The Art of Cube Handling: Advanced Techniques for Maximizing Equity


Cube handling is a fundamental aspect of backgammon that distinguishes the seasoned players from the novices. In the world of competitive backgammon, understanding advanced cube handling techniques is crucial for optimizing your equity and gaining an edge over your opponents. This article will explore the art of cube handling, delving into recube situations, recube avoidance, and the strategic management of cube actions to enhance your backgammon skills.

Understanding the Doubling Cube

Before delving into advanced techniques, it’s essential to revisit the basics of the doubling cube in backgammon. The doubling cube is a distinctive feature that adds complexity and excitement to the game. It starts at 1 and can be doubled at any time during the game. When a player receives a double, they have two choices: take or drop the cube. Taking the cube means they accept the proposed stake, while dropping the cube forfeits the game.

Recube Situations: Unleashing the Power of Redoubling

Recubing, or redoubling, is a technique that can dramatically impact the outcome of a game. It’s a strategic move that aims to maximize equity by challenging your opponent’s position. Here are some key aspects of recube situations:

1. Timing is Crucial: The timing of a recube is crucial. You should redouble when your position has improved and your winning chances have increased. Waiting for the right moment can create a more favorable equity shift.

2. Recube Vigilance: Be vigilant about your opponent’s potential recube opportunities. Recognize when your position is strong and can withstand a potential redouble, and be prepared to take advantage of it.

3. Recube Efficiency: Efficient recube usage can put pressure on your opponent. Redoubling forces them to make a critical decision, and they may drop the cube even if their position is not entirely hopeless, creating a favorable outcome for you.

4. Recube Avoidance: When to Avoid the Redouble

Avoiding the recube is as important as recognizing when to employ it. Here are some instances when avoiding a recube might be the wiser choice:

1. Equity Disadvantage: If your position is considerably worse than your opponent’s, attempting a recube is not advisable. They are likely to take the cube, and you may lose the game prematurely.

2. Premature Recube: Rushing to recube can be counterproductive. If your position has potential for improvement, consider waiting for a better opportunity to maximize equity.

3. Reverse Psychology: Occasionally, avoiding a recube can be a strategic move to induce your opponent to make mistakes. They may drop the cube when you have a more favorable position.

Managing Cube Actions: A Delicate Balance

Cube management is a delicate balancing act. Here are some strategies for effective cube actions:

1. Match Equity Cube Actions: In match play, consider the current match score when making cube decisions. If you’re leading in a long match, it may be more beneficial to play safe and aim for a gammon win rather than doubling aggressively.

2. Cube Ownership: Recognize that the player with the cube owns the equity, and the player without it owns the risk. Use this knowledge to your advantage when making cube decisions. When you’re the holder of the cube, you have control over the equity in the game.

3. The Art of Scaring Your Opponent: The cube can be used strategically to intimidate your opponent. Proposing a double even when you don’t intend to go through with it can lead to errors on their part, creating opportunities for you.

4. Mental Game: The psychological aspect of cube handling is essential. Maintain your composure and don’t let the cube actions of your opponent rattle you. Emotional control is key to making rational decisions.

Sample Scenario: Recubing for Equity

Imagine you’re in a match play game, and you’re leading 6-4 in a 9-point match. You have a strong position with excellent winning chances. At this point, it’s strategic to recube your opponent, even if you think they may take the cube. By recubing, you increase the potential swing in the match score. If they drop, you secure a gammon win and lead 8-4. If they take, you have a strong position to win the game and the match.


Advanced cube handling techniques are the hallmark of experienced backgammon players. Recube situations, recube avoidance, and the management of cube actions all contribute to maximizing equity and outmaneuvering your opponents. Understanding when to recube and when to avoid it, as well as how to manage the cube strategically, is essential for success in competitive backgammon. By mastering these advanced techniques, you can further elevate your backgammon skills and consistently make more favorable equity decisions during your matches.

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