View Full Version : Game Theory

03-13-2003, 12:47 PM
This post is aimed to start a thread on the use of game theory to aid in the analysis of poker. Please let me know if this is the wrong board for a post of this nature.

I am a graduate student and have taken several courses on game theory and evolutionary economics
(game theory in a more general framework) and have pondered its application to my study of poker.

I have read the academic articles concerning the subject but they are too academic in nature to be of
any practical use and are incomprehensible to anyone who as not studied in the field. I actually wrote a few "chapters" on this topic and have thought long and hard about what to do with this material, other than sending it to friends for discussion.

My questions do you think that poker can be analyzed in a game theoretic framework??
Do you think this is an interesting topic?

I have oppinions but I would like to see what others think.

Al Mirpuri
03-14-2003, 12:45 PM
Gilly, are you aware that in the Theory of Poker, David Sklansky produced a system to regularize one's bluffing based on game theory requirements. Also, Mason Malmuth recommends players purchase a book by a chap called Nesmith which gives an analysis of Draw Poker based on game theory. This recommendation occurs in Gambling Theory and Other Topics which is written by Mason Malmuth.

03-18-2003, 08:08 AM
I am aware of these two facts. However I was talking about using it in a more traditional sense to analyze the actual way the game can be played

I know I am being vague but at this early stage (a few months) of my thinking process I can say little more. Game theory has been used with respect to bluffing (and much of what is written about game theory and poker deals soley with this topic) but game theory is much richer then this, and I think it can be used in other ways.

03-20-2003, 01:49 PM
I'm not a mathemetician, nor a highly-qualifed academic, but I have studied a bit of Game Theory and how it relates to poker since I am a poker professional...

I think your question is rather more of an academic question, and the use of Game Theory in poker, especially in limit Hold'em ring games has little relevance in my opinion....

...with the exception, however, of "heads-up" play, and in particular No-Limit heads-up play. I think the application of Game Theory can be used to evaluate best play scenarios in a heads-up encounter where both players are of exact equal theoretical strength.

03-22-2003, 01:17 AM
I suspect that you can analyze heads up limit hold-em play in a game theoretic sense between two players of equal skill. Areas where this might be applicable include:

-- Balancing of calls vs raises preflop with hand strength
-- Balancing slowplaying hands like top/middle pair beyond the flop
-- Balancing frequency of semi-bluffs.

I suspect that in hold-em at least, in a ring game there are less opportunities.

Somebody may have done this. I am also not a game theoretician so this may all be a red-herring.