Adjusting Your Pip Count in Backgammon

The pip count is your measuring rod to figure out determine who is leading the race in backgammon. The term pip count simply means counting the total number of pips all your checkers have to run until you bear them off the board. That is a very basic definition of what a pip count is.

With that in mind, players might think that the pip count is rather simple since all you have to do is count the total number of points. The truth is that you still have to adjust your pip count to wastage in order for it to be more accurate. You should make this adjustment in order for you to gauge not only which player is leading but you also use an adjusted pip count for cube decisions.

You would normally adjust your pip count in backgammon according to wastage. Wastage obviously means numbers on your dice rolls that do not help you progress forward in the pip count. These usually slow you down in the race thus you should adjust your pip count according to how much momentum you lose due to wastage.

You normally have wastage if you cross over, have gaps in your checker position, and have high stacks of checkers. We'll go over what a cross over is first and then move on with the rest of the sources of wastage in backgammon. The backgammon board is technically divided into four quadrants. Once you jump a backgammon checker from one quadrant to the next this is called a cross over. A cross over is not much of an adjustment in the pip count but it is a source of wastage in backgammon.

One big source of wastage for your pip count are gaps on your checker position. Once you have all your checkers in your home board the presence of gaps in your position tend to be a big source of wastage in the pip count. If you roll the dice and land a checker onto the gap you will have to use another dice roll to get that checker off the gap and bear it off. To avoid this you should fill whatever gaps there is when making home board points.

High stacks of checkers are also contributors to wastage on your pip count. Having high stacks on the backgammon board mean that you don't have a flexible position. You won't be able to use every dice roll to bear off backgammon checkers. You will instead be bringing checkers off the stack and moving them to closer to the Ace point. Knowing the sources of wastage in backgammon can help you adjust your pip count. An accurate pip count is an indispensable tool in the game.