From Online Backgammon to US Championship
05/26/2010

Even in a game of probabilities like backgammon, a double win as the one achieved by Mary Hickey at the Play65 US Open qualifier and the US Backgammon Open championship can happen.

Online PR News – 26-May-2010 – – Online backgammon rooms often send their players to compete (or, some would say, to degrade themselves) in real-life backgammon championships. But how often does the sole online qualifier wins the grand prize? So far, only once. It recently happened at the 2nd US Backgammon Open, held on May 13-16 in San Francisco, and was champion by Play65 delegate, Mary Hickey, a professional writer of Ohio and US backgammon champion for 2010.

In a game of probabilities like backgammon, a double win, such as the one achieved by Mary Hickey at the US Backgammon Open championship, is unexpected. When additional factors, such as the always luck and the skill level of the competitors, are taken in account, Mary Hickey US Backgammon Open championship is highly appreciated. And to think it all started in a bad lucked online backgammon match…

Play65 Online Qualifiers

Play65 online backgammon site has organized a series of satellite tournaments, where a free entry to the prestigious US Open backgammon tournament was assured to the final winner. Dozens of players have attended Play65 online satellite, but only two climbed up to the final table: Mary Hickey aka "mamabear64" and the obvious favorite "falafel" of Israel, who is less known by his real name Matvey Natanzon, one of the world's top players, #2 in the international Giants of Backgammon list.

Still, it was the mamabear, who scored 7-6 at the long and suspenseful online backgammon match, picked the $1000 package prize, and had the $600 entry fees to the US Open backgammon tournament as well as the hotel accommodation conveniently paid by Play65.

US Backgammon Open

Mary Hickey has been playing backgammon since the late 1970s (with over decade long break to pursue a chemical engineering career and raise a family), and achieved several local titles. Yet, arriving at the tournament location on the morning of May 13 and seeing the powerful field of American backgammon elite (including American Backgammon Tour #1 Player of all times Neil Kazaross, backgammon and bridge guru Kit Woolsey and Nicole Kidman's personal backgammon tutor Steve Sax, she did not expect to champion the Main event.

"Yes, I was surprised", she admitted talking to Play65 "It was a highly improbable sequence of events. I had to first win the only online qualifier, including beating negative luck in my first round match. Then I had to win an event that drew a field of 44, many of them world-class players, including nine current Giants. That meant winning eight matches in a row, not a likely occurrence on any given day or weekend. So yes I was surprised, though of course also very happy about it! "

Now, armed with the title, the prize and a free entry to the next stop at the World Backgammon Tour, Mary Hickey plans to continue playing backgammon online "I play online maybe two or three times a week on average, other times I analyze matches I have played… I would always rather play online with humans than alone at home with or some bot. To me, when you take the people out of backgammon it is far less interesting!"

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