The Game Theory behind Poker

Game refers to living creatures, birds, mammals, amphibians, and mollusks, which are specifically raised for a particular purpose and are usually taken from the wild. In North America, the game consists of all species of vertebrates and small game such as squirrels and bats. The word ‘game’ is derived from Latin ‘gota’. From this root, the word game literally means ‘playing with a game’. Today, the term refers more to a type of sport rather than to any living creature. Some examples of game are hunting, fishing, trapping, hand-to-hand combat, bicycle racing, bocce ball, cockfighting, etc.


Prisoner’s Dilemma. This is known by many other names, including the Hardy Measurement, Stable Observation, the Primate Diaries, or the Prisoner’s Dilemma. The dilemma is presented in a number of ways, and is among the most studied problems in the social sciences. The name originated from the prison cells where researchers posed the problem. The prisoners were asked a number of questions about unrelated items; subsequently, a solution was given based on the answers. Thus, the prison cells provided an excellent platform for testing different approaches to the problem and developed the first concept of prisoner’s dilemma.

The Optimally Rational player. The maxim says that the best player should be the one who cannot be easily manipulated or controlled, so that he or she will commit to one goal. In the prisoner’s dilemma, this maximization was applied in the context of a single player game, where the player had to either cooperate or defect. It then became a classic test for those trying to formulate the optimal strategy.

Nash equilibrium. The Nash equilibrium describes the relationship between payoff and the probabilities of a win and a loss. In a two-player game, the Nash equilibrium states that the player with the lowest probability of winning will always make a payout and the player with the highest probability of losing will always make a loss. This was used as a test for those wanting to formulate a game theory which explained the probability of success in a strategic situation.

One-person game theory. Known as the zero-sum game theory, the one-person game theory postulates that there is an optimal level of cooperation and defection which will yield the same payoff. Unlike the two-person version, where each player has an optimal strategy, the one-person game requires no such strategies. A simpler version of this theory is the principal-agent game, in which agents act according to the collective interest.

Prisoners dilemma. In the prisoner 2 game, two players are seated at a table, each with a money bet. The object is to persuade the other players to fold more than they are willing to lose. Nash’s timeless classic, the Prisoners’ Dilemma, used this game to demonstrate that individuals will collaborate to split the spoils if they believe they are at a distinct advantage, but will defect if they believe that their opponents have an advantage.