Relation of Game Theory and Gambling Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Game theory is a critical form of decision making that is used in various subjects like economy and political science. Its relevance is becoming prominent in the success rates that have come out in gambling and sports betting. The theory is basically an amalgamation of different models of cooperation and conflict between various decision makers (Myerson, 1991) Thus, it can be safely stated that the theory itself is not just one piece of information solidly put out there yet it's a combination of different authors and experts. As mentioned earlier, the game theory has been linked to economic models, science, gambling like poker or sports betting and social situations as well. In the game theory the simplest way of putting it is analyzing the number of players and the moves that they are likely to take. Using this information, a person can guess and figure out the number of choices available and thus analyze the condition using the results of the theory applied. (Levine)

The game theory basically analyzes the situation the hand and puts use the mathematical statistics. However, when the idea of betting and putting your money on stake comes forward, a psychosocial aspect of a person's personality and the way they would react to other situations in life as well. (Dalla, 2002) For instance, if in a casino, a person is given an option to gamble an amount of money to win double the amount, he or she would most likely go for the situation. This is to reveal that the game theory as whole is a discipline that be applied to situations filled with betting and gambling and also to real life situations as well. The methodologies created by the game theory are viewed as an umbrella that goes on to explain the rationalities of different branches of social science. (Aumann and Hart, 1992)

The basic theme of the game theory revolved around the idea of cooperation and conflict. The theory states that the actions of different players are interdependent. It would be interesting to notice that this vast field of study came into being merely to solve a mathematical curiosity. (Schmidt, 2003) The theory came into play as its own field of study in 1944 subsequent to publication by bon Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern being there. In 1950, John Nash stated that finite games have an equilibrium point. This point is basically that tie in a game when the players act according to what is best for them after keeping their rival's choices in mind. (Turocy&Stengel, 2001) This being the central concept, was applied to things like war, politics and economics in the 1960s and 1970s.Relying on the concepts of the game theory, Chris Ferguson went on win more than a million dollars in tournament of poker in 2000. (Wilkinson, 2009) There are games which have the perfect amount of information. Games such as these are linked to the economic game theory more traditionally because of the infinitely long procedure of solving the game in the long run. (Beck, 2008)


Gambling is basically the game or art of putting your money or available in games in which chance is involved. ("gambling," 2012) At a time, the game used to be considered illegal and was banned in colonial America and the United Kingdom. Gambling can consist of games like poker in a casino or betting in sports as well. Both of these games have been linked to the game theory and the level of skill involved in playing. Surely, no fool would just go off and bet his or her money to play When we talk about skill, the game theory and its application on gambling comes out forward.

When the idea of game theory comes forward, so does the concept of rational players. A rational player is one who will play the most expected move and the one that will go on to benefit him. A rational player always plays a dominant move which means that he will play what will yield him the best response. A rational player plays his game after looking at his outcome and looking at what the rival will do. Game theory analysts also predict how the game will be dealt with by rational players. It hopes to tell and advice the players on how to go bout games in which the opponent is a rational player. (Turocy&Stengel, 2001)

In gambling, one can try to figure out if their rival is bluffing or not merely by using experience and judgment. (Sklansky 1989) This does not always work for a person. If the opponent has better judgment than the one playing or he is using the game theory to bluff, then the person playing can use similar theory to decrease his profit. (Sklansky 1989) In short, Skalnsky was trying to say that the game theory will work if the two players aren't accustomed to each other's playing styles by a lot. An example given by Swanson that it if the opener bluffs with a hundred dollars when he is suppose to put in two hundred dollars, he has done 2-to-1 on a bluff. Now the optimal response by the dealer would be that the dealer could call twice and just fold once. If this is approach given, then the probability of the dealer calling with a deuce is two out of three. However, with keeping the game theory in mine and the optimal frequency in mind, the dealer will deal with a deuce with a probability of one out of three. (Swanson, 2005) This example was when the optimal conditions aren't known. This is to say the dealer and opener aren't really accustomed to each other's style of playing.

Another example presented by Swanson was that if the dealer attains ace and the opener attains checks. Now the question here is that whether the dealer should bluff or not. Now there are two options that determine whether he should bluff or not. If the opener goes on to hold the trey, the bluff will not work and will go in vain. On the other hand, if the opener keeps on the deuce then the bluff will work for the dealer. Here comes the idea if the dealer is aware that the opener will go for betting when he holds the trey. The dealer can then know for sure that the opener will hold the deuce and thus he will go onto bluff. In this instance there arises a question with whets the optimal frequency after keeping the game theory in mind. If the dealer knew about the opener, then there is no saying whether the game theory can be applied to this instance or not. (Swanson, 2005)

Going about the game with rationality in mind will never make you successful. That is to say that one person can never be victorious by using the optimal strategy. (Swanson, 2005) With this strategy, you can make sure that your rival doest gain any profit through superior play. Similarly, you cannot cause any damage or loss to your opponent either if you play optimally. In consequence, by playing optimally, the actions you take will have no impact on your EV and you cannot really win. The game theory allows you to see when your opponent is playing optimally and when he is not. The person sees that whenever the person deviates from playing optimally, then the person should also go for playing in a deviant manner that will enable the person to capitalize on the stupid mistakes the other person does. (Swanson, 2005) An example of this is that your opponent starts to bluff more than he should. To combat with this, you should go for calling more than you should. The frequencies of calling and bluffing would oscillate between who is doing more of it and who is doing less. However, in this form, there is no gain in the EV and no clear winner as such. This point would be known as an equilibrium as mentioned earlier in which both the players have attained an optimal frequency of let's say bluffing and calling. Playing optimally will not provide for you a sure shot at winning. Optimal play can come handy when the rival is playing really stupidly. Such that your opponent's stupid mistakes allow you to play optimally and cash those only because he was going negative due to himself and not because of you. All in all, to know how to win in casino gambling, you should be aware of what the optimal strategy really is so you would avoid it and end up winning in the long run. (Swanson, 2005)

Sport Betting

Sports betting in games like boxing, football, basketball and baseball have increased in America in all states despite being stated illegal. A big number of countries in the Caribbean and other areas have been popular in sports betting especially on online casinos. Even though internet sports betting is considered illegal under the federal Wire Wager Act, it…

Sources Used in Document:


Anon. (1994) Gambling. In The Columbia Encyclopedia. (6th ed) n.a: Columbia University Press

Anon. (2004) Gambling. In The Columbia Encyclopedia. (6th ed) n.a: Columbia University Press

Anon. (2012) Gambling.In The Columbia Encyclopedia. (6th ed) n.a: Columbia University Press

Aumann, R. And S. Hart (eds) (1992) Handbook of Game Theory. Amsterdam: North-Holland.

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