Having defined the rules and the basic game types, it explains with excellent examples the principles of duplication and diversification, and the strength of the 5-point. It lays out rules for when to play boldly and when to play safe, when to split your back men and when not to split them. Many other basic and some not so basic backgammon concepts are explained. The author leads the reader on the journey from complete novice to competent player. The one area of the game which the book covers only lightly is doubling, but even here there are some gems. I recommend Backgammon Boot Camp instead because it contains some match theory and has a lot more about doubling theory.

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He was engaging as well as undeniably brilliant. Other than backgammon recognition, we shared the quirks of both having mothers who were Queen of Mardi Gras and having our birthdays exactly half a year apart: Feb 1 and July 1. Best three out of five 7-point matches.

They finished at midnight. The chess player won. Afterwards Paul sat down with the chess player and his buddy, another backgammon unknown, and analyzed the entire match with them throughout the night until 10AM the next day. I was the former chess player and that was the most instructive night of my life. My buddy from that memorable evening - Dan Harrington - agrees.

He just loved talking backgammon There is no way to describe in a few words what Paul Magriel meant to backgammon and to the people who knew him and loved him. Author of Backgammon, the most influential book on the game ever written, Paul was a great player, winner of countless backgammon and poker tournaments, a marvelous lecturer and a gifted teacher. Generous, kind, a voracious reader and very, very bright At times, it seemed like he was from a different planet.

Read the whole blog post here. Not only did he write the most famous backgammon book of all time, simply titled Backgammon, but he was incredibly sharing with all this knowledge to everyone he encountered. Maybe you all could help me out? Two prisoners are told they will be separated and each asked to flip a coin. Before they are separated they formulate a strategy to guess what the other one flipped.

What is their best strategy and what is the chance both guess correctly? Same question as 1, but the two prisoners have never met or communicated with each other. Does this change the answer? You play single 0 roulette as Paul often did , and can only bet on red or black. You must flat bet the same amount each spin. You can play for as long or short as you want. If you stop when you are losing, the casino gives you half your money back.

What is your best strategy? One morning, at sunrise, a monk began to climb a mountain, on a narrow path that wound around it. He climbed at varying rates of speed and stopped from time to time to rest or eat. At sunset, he reached the top, where there was a temple and remained there to meditate for several days. Then at sunrise, he started down on the same path again walking at varying rates of speed, though his average speed of descent was somewhat greater than his average speed of ascent.

Show that there is a spot along the path that he will occupy on both trips at exactly the same time of day. You are given a regular deck of 52 playing cards, randomly shuffled. In the pile you are given, 13 cards are face-up and the rest are face-down.

You take cards off your original deck one by one to create a new pile. You have in front of you a bag with 5 balls: 3 black and 2 white. You are permitted to draw one ball at a time without replacement. Each time you draw a white ball you receive a dollar.

When you draw a black ball you must pay a dollar. You can stop drawing anytime after the first ball. Would you want to play this game? A man leaves work randomly between 6am and 9am.

Newspaper is delivered randomly between 8am and 10am. What is the probability the man leaves with a newspaper? I will try and collate the answers you send and reply back when we have found them.

James or as X used to say, Jamessss! We were in Vermont at a tournament and my oldest son Ben who was about 13 at the time saw Paul and to my horror went up and asked him to play a game with him. Without a flinch Paul said sure and played one game with him which I thought was an incredible act of kindness.

About 20 years later I ran into him in Vegas at the Poker room where Joe was also playing, he came up and asked me if I wanted tickets to 0 which was I think at the Bellagio. They were great seats and I took my mother with me. His name was Moncznik in the 70s but we combined are named to Monro in He gave so much to the game -- in fact, in certain respects, he gave us the game. Thank you, Paul.

I recently shared a flight with Paul to the Los Angeles tournament I believe.. He had a small backgammon board with magnetic checkers and challenged me to a 10 move game for small stakes. The winner to be the player with the lowest error rate.

Midway through the game, Paul was so excited he dropped the board and I had to crawl around to find the checkers. We never finished that game. When we got to LA Paul realized he had lost his phone Paul was truly an absent minded professor. The great Paul Magriel passed away yesterday. He was a personal friend and fellow BLC teacher and I have had the great honor of knowing him, learning from him, and working with him.

Paul was a genius and visionary and loved the game and studying the game until the end. He will be missed. We were playing a five-point match in the last chance in Vegas or Reno maybe 30 years ago.

He stopped to consider whether to double me or not and took a good four or five minutes thinking about it. It was interesting watching his facial expressions as he was presumably doing some number crunching that a former math professor might be doing.

After he had made his decision he finally decided to roll. To my relief he stayed out, but then to my disappointment I also stayed out. He quickly rolled again but danced a second time. But to my misfortune I also danced again.

Then, quickly as a rattlesnake, he picked up the cube and slammed it down on the table with the two facing up.

Everyone watching the match burst out laughing but that was not unusual for the great "X" to pull a surprise like that.

I did take the cube but have no idea who won the game or the match. It was great to have known him not only for his generous sharing of knowledge but to witness funny scenes like this one.

This really happened as well. He on the E. If he could not find all 30 checkers he would lose that game. Paul ruled backgammon from his base at the Mayfair club in NYC. He was our celebrity and we all admired how this former math teacher taught us all the game of backgammon with his amazing insights. His book "Backgammon" was wonderful and taught a great deal of players.

He was a great ambassador of backgammon over his entire life even when he switched primarily to poker. He created a far different persona in poker than he had in backgammon.

He wanted to be tough to figure out. We reunited a year ago at the LA tournament after so many years and had so many memories to share. When Lucille Ball asked Paul who she should ask for lessons in Los Angeles, without hesitation he recommended me. I never knew that until Paul told me that last year.. That opened up a lot of doors for me for sure. Thank you Paul. His passion for games and his infectious enthusiasm for sharing with others in many ways trumped his tragic self-destructive life.

Was he too intelligent for his own mind that drove him to drugs? Why did he only ever publish one book when every time I saw him over the last decade he was always working on further ones that he never put down on paper? Why was his backgammon only great not world-class in his later years? Why was he always stone cold broke? Yet never ever asked me for money.

Starting out on the bg circuit in 98, I was astonished when X used to come up and ask me what I would play in certain positions. How many other people at the top of any field behave like this? I had only started poker the week before so it was quite high stakes for back then but we played every afternoon, evening and night for a month and sat over breakfast at 4am each morning analysing all the hands and the theory.

And I won over the month even as a novice thanks to him! I lost a last 16 marathon match in Monaco to him some time in ish.


Paul Magriel




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