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Why do I lose the game if I decline an offer of doubles? Shouldn't the game continue as before the offer?

I encounter this rule when playing online.

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    That's the whole point. The doubling cube is not a mutual agreement to increase the stakes. It's a way to put pressure on your opponent when you're ahead.
    – Stef
    Commented May 14, 2022 at 10:39

2 Answers 2

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Declining an offer of doubles is an automatic loss; that’s one of the key points of how the doubling cube works.

A player only makes an offer to double the stakes of the game when they feel they are winning. The opponent must either forfeit the game, or continue playing with the stakes doubled.

A normal Backgammon game begins with a value of one point. The whole premise behind the doubling cube revolves around challenging your opponent. Depending on how well your game is going and if you are currently winning, you can decide to double the stakes of the game before rolling the die. This what doubling is. When this happens, the game is now no longer worth one point, but two.

Now, the challenged opponent has two choices. He can either accept the challenge, in which case the value of the game doubles – from 1 to 2, from 2 to 4, from 4 to 8 and so on. The other option is to concede the game and lose 1 point. Whenever a player ends up accepting a double, he becomes the owner of the cube and only he can further decide to double or not.

https://vipbackgammon.com/blog/how-to-use-the-doubling-cube/

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    Think of it like bidding in poker. If someone raises you can either match or fold. Commented Apr 17, 2022 at 13:59
  • Thanks for the detailed answer. Newbe here. In the cases where I was offered doubles, the game was about even, they were certainly not decided one way or the other. Most rules make some sense, I'm still unclear as to why one has to concede the game. Why not allow one to decline then move on with the game? But hey, I don't make the rules....
    – Frank
    Commented Apr 19, 2022 at 4:42
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    @Frank The comment above yours helps clarify... the whole point of using the cube is the same thing as raising in poker; it's stating that you think you have a better hand, and your opponent has to either fold or call. If simply declining were an option, then in a game with 2 good players, the cube would never be used, because one of the good players should recognize that they have the weaker position and thus decline to use the cube.
    – GendoIkari
    Commented Apr 19, 2022 at 13:58
  • I'm learning to like the cube. Most times it is offered to me, I end up winning! There is also the issue of, even if one knows he will lose, there is some benefit for avoiding gammon or backgammon even if one loses ultimately, no???
    – Frank
    Commented May 15, 2022 at 20:02
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In addition to the other answer and great comments, there is another benefit to the doubling rules.

If the game continued after declining a double, then EVERY game would have to be played until the winner is mathematically certain.

WITH the current doubling rules, boring lopsided games are often avoided because the losing side will forfeit when the double is offered.

I've been teaching my daughter to play over the last couple of years. If she's clearly winning, but has little chance of scoring a gammon or backgammon, then I will remind her to offer the double so that we can continue to the next game.

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  • Understand. Just a mystery as to why the cube is offered early in the game when there is no clear winner. I'm learning to like the cube, as I have often won after accepting the cube. Making the win all the more pleasurable. I guess some folks wanting to move up the the rankings more quickly.
    – Frank
    Commented May 15, 2022 at 20:06
  • @Frank: I think optimum cube strategy is to offer the double BEFORE there is a clear winner. If you wait until it's clear, then the other player will always decline. Best to get them to accept the double when they are losing by a little bit. Of course, it's not always easy to tell when you're winning.
    – James
    Commented May 16, 2022 at 0:36

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