ARTICLE #31 [First published in August 1990 Chicagoland Backgammon Newsletter]
What’s wrong with the Calcutta? It seems that this romantic venture is terminally ill. Ironically, it is dying through effectiveness versus anything else. The Calcutta is at the height of fairness, beating up on everyone equally. It reduces ability to chance and then takes all chance away.
If you view the Calcutta auction as a long-term proposition, you may see its problem. By handicapping through money odds, the winning potential for all players becomes the same. The venture is thus a nonevent with everyone breaking even; harmless entertainment if it were not for one key factor: the rake. A ten percent (10%) loss of capital on each and every offering, to be exact. The only question is not if you will go broke, but when.
The tournament is learning what predators discovered many thousands of years ago. Retract your claws to avoid the impression of wanton destruction, or risk frightening off the prey.
The play may define the player, but good and bad plays are often relative and rarely absolute.
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