Backgammon Game: The History of an Ancient Game with Modern Appeal

Backgammon Game: The History of an Ancient Game with Modern Appeal

The well-known Backgammon game has a deep and varied history, having been around for over 5,000 years.

According to some records, the earliest history of backgammon itself dates back to when it traversed the Byzantine Empire, the Middle East, and medieval Europe of 17th-century England. However, its popularity began in the Roman era, when it was called “tables.” 

The casino arcade game is a two-player table game with gameplay involving 15 pieces, also called “tables” in the traditional settings and checkers in the US.

In this casino news, we will see how the backgammon game has stood the test of time to become a true world classic. 

Early Records of the Backgammon Game

We will examine this online casino game’s origin based on countries, continents, literature, and nomenclature. 

Unveiling the Enduring Appeal of Casinos and Their Enduring Mystique

Countries and Continents

Backgammon is one of the oldest known top casino games from the board games list, with a rich history. The game emerged in Mesopotamia, now known as Iraq today, around 3000 BCE. However, the board game used was not exclusive to it. “Senet” in Egypt also used the board. But, the game that made its way among the two to the Roman Empire was the backgammon game, and it was referred to as “Tabula.” 

Emperor Claudius was so marveled about backgammon that he proclaimed it the sport of emperors. He even had a special board in his chariot during long journeys. The Romans played on wood surfaces with dice made from various materials. 

Backgammon’s introduction to Europe is attributed to Crusaders who learned the game in the Holy Land. The game remained a privilege of the clergy and nobility in the Middle Ages, a perk of knighthood in England. 

Literature Records

Previous literature and arts recorded the game as ‘tables’ until 1645, when ‘backgammon’ appeared in print. Therefore, it’s worth noting that the game is older than the Thai Hi-Lo. Chaucer and Shakespeare alluded to it, while Jan Steen’s 17th-century masterpiece captured an ‘Argument over a Card Game.’ 

Backgammon Game Nomenclature

According to records, the term ‘Backgammon’ came from Middle English ‘gamen,’ meaning game. It gained formal rules in 1672 by Francis Willughby and Charles Cotton in 1674. Despite being banned in Elizabethan England, backgammon gained popularity among the clergy in the 18th century. Edmond Hoyle’s 1753 treatise outlined rules and strategy, binding backgammon with whist. 

Contemporary History — 1920 Backgammon Game

Around 1850, the backgammon game underwent rule changes, adopting the format familiar today. Tables now featured a central ‘bar,’ and hitting men placed them on it. Winning by bearing off all men before the opponent achieved and became a ‘gammon,’ a ‘backgammon’ involved bearing off all men while the opponent still had men in their table, worth triple hits.

Its development in the 1920s was the introduction of the doubling cube, which transformed backgammon into an expected value-driven game. Initially appearing in New York City gaming clubs, this cube required players to choose the best move and estimate the probability of winning, sparking a widespread revival documented in Harper’s Bazaar magazine. The doubling cube was a thrilling gambling element, significantly enhancing the game’s possibilities.

Backgammon in the United States

Backgammon’s popularity in the US has seen peaks and valleys. The game gained significant awareness during the 1960s and 1970s, thanks to international tournaments and celebrity endorsements. Its appeal lies in the strategic interplay of skill and chance. 

However, in the 1980s, when other entertainment forms took the spotlight, a decline in the widespread popularity of backgammon casino games in the US occurred. Nevertheless, the game has persisted with a devoted community. 

Today, backgammon remains a cherished pastime. It has found its place in clubs, online platforms, and events like the American Backgammon Tour. Together, they ensure its continued presence and enjoyment among enthusiasts across the United States.


As we draw the curtains to backgammon’s rich history, One more question to be answered is: what is arbitrage in backgammon? It means leveraging strategic advantages on the board. Play casino games that have continued to captivate players across diverse cultures and eras at Slots Paradise Casino today. 

Learn more about Backgammon, or other games like card games, and learn how to play poker online by using our casino guides content.

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