Paul Magriel – July 1, 1946 – March 5, 2018

PaulMagriel -1984 Invitational_kd

The author of the “Bible” of Backgammon, Paul Magriel, passed away at his home in Las Vegas Monday afternoon March 5, 2018. His name has been synonymous with backgammon since the publication of his groundbreaking book Backgammon in 1976, which is still viewed as backgammon’s leading text.The original backgammon celebrity, he helped popularize the game. He was inducted into the American Backgammon Hall of Fame in 2015. He won the World Championship in the Bahamas in 1978 and was voted to the 32 Giants of Backgammon list eight consecutive times from its inception.
We extend our condolences to his family, many friends, and those in the backgammon community who admired and learned from his work. He will be deeply missed.


  1. Norm Friedman says:

    One of a kind. About three weeks ago, I had the pleasure of losing a match to X-22 on Grid Gammon. It became an instant memory. RIP

  2. Blake Fleetwood says:

    Check out many comments are collected there

    • Blake Fleetwood says: sorry about typo

      Paul David Magriel Jr. (July 1, 1946 – March 5, 2018), was a professional backgammon player, poker player, and author based in Las Vegas, Nevada. He passed away smiling in his sleep on March 5, 2018. He was loved and respected by millions. His 1976 book, Backgammon, was often referred to as the Bible of Backgammon. I knew him for 65 years. We were in grade school together.

      Backgammon, in one form or another, is the oldest game in the history of mankind. It is over 5,000 years old, but before Paul Magriel, nobody really knew how to play.

      Millions of players were just guessing when they played. But Paul changed all that.

      He was everyone’s teacher, and he brought scientific methodology to the game. He was a mathematician who taught at the graduate level. But when he won $20,000 in one night, he gave up teaching math. He waged a war against luck and disorder.

      Paul was also a great chess player. He won the New York State Junior Chess Championship at the age of 19. But when he saw a backgammon board, his interest in chess waned. “My father was an art dealer and collector, very visual, and when I saw the backgammon board I was struck by the geometry of it all, the simplicity,” he once told me.

      – Blake Fleetwood

  3. Scott Douglas says:

    I had the pleasure of playing Paul in last chance in Las Vegas last November. I was thrilled when I saw I was paired with him. I noticed he would analyse positions out loud during the match. I wasn’t sure at first if he did that to mess with me. I finally looked and noticed his big smile. I realised he just likes backgammon problems. So we both started analysing the position. It was a cube to end the match. I said, “Don’t forget you’re better than me so you want to prolong the play.” He said, “I already calculated that.”
    Ha, so funny.
    So he didn’t double me and his calculation was right, I screwed up later.

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