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Game Theory and Poker

Maria Konnikova is a science writer who focuses on the brain and the different ways in which people use their brains. Recently, she began studying poker and researched for her book about decision-making and luck. The reason Ms. Konnikova was inspired to play poker and write her book was because she read John von Nuemann’s “Theory of Games and Economic Behavior” which is the “foundational text of game theory.” She wrote that “it turned out that all of game theory came out of poker.” Von Nuemann wrote that poker is analogous to game theory because it is a combination of skill and chance. I found it very interesting that the author compared poker to game theory. Another interesting point she made was that people stereotype about her gender during the game. People assume she will play a certain way because she is a woman. In addition, she explained how many people feel very embarrassed to be bluffed by a woman. I thought this point was very interesting because I had never thought about the implication of one’s gender on a poker game. This relates to the content we have discussed in class because we have learned the principles of game theory. This is a new perspective on game theory because we now can see how game theory relates to poker.

This article is interesting because it is an interview with Maria Konnikova. I enjoyed learning about her candid opinions on her professional life and research. The New York Times often puts interesting interview content on their website. I specifically liked reading about her past book in comparison to her current book and her explanation of her research process. It is interesting to compare the skill in poker to the “skill” aspect in game theory. The author notes that over the long run, skill can win. This relates to game theory because of the strategic decision making that is done by both parties. Overall, this article provided interesting insight comparing game theory and poker.


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