GAME THEORY
PLAY LIARS POKER!

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A Theory of Marriage Vows
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This example is an attempt to use game theory to "explain" marriage vows. But first (given the
nature of the topic) it might be a good idea to say something about "explanation" using game
theory.

Sun Aug 29 10:50:18 GMT-0800 1999


    Recently, I took a class that covered some "Game Theories".  I became intrigued.  Meanwhile, I found this simple game that illustrates some of the important concepts.
    Follow the link below to a page where you can play Liar's Poker. It is an example of the strategic importance of bluffing in games.
    Don't worry, NO MONEY WILL  CHANGE HANDS.

    You must have a JavaScript-enabled browser to play this game. If you can see today's date and time displayed at the top of this page, you have a JavaScript-enabled browser and you can continue. If you do not see today's date and time displayed at the top of this page, there is no point in continuing.  So if you are using Internet Explorer, you're out of luck (at least for now).


    The rules of the game are as follows: I have a deck of cards that contains an equal number of kings and aces. I draw one card at a time and look at it--you do not get to see the card at this point. If the card is an ace, I MUST say that the card is an ace. However, if the card is a king I can either tell the truth and say that it is a king or I can lie and say that it is an ace. If I say that the card is a king, it really is king--I can only lie by saying the card is an ace when it is really a king. Your role in this game is try to catch me lying.
The payoffs in the game are these:

  1. If I say the card is a king nothing happens. I can't be lying so no money changes hands--I just take a new card and go again. I have to say that a card is a king every now and then because you know that the deck is one-half kings.
  2. If I say that the card is an ace you can either Call or Fold. If you Fold you lose 50 cents and you will never know whether or not I was bluffing. If you Call, you will get to see my card and find out if I was bluffing or telling the truth.
    1. If you Call and I was bluffing you win $1.
    2. If you Call and I was not bluffing you lose $1.


So that's the setup.  From a technical point of view, there is a optimal lying percentage (for me) and an optimal calling percentage (for you). I am playing according to the optimal percentage but even if you play correctly you will still lose--just not as much.

 Click here to start a game of Liar's Poker. When you get to the Liar's Poker page, click the Let's Play button to begin. If the card is a King, you will need to click on the Let's Play button again to get another card. If I say the card is an Ace, click on either the Call or Fold button, then click on the Let's Play button to get another card.
    One word of warning: this is a "fair" setup, but the random number generator does not seem too random.

THANX TO: jrfain@okway.okstate.edu  for the use of this JAVA Script.
 


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