Coming from Outfield: The Rise on Online Backgammon.In April of this year, Irish bookmaker PaddyPower.com, became the first bookmaker in the world to launch live online multiplayer backgammon, provided by GameAccount.
In the same month, a brand new company was launched devoted entirely to backgammon and backed by the WorldWide Backgammon Federation. Backgammon Ltd is set to mark its launch with a flagship event, Backgammon$Million, which will consist of a series of international online tournaments, backed by an impressive list of high profile media partners, sponsors and private investors.
Following the online tournaments, which start in June, world champion backgammon players and celebrities will come together at a Real Time Final Event in the Bahamas in December 2005 to compete for a $1million prize pool.
The global market for backgammon has grown enormously with millions of people playing online and in real time locations around the world. According to Backgammon Ltd, the UK, Scandinavia and US will be key drivers of this business.
So it’s clear that online backgammon is taking the gambling community by storm – but what is it?
For the uninitiated, Backgammon is the oldest recorded game in history, believed to have originated thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt, Sumeria, or Mesopotamia. Backgammon computer software began to appear in the 1980s courtesy of IBM.
Backgammon is played on a board which has a track of twelve adjacent points on each side. White and Red players take turns to roll the dice and move their checkers around the board toward their ‘Home’ area – points 1 to 6. Points 7 to 12 are called ‘Outfield’. Once all of a player’s checkers are in the ‘Home’ area, they can start ‘bearing off’ – removing their checkers from the board. The first player to remove all their checkers from the board wins the match.
GameAccount’s Backgammon provides online access to the classic board game for two persons and adds to the excitement of a board game that’s far from boring, with the addition of a timer. GameAccount backgammon gives you 15 seconds to roll the dice and a further 40 seconds to make your moves, offering a viable alternative to poker with same real-time experience and element of skill.
The multiplayer wager types & tournament models offer players a number of ways to win cash prizes. Even non-players can wager on the outcome of the game giving, newbies a chance to learn the rules and win cash at the same time.
Tournaments are governed by the popular ‘Crawford Rules’, and ‘beavering’ is permitted, which allows a player that is doubled to immediately redouble (beaver), while retaining possession of the cube.
Just as you would expect with a game purporting to be ‘the next poker’, dynamic player ratings serve to make players feel part of a global online community and, with ‘online backgammon’ nearing 1,000,000 hits on Google, it looks like the revolution has begun.