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# Re(2): quick way to get rough pip count? pip count?

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### Bob Hoey

Apr 25, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/25/98
to

There are tricks that aid pip counting and a good short term memory is
quite valuable too. I do not count pips, even though I realize that being
quick and accurate at counting would enhance my game. I use a "half roll"
count to determine my equity in a race.
Since the average roll is about 8.3 or thereabouts, once could say that
any pieces on the 7-10 pts. are half a roll from coming in. Pieces on the
11-14 points are a roll each from coming in. Pieces on the 15-18 pts. are
a roll and a half from coming in. Pieces on the 19-22 are two rolls from
coming in and a man on the 23, 24 points or the bar is 2 1/2 rolls from
reaching home. It is a much quicker calculation as to who has more half
roll to get home. Having determined the race to home by this method, then
one has to consider the distribution in the home board. I also a half
roll from my opponents count, if he is on roll. (If he were handing me a
double, that is.)
Whenever I attempt to count actual pips, I find that I get a total for my
opponent but before I finish calculating my own count, I often forget my
opponents number. Since it is not permissable to write it down, I would
then have to recount my opponents race to get the count. All too much
hassle for my little brain. I am content with the half roll method,
regardless of its lesser precision.
bob

### Chuck Bower

Apr 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/27/98
to

In article <fc.003e9025009e058f3b...@mlsonline.com>,
Bob Hoey <Bob_...@mlsonline.com> wrote:

(snip)

> Whenever I attempt to count actual pips, I find that I get a total for
>my opponent but before I finish calculating my own count, I often forget my
>opponents number. Since it is not permissable to write it down, I would
>then have to recount my opponents race to get the count. All too much
>hassle for my little brain. I am content with the half roll method,
>regardless of its lesser precision.

I used to have this EXACT same problem. Don't forget that you have
ten fingers (and most of us, ten toes) which can be used as "memory". In
their excellent book, "Mathemagics", Art Benjamin and Michael Shermer tell
how to easily keep a two digit (base ten) number on two hands. It uses
the American Sign Language "words" for doing this:

Zero-fingers together, thumb touching fingertips
One-index finger up
Two-index finger and middle finger up
Three-same as two, but also thumb out (note, this is NOT the standard way
most people indicate three. You'll see why when we get to six...)
Four-all four fingers up, thumb in.
Five-(I think you ALL know this one!)
Six-middle three fingers up; thumb and "pinkie" finger touching at their
tips (this is similar to the way most people show three)
Seven-(similar to six) Thumb and fourth finger touching at tips. Other
three fingers extended.
Eight-(similar to six and seven) Thumb and middle finger touching...
Nine-(similar to six, seven, and eight) Thumb and index finger touching...

Clearly using both hands you can store 0-99. And it shouldn't be
too tough to see that you can really get 0-199 since although,for example,
36 and 136 are stored the same, you won't have trouble remembering
which number you really got. I also use this technique when calculating
drop/take and double points during matches.

As far as counting pips (exactly), Magriel's "BACKGAMMON" covers this
nicely. If you throw in Jack Kissane's tricks (which I think someone said
are on the web...) and memorize a few key (but easy) numbers (e.g. your
midpoint is 13; your 20-pt is 20--that was tough!, a closed home board is
42, etc.) then I think you will know the state-of-the-art, for humans, anyway.
Then, practice, practice, practice.

Chuck
bo...@bigbang.astro.indiana.edu
c_ray on FIBS

Apr 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/27/98
to

I use a similar mechanism, which is to use the fingers to represent
1-4, and the thumb to represent 5. The right hand is the 1 digit, and
the left hand is the 10 digit.

So 37 would be three fingers on the left hand and the thumb and first
two fingers on the right hand.

-Patti
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