playing backgammon in June of 1979. It was in a bar, and I won three beers
from the guy who taught me. I knew I had gotten lucky, and borrowed the best
book on the game (Paul Magrielís Backgammon), reading† it twice, so that when we played again I
wouldnít lose those beers back. Within three years I had learned enough to
write for, and edit, the Las Vegas Backgammon Magazine, and the Backgammon
Scholar. In June of 1983 I cashed in my first major tournament, coming in 2nd
in the Cavendish Invitational (losing to future World Champion Joe Russell).
Seven months later I won the first Nevada State Championship, held at the
Peppermill Hotel and Casino in
For various reasons I went into semi-retirement after that win, and hardly played during the rest of the 1980s. Three things brought me back into the game at the end of the decade. In the fall of í89 the Northern Nevada Backgammon Association had a huge tournament at Caesarís in Lake Tahoe. Some friends and I went there to play blackjack, and used our tournament entries as cover. Shortly after that I started playing again at two of the Chicago area clubs: Bill Davisí Bar Point Club, then meeting on Tuesday nights at a very funky bar called Patís Pub; and at the Monday night Pub Club, which has changed directors and locations more often than some of the regular players changed their underwear, but was then directed by Ed Bauder at a bar in Villa Park. Finally, I wrote an article in response to a couple of errors I spotted in the Chicago Point, and had so much fun I decided to do it again. Twelve years later Iíve lost count, but I guess Iíve ďdone it againĒ over one hundred times, and still have fun when I do.
I cashed in several events over the next few years, but the first 1st place finish seemed to open the floodgates. In January of 1996 I led some friends to Thailand for the first Thai Open (that first year it was called the Pattaya Open), and wound up winning it. I then cashed in almost every major I entered that year, with the most important wins being the Midwest Championships, and the U.S. Open. I also published my first book (see my books page), Can a Fish Taste Twice as Good? (with Walter Trice). I had a comparable year in 2001, once again cashing at almost every major event, and winning the Pittsburgh Open, the Chicago Open, and simultaneously winning the Peachtree Cup (a masters event) while placing second in the Georgia Open. Those were all American Backgammon Tour events, so I also collected the trophy for ABT Player of the Year. That fall Yamin Yaminís Giant 32 listed me #9 in the world, the highest ranking I am likely to attain, as there are simply too many worthy players these days. With more fine young players on the rise; the top is very crowded.