Backgammon Plays for the Five-One Opening Roll

Let's look into the different plays for a five-one opening roll in backgammon. We'll check out the three most popular plays and see what strategies can we pull out of these moves for this opening roll. We'll first discuss the different strategic options for this backgammon opening roll.

With a five-one opening roll in backgammon we are presented with three strategic options. We can slot our five point and try to prevent our opponent from making an anchor on that crucial backgammon point. This is quite a good idea though doing this in the opening roll may seem too early in the game.

Another strategic option with the five-one opening roll is that we can split our back checkers (i.e. playing a 24/23). After making this move we're left with either running that back checker all the way to the 18-point or move a checker from the mid-point (the latter seems more of a favorite among many backgammon players).

Given these options here are the three favorite moves for a five-one opening roll. First is to do a 13/8, 6/5 play, which slots the five-point and brings down a builder from the mid-point. Next popular move for this opening roll would be to do a 24/18, which runs a back checker. Last is to play a 24/23, 13/8 on the opening roll, which splits the back men and brings down a checker from the 13-point (a more balanced play in backgammon).

Let's look into the details of each of these plays for the five-one opening roll. A 13/8 and a 6/5 play slots the five-point, thereby reducing the huge stack on the six-point a bit early in the opening roll and moves a checker to the eight point (thereby unstacking the mid-point as well).

By slotting the five-point this early in the backgammon game we expose ourselves to some risk. The fall back is that if you do get hit, you can easily recover and perhaps build an anchor on your opponent's home board.

A 24/18 play in the opening roll runs a back checker using both dice results. It gives good outfield coverage too. The downside to this play is that the blot in the 18-point is really vulnerable.

A 24/23, 13/8 play for this opening roll is balanced. You get a better coverage of your opponent's side of the backgammon board and you unstack the mid-point.

These are your options with the five-one opening roll. Everything has its good and bad side, just make sure you choose one play that fits well into your backgammon strategy.