy players on that level.

Then I had to cash out and kept only $100 to play for fun and possibly grind up again.
But when I started playing again two months or so later, I found that all the fish had either gone or wouldn't play with me anymore. I think I averaged around a 5 Snowie rating and suddenly I wouldn't play against fish anymore but also against players rated 6-7 or stronger.

I felt there wasn't enough edge in it anymore and turned my attention to poker.
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Old 02-11-2009, 07:56 PM   #4
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Re: Making a living playing backgammon

Regarding online play: one weird thing about online backgammon is that many of the sites give ratings to the players. If you win, your rating goes up, lose, and your rating goes down. At some sites the rake may even depend on the rating difference. Why would anyone want to play for money with someone rated higher than them? You can tank some games to lower your rating, but this is obviously against the terms of service. Anyway, this is probably an impediment to grinding out a living online--it should be harder to find fish if they can look and see you are consistently winning. Maybe others can tell you whether this is actually the case. (Despite my username, I'm an amateur--no way was I ever good enough to take on comers, but I made a few hundred at a couple sites.)
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Old 02-12-2009, 03:21 AM   #5
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Re: Making a living playing backgammon

PartyGammon used to have ratings and then abandoned them. Maybe to charge more rake on all games, who knows. This was kind of helpful in the beginning, but after a certain time, players who you beat tend to avoid you anyway - because there are so few regulars there.

On GammonEmpire and its kin there are ratings and they charge serious rake if the rating of both players differ seriously.

I guess the way to go is to become world class and play the high stakes. I don't believe in grinding it anymore.
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Old 03-25-2009, 10:33 PM   #6
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Re: Making a living playing backgammon

I think that giving players ratings is horrible for anyone trying to make a living at the game. I mean, c'mon now...
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Old 03-29-2009, 07:52 AM   #7
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Re: Making a living playing backgammon

Quote:
Originally Posted by kerr View Post
I spoke with Dane Pia Jeppesen last year and she said that her primary form of income was from backgammon. She just made 3 finals on the BG on Board cruise:

http://www.chicagopoint.com/results.html

Not sure how much she plays online.
I was at a tournament yesterday with Pia and she told me that one of her finals paied nothing and another got her the buyin back. It looks a lot better on paper than it really was
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Old 03-29-2009, 11:30 AM   #8
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Re: Making a living playing backgammon

That's why poker is the nuts!
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Old 03-31-2009, 05:22 PM   #9
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Re: Making a living playing backgammon

Coming from a backgammon background of having <20 windows XP internet backgammon and live games under my belt, I gotta ask, isn't backgammon solved? I know checkers was recently solved, and backgammon seems pretty much the same to me as level of complexity (or does the dice mean there will always be slight ways to get a small edge, like closed games in chess vs computers?). In any case couldn't someone cheat and use a prog playing optimal/nearly optimal to make a decent profit vs non bots or something?
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Old 04-01-2009, 06:16 AM   #10
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Re: Making a living playing backgammon

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Originally Posted by LasFuentes View Post
In any case couldn't someone cheat and use a prog playing optimal/nearly optimal to make a decent profit vs non bots or something?
Sadly, this is already happening. Most botcheaters play at lower stakes because there's little chance that their opponents are educated enough to see that they are getting cheated.

The way I encouter this is that I stop playing an opponen if I feel he is making strange decitions (that humans normally wouldn't) that turns up to be boarderline or even best move.

For example most players move the "forced" checkers first. In a bear off with one of your opponents traped on the bar you might roll 55 having 3 checkers on your 6-point and 2 on your 5-point. Most humans wou start moving 2 from the 6-point and 1 off from the 5-point and consider how to play the last checker. If someone moves with a steady pace just moving one checker at a time makes this move with out thinking I would certainly be on my guard.

Those programed bots have the same response time no matter how complex a position is.

My best advice to not get cheated is to stop if you feel something is wrong. Analyse your games with Gnu or Snowie and never play that "person" again if he is bot like good.
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Old 04-01-2009, 07:51 AM   #11
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Re: Making a living playing backgammon

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Originally Posted by Hallberg View Post
The way I encouter this is that I stop playing an opponen if I feel he is making strange decitions (that humans normally wouldn't) that turns up to be boarderline or even best move.
This could also happen against a strong player. I remember analysing some of my games with Snowie, where I thought the opponent was a donk, but Snowie rated him world-class.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hallberg View Post
For example most players move the "forced" checkers first. In a bear off with one of your opponents traped on the bar you might roll 55 having 3 checkers on your 6-point and 2 on your 5-point. Most humans wou start moving 2 from the 6-point and 1 off from the 5-point and consider how to play the last checker. If someone moves with a steady pace just moving one checker at a time makes this move with out thinking I would certainly be on my guard.
This is a more serious tell. Especially when moving doubles, almost all humans play the forced moves (or the obvious moves) first.

I once tried to play at BackgammonMasters because the games seemed so juicy there, with players double hitting loose at first sight and stuff like that.

What then happened to me was that my primes got jumped most easily, doubles to win the race also came easily and on top of that: the doubles were mostly moved the way you described it and the prime jumps were usually the second checker move.

After losing 100 points within two days, I became very suspicious and stopped playing there.

Quote:
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Those programed bots have the same response time no matter how complex a position is.
A really smart bot programmer would see to it that this wouldn't be the case (-:
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Old 04-05-2009, 02:55 PM   #12
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Re: Making a living playing backgammon

Last I checked they still have the ratings on PG but just don't show them. If you look in the saved game file, it lists the ratings of you and your opponent. Obv you have to play a game before you see someone's rating, but I would use it to decide whether I'd play a re-match.
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Old 04-11-2009, 10:53 PM   #13
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Re: Making a living playing backgammon

So if you suspect someone for botting vs you in a real money game does anything happen if you report him (i.e. confiscate winnings/ban etc.)? Do sites monitor if you're running additional software while playing?
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Old 04-11-2009, 11:08 PM   #14
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Re: Making a living playing backgammon

I was just reading Chris Bray's Backgammon for Dummies (like me) and he said sites have software that can detect if someone is playing moves that a bot would play and raise a red flag. Didn't give any specifics though.
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Old 04-16-2009, 04:16 PM   #15
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Re: Making a living playing backgammon

It doesnt really matter how strong you play,it only matters how strong you are compared to the games you have.If you have no juicy livegames,and that what i think is the case,better go working.
Online theres no more money to be made,onlineBG is virtually dead.
The problems for a +EV player who only plays to make profit and not for fun are countless:
-ratings and progressive rake
-rake ist too expensive in general
-cheating from bots
-cheating manually with snowie
-loads of really strong sharks still waiting on several BG-sites sometimes 24h/day
-even if you manage to win,networks like skillempire will find a way not to pay you due to multiple accounting,rating manipulation and a lot more excuses to avoid your payday.
Live Backgammon you cant make any money: Besides the high costs for travelling there are no more moneygames now compared to tournaments 10-20 years ago,no more chouettes,no more propositions,and last but not least no more fresh fish,especially rich ones.
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Old 04-16-2009, 08:14 PM   #16
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Re: Making a living playing backgammon

How vicious is the on-line rake? I took a quick look at some site reviews, and got the impression 10% was standard as the juice for both players comes out of the per game winnings. I don't think it takes too long with backgammon as opposed to poker, for rookies to get proficient enough to make it unlikely a skilled player can overcome such a rake.
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Old 04-16-2009, 11:51 PM   #17
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Re: Making a living playing backgammon

Quote:
Originally Posted by moulino View Post
It doesnt really matter how strong you play,it only matters how strong you are compared to the games you have.If you have no juicy livegames,and that what i think is the case,better go working.
Online theres no more money to be made,onlineBG is virtually dead.
The problems for a +EV player who only plays to make profit and not for fun are countless:
-ratings and progressive rake
-rake ist too expensive in general
-cheating from bots
-cheating manually with snowie
-loads of really strong sharks still waiting on several BG-sites sometimes 24h/day
-even if you manage to win,networks like skillempire will find a way not to pay you due to multiple accounting,rating manipulation and a lot more excuses to avoid your payday.
Live Backgammon you cant make any money: Besides the high costs for travelling there are no more moneygames now compared to tournaments 10-20 years ago,no more chouettes,no more propositions,and last but not least no more fresh fish,especially rich ones.
This is the reason I can't bring myself to play online for money--I just don't see how sites can stop this from occurring.
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Old 04-17-2009, 12:48 AM   #18
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Re: Making a living playing backgammon

You can do a lot to prevent cheating:
Keep a book about oppenents.If someone plays 2-3 games snowie under 2,he will be flagged,actually it doesnt matter if he cheats or not.Hes too strong anyway.
You dont loose much playing 3 games against a bot at least in terms of equity.
If you catch an extraterrist,report him immediately to support,post his username here and in other forums.

Cheats happen allover the world,in real poker,onlinepoker,real backgammon and onlinebackgammon.Thats how it is.You should be very careful and aware that cheaters exist,but dont fall into parannoya that aything strange is a cheat.

If someone is interested in a rakebackdeal at checkraiser.eu(TMG-Skin) pl PM me.
(BTW 500 bucks added tourney /entry fee 20(+2) on 23rd of may 2009,for more infos and bonuscode pl send me private message)

Last edited by moulino; 04-17-2009 at 01:06 AM.
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Old 04-17-2009, 08:53 AM   #19
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Re: Making a living playing backgammon

Quote:
Originally Posted by moulino View Post
-loads of really strong sharks still waiting on several BG-sites sometimes 24h/day
I guess this is players like MrAtomchip, DryMartini and MissYoda...almost always on there ready to play for a few hundred euros.
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Old 04-20-2009, 12:06 PM   #20
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Re: Making a living playing backgammon

Look at all the backgammon pros entering poker.

Poker is where the money is.

nuff said.
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Old 06-05-2009, 12:05 PM   #21
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Re: Making a living playing backgammon

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Originally Posted by cashedout View Post
How vicious is the on-line rake? I took a quick look at some site reviews, and got the impression 10% was standard as the juice for both players comes out of the per game winnings. I don't think it takes too long with backgammon as opposed to poker, for rookies to get proficient enough to make it unlikely a skilled player can overcome such a rake.
I love backgammon, and I think it can be a lot of fun to play, especially live. So I really hate to **** all over my own parade here. Avid players and noobs alike can deny it all they want, but making a living playing bg is pretty much out of the question for virtually everyone, at least for now while there's not too much interest in bg in Western society. If you want to make a real living playing backgammon, you have to be really, really, really good. You have to be almost as good as big name players like Simborg/Magriel/Robertie to be really competitive in big money tournaments or in casual big money games. I've heard that those pros make good money ~50/hr playing online but to be that good you pretty much need like a PhD in backgammon.

Online rake is SOO, SOOO outrageously high. It goes anywhere from 10-25% per game played, which means you have to be a LOT better than your opponent, or just lucky, to ever come out ahead. That or you just have to win freerolls consistently, which is pretty impossible and even that combined with winning cash games wouldn't be much to write home about.

Still, that doesn't mean it's impossible to live off of backgammon. You just gotta think outside the box. Maybe you can't do it in America, but go over to Israel or Turkey where people play in the streets like 24/7 and throw some Shekels/Lira around if you're good. I doubt most people there know anything about GNUBG or Snowie and stuff like that. You could probably supplement whatever actual work you can find and live just traveling around in the middle east doing whatever for money and playing bg on the side. You would have a lot of fun and lead a life that no one here in America has ever seen, and you'd definitely have a lot to write home about.

But for everyone here who isn't crazy and wants to keep living a normal sedentary lazy Western lifestyle, just play your friends/family/coworkers for fun. If you live in a big city and you're a good player, try to find a good bg club where people play for good sums of money. I hear there's plenty of that in Chicago at least.

Keep throwin' them rolls, peace.

N_T
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