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May 22, 2012

Phil's facebook videos - post 1

Phil Simborg has been making short videos for the USBGF facebook page for several months.  See link at right of my blog.

I started watching these with a serious eye, including making notes.  Below is the first installment of my notes from Phil's videos.  Highly recommended!!


1/17/12.  Reply rolls.  6X-1X and 6X-6X.

When you hit with the ace, play the other number down from the midpoint.

When you hit with the six, split the other number from the 24 point.

1/19/12. Bear-in Tip

A close Race without contact, use and ace or deuce to fill in the 4 point or 5 point gap.

Don’t stack heavy on the 6 point to save a crossover. Over the longish race, it is worth it to fill in the gap.  Idea is that later 5’s or 4’s that gap play really bad.

Don’t slot the 3 point, 2 point, 1 point.  Here your “gap numbers” play OK as they fill in thelower point gaps.

1/24/12. XG Tip

+ button is a 3600 game rollout

Analyze / Cube Information shows Takepoints and Gammon Values at various match scores.

1/26/12. Joe Sylvester principle “Offense Offense”, “Defence Defence.”

When on offensive, make the aggressive offensive play.

When on defensive, make the more prudent defensive play.

Example.  41S-22N-43?  You are on defense, so you should grab the defensive 5 point anchor rather than the offensive 5 point.  24/20, 21/20 is the right play.

Example.  A made up position.  You have 2 home points to 1 for the opponent so this time you are on the offense and make the 5 point in your home board rather than the defensive 5 point anchor.

1/29/12.  Reference Position.  Ace Point game. 

1.       Typical Ace game

a.       Strong side wins about 15% gammons.

b.      Weak side wins about 15% games.

2.       Three on Ace point

a.       Strong side wins about 32% gammons

b.      Weak side wins about 18% games

3.       Four on Ace point

a.       Strong side wins about 50% gammons

b.      Weak side wins about 19% games

2/3/12. Pip Counting, Jack Kissane’s Cluster Counting

Mirrors or 2 opposed checkers = 25 pips

Closed board = 42 pips

Midpoint + Barpoint = 20 pips

2/9/12.  Unknown.  Video not available.

2/13/12. XG Tip

Counting or checking market losers.   

Use Analyze / Dice Distribution / Details tab.

Shows how to play all rolls along with equity after the roll, a one-ply analysis.

Click the Expand button for a two-ply analysis.

2/19/12.  Playing Doubles

Up in the race, race.  Best game plan is to break contact and come home safe.

Behind in the race, stay back.  Goal is keep contact, and hit a shot later.

2/21/12.  Pay Now or Pay Later

In the example, pay now b/c only 6 indirect shots and blot in the home board.  The blot is important since it gives you life after death if you are hit.

You are likely to leave an indirect later anyway … and the opponent’s board is improving so you might as well pay now.

Some general factors to consider:

1.       How likely to leave a shot later?

2.       How does the alternative play?

3.       Is there a blot in opponent’s home board? (ie, is there life after death?)

2/23/12. Checker play

Think about game plan.  How are you most likely to win this game?  Race, Prime, Attack, etc.

In the example, the player broke the 6 point to continue the blitz.  6/2*/1  put a second checker on the bar while covering the ace point.  But blitzing was the wrong game plan.  Better was a priming play, 24/20, 10/9.

Think strategy first, then consider which individual checker plays best fit the strategy.

2/24/12.  How to become an expert checker player

Learn the opening moves.

Then learn the reply rolls.

Then learn the third moves!!

Try to understand why the best moves are best!!

Example of some reply rolls.

61P-41.  Don’t slot b/c you get hit too often

61P-51.  Don’t slot b/c you don’t cover enough when opponent misses.

61P-21.  Slot since you cover about ½ time (% misses x % covers)

2/26/12.  Prime vs. Prime cube

Woolsey’s Law.  Are you sure it’s a take.  If not sure, then double!

Stick’s PVP Law.  Most Prime vs Prime positions are takes. 

Why?  Most ‘normal’ PVP allow the underdog to win ~30% or more.   As long as the net gammon differential is 16% or less it is a take.

O’Hagan’s Law of Market Losers.   Look for 25% Net market losers or 9 of 36 rolls in order to double.  In the example, any 6 jumping the prime is a market loser (or 11 rolls), less anti-jokers like 44 or 33, so 9 market losers.  In addition, you have anti-jokers the opponent could roll.  Like he crunches with 55, 44, 33.  So, about 10-11 market losers in the example.

Net Market Losers = (Your crushing rolls) – (your anti-jokers) + (his anti-jokers)

3/2/12.  Revese Woolsey’s Law.

A tip for take/drop decisions.

Reverse Woolsey’s Law.  When considering a take/drop decision, consider from your opponent’s shoes.  Are you sure he should double?  If you are not even sure it is a double, then for sure it is a take!!  This is the essence of “Reverse Woolsey’s Law.”

Of course if opponent may be too good, then it is obviously a drop!!

3/5/12.  Example of Doubling Process.

1)      Woolsey’s Law.  Are you sure it’s a take?  No, Then double. Yes, consider market losers.

2)      O’Hagan’s Law.  Looking for ~25% market losers to double.  (adjust a bit more if ahead in match and a bit less if behind in match

Human factor.  An early double can be right if opponent drops.  Note the % on the bottom left of XG display shows how often opponent needs to drop to justify a “bluff double”

3/8/12.  2 away 4 away Cube example

61P-52S-C?  This is a small double b/c of the special score.  The reason why is the gammon value of 1.0 at this score.

Lesson.  Before each game, Phil advises you have an idea what takepoints and gammon values are at the current match score.  What is your cube and checker strategy at this score?

At 4 away 2 away, the trailer is looking to double very fast.  Be alert!!

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