Strategy in Poker, Business & War
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Whether your primary interest is to improve your card game or put together a political coalition, here you will be enjoyably instructed in an approach to strategy that has caught the imagination of a generation of readers.
John McDonald looks at the elusive thread of opposition and conflict that runs through human interrelationships, from the striking of a bargain to the clash of war. He discusses poker; game theory, as it applies to games but mainly to business; the strategies of buyers and sellers; and finally military and other applications.
the bidding, but the signals are not specified in the rules and their use is not mandatory. They are introduced as strategies by the players. The winning bid is an optimum and the subsequent play tests the risks it represents. The hands are played out for the most part on straight probability calculation. Yet there is imperfect information between the opponents too. Misleading plays are sometimes made, as in departures from the usually correct policy for discarding. The decisive aspect of bridge
that it takes a strategy to become informed. . . . . . . Political strategists often attempt to explain everything that a powerful nation says in the United Nations or does on the political scene in terms solely of a definite strategical pattern which it is assumed can be discovered by fitting all the pieces together. Such analysis fails to account for the possibility that some political moves may be made on a random basis just in order to throw the opposition off the scent. A “rational”
art. The political conventions of the Republican and Democratic parties, for example, are coalition games. Each candidate goes in generally with a number of votes short of a nominating majority. The “game” is for each candidate to attempt to secure that majority through coalitions with other-candidate groups and at the same time to break up or prevent competing coalitions. Such coalitions have a political “price” in the form of patronage or policy. The price paid by any member of a coalition is
an approach to the latter, the theory of games described here marks a break with classic game theory. This may be seen by looking at the elements of a few well-known games. The simple one-man game, solitaire, is one man against the cards. It has only chance elements, for one of the players (the cards, or nature) cannot think and has no influence on the game. All voluntary moves belong to the player who is man. The game therefore is non-strategical and can be played on probability theory alone.
“rational” approach, the best either can do in this game is break even. It may be worth observing here that if one matched pennies correctly a million times, he could win or lose a thousand pennies. A chance device does not remove the factor of dispersion, the swings of the pendulum of chance. What it removes is a trend. This game introduces the first important strategical element in the theory of games, namely, random choice; for in this simple game a good player takes risks that depend on