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Thoughts on Game Theory: Part Five

by Steve Zolotow |  Published: Aug 14, 2019

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John Forbes Nash, Jr. was a fascinating character. He made brilliant contributions to several branches of mathematics including geometry and game theory. He also suffered from mental illness. He is the subject of the biography, A Beautiful Mind, made into a movie with same title. He is best known in game theory for his work on equilibria in multi-player games. A Nash equilibrium is a situation in which no player can benefit from changing his strategy unilaterally. A Nash equilibrium is frequently not optimal. This occurs when two or more players can simultaneously change strategies producing a better outcome, even though one player alone couldn’t gain by changing. Let’s look at a simple example. The local poker club has two very strong players, Harry and Pete. Harry is best at hold’em while Pete’s strongest game is PLO. Each does best by playing his best game at one table while the ...


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