Poker Game Theory

Game theory, specifically for skill based casino games, is the advanced study of game playing strategies. The central idea is finding the best possible methods with which to defeat opponents. Not just any opponents, however, but opponents who themselves may have studied game theories or strategies of their own. The idea is to outsmart a person who is as skilled as the player, him-, or her-, self.

The primary focus of much game theory is on poker, be it online or real world. The reason for this is that poker is by far the most skill based casino game, being that its focus is primarily on playing against other, real world opponents. Multiplayer online poker is a prime example, given that your opponents are made of other players who may be familiar with poker strategies. Let’s have a look at 5 essential points of interest in game theory versus real world poker opponents.

1.There Is No Perfect Strategy

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that there is no such thing as a perfect strategy. All casino games, including poker, are games that are based on chance, and this unknown factor means that all strategies are variable in nature. All strategies aim to deal with the unknown factor as best as possible, but there is no one answer that will fit all situations in a perfect manner.

So what does this mean? It means that regardless of how knowledgeable any player is with game theories or strategies, they will always find themselves in situations where there is no definite move that will guarantee positive results. In other words; it is impossible to become a perfect player of a game such as poker. One can only hope to be as good as is possible, with the knowledge available, and as much practice as can be managed.

2.The Twin Approach

Game theory, as already mentioned, focuses on playing a variable game against an opponent who is assumed to be equally as skilled. This is sometimes referred to as the twin approach, given that theorist are fond of saying that a genius versus his exact twin would be the most interesting poker game in history. But how does one defeat an equally skilled opponent at a game such as poker?

The game theory in this scenario is much like a game of chess, but with a board that rearranged itself at the end of every turn. That is to say; it requires a great deal of prediction, adaptability, and a thorough understanding of statistical chance. The only real way to defeat one’s twin would be to act in thoroughly unpredictable and unexpected ways, while keeping the goal of victory clearly in mind.

3.Zero-Sum Games

Poker is referred to as a zero-sum game. This means that at the end of each round of poker, all bets that have been placed will end up in one lucky person's possession. The amount of the winnings will have been lost by the opposing players. The object of the game is to gather enough of the flexible resource that the other players are sitting with zero.

Game theory deals with the concept, in part, that the flexible resource, gambling chips, may drastically sway the way player approach the game. A player with more chips will behave differently to one who has very few remaining. This is an aspect often overlooked by many strategies, and something that may throw off even professional, highly experienced, players.

4.Perfect Information Game

Poker is a referred to as a perfect information game. This means that every player in the game has the exact same information as every other player, beyond the values of their own cards. There is no move a player can make that is unseen, or unknown by any other player.

This means that the results of poker are greatly determined by how each player interprets each move made. In other words, there are few games that are as fair, and based on individual skill, as poker.

5.Optimal Strategies

It is said that if two players go head to head in a game of poker, and one player uses an optimal strategy, he or she may even tell the opposing player what they are doing in each step, and will still end up as the victor. This simple idea explains the very core of game theory. That is to say; an optimal strategy is effective, regardless of how much information the opposing player has.

As has already been said, such a strategy is virtually impossible, but is the ultimate goal, in principal, of game theorists. The best a player can do until a mythical optimal strategy is achieved is use a number of flexible strategies in the best manner possible. And, most importantly, not keep using the same strategy, which will avoid it becoming predictable.

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