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The dice don't seem fair.



Answer: No computer random number generator is perfect. At ItsYourTurn.com we have analyzed 8 million dice rolls made in past games on our site and found that the results are extremely good.

Here's the way the dice are generated on our site: The dice are 'pre-rolled' for each millisecond of the hour. Depending on the millisecond that we receive the request, that will be your dice roll. Since there are 3600 seconds in an hour and 1000 milliseconds in a second, there are 3.6 million possible dice rolls you can have. Even if someone were able to write a computer program to make a move at the exact same millisecond each hour, there are other very random factors such as the speed of the Internet and the processing load on our servers (which changes constantly) which will defeat this ploy. Remember, if the request is delayed by one millisecond, it will result in a completely different dice roll. This method is actually more random than most real dice, since the indentations of the pips on the die means that each side of the die cube is weighted slightly different.

Dice trivia: Most dice favor the 6, since the 1 side is the heaviest side because it has the fewest number of pips. Dice in Las Vegas are specially manufactured so that the material in the pips are exactly the same density as the material in the rest of the dice, to assure randomness. The sides on those dice are calibrated to within millimeters. Because of imperfections in manufacturing, most consumer dice are not very random.

The odds of rolling doubles is 1 in 6. Here are the odds of rolling several doubles (any doubles) in a row:
  • 2 doubles in a row: 36 to 1
  • 3 doubles in a row: 216 to 1
  • 4 doubles in a row: 1296 to 1
  • 5 doubles in a row: 7776 to 1
  • 6 doubles in a row: 46,656 to 1
Since we're now recording well over 100,000 backgammon moves a day (and that number keeps increasing), rolling 6 doubles in a row is an occurence that will happen EVERY DAY on our site. The chances of it happening to you are slim, but just because it happens doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with the dice. Based on pure chance, someone will roll 6 doubles in a row on ItsYourTurn.com every day. Rolling 4 doubles in a row will happen several times an hour here.

Other things to keep in mind about the dice:

  • The dice do not favor anyone on our site. No player gets better rolls than any other player. It is impossible for a player to manipulate the dice.
  • Die rolls are completely independent of the position of pieces on the backgammon board, or even which game it's rolling for. The random number generator does not “know” if you are on the bar, for instance, and it can not adjust the dice to fit your situation. Remember, the rolls are determined by the millisecond that the server receives your request, regardless of which game it's rolling for.
  • Employees of ItsYourTurn.com do not manipulate the dice. This would be very difficult, and most of us have no idea how. We work full time here to run a good game site. We are not in business to win a bunch of backgammon games.
  • People often remember bad rolls and forget the lucky rolls. This can lead to the impression that the dice are rigged “against” them, and this is not true.
  • You will see strange events on our site, like a streak of doubles, or just the right roll that allows your opponent to escape from the bar. These events do not prove that our random number generator is faulty. The same things happen with real dice.

There are some articles on the Internet that different backgammon enthusiasts have written about computer generated dice and how people perceive them. You might be interested in reading them. Here are links to two:

Article by Gary Wong.

Article on Red Top’s Backgammon Site.

If you are looking for discussions of backgammon dice on backgammon servers around the Internet, you can go to Deja.com. Search their site for newsgroup postings related to backgammon and dice, and see what you find.


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