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Poker and game theory

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Joined: 17 Mar 2006
Posts: 712
Location: Oregon

PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 8:15 pm    Post subject: Poker and game theory Reply with quote

I was reading on this topic a while back, and I've been
playing a fair amount of online poker (with play money,
so no worries!).

I started noticing the situations in everyday life could be
mapped onto the template of a poker tournament. The
hands, deals, flops, turns and rivers, the calls, raises,
and the folds.

If the concepts of poker could be mapped onto everyday
situations, then the connection could inform my conceptions
in both arenas. I love the quote I heard that poker isn't
about winning and losing, but about making good decisions.
Could learning to make better decisions in poker improve
the quality of my decisions in "real" life? What do I learn
about myself by losing (and sometimes winning) at poker?

Of course, life is demonstrably not poker: Few things
in life are all-or-nothing. Situations can be win-win. People
often favor cooperation over competition. Non-poker players
form coalitions, cooperatives, nations.

I see value, now, in using poker to revisit what I know about
game theory. It's been a couple of decades, I hate to admit,
since I got a good introduction to the subject. At the risk of
repeating other work I haven't seen, I'm starting to mull the
notion of what kinds of extensions would be needed to make
poker a better model of the "games" we play every day, on
the highway and in the office.

How would poker play out if coalitions were allowed (or are they
already)? What if we were playing more than one game at
a time within a single interaction, with different prizes?
Is this why we can have win-win situations in life when they
are rare or nonexistent in poker proper?

I'm hoping to put together a few good postings on the subject,
and perhaps others will want to join in.

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Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 1273
Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2008 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think this is a good idea and would help people in real world and work.

On thing about classical game theory is that it abstracts the environment, whereas your "poker enhanced" situation literally teaches people how to play the cards they're dealt in life!

So, yes, you get a poor hand...but what do you do? Do you butt your head against the wall? Do you hope for the best? Do you look for unseen options? Or do you fold...and wait for the next round?
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