Probability and Game Theory

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Probability and Game Theory
Math Course
Course CodeGAME
Year Opened1998
Sites OfferedBRI, LAN, LOS
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Course Description

From the CTY Catalog:

The study of probability and game theory allows students to apply math to real-world situations. In this course, you’ll learn to use some of the major tools of game theory, a branch of mathematics focused on the application of mathematical reasoning to competitive behavior. You’ll explore concepts like dominance, mixed strategies, utility theory, Nash equilibria, and n-person games, and learn how to use tools from probability and linear algebra to analyze and develop successful game strategies. The games you’ll “play” in this course are abstract representations of real-life situations; for example, Nash equilibria have been used to solve questions of political competition and analyze penalty kicks in soccer, and the Prisoner’s Dilemma has been used to examine the social networks of different populations. Class exercises involve individual and group work and may also include fun class tournaments.

Class History

Game Theory teaches how to get what's best for you in certain situations, disregarding what's best for Player 2.

You will come to know and love Colin, Rose, and sometimes Larry.

Casino Night

At Carlisle, members of the Game Theory class also consistently do well at Casino Night. However, at LMU, the boy halls of Game Theory do badly. In 07.2, the guys got 16th(?). In 08.1, the boys did badly again. In 08.2, the boys did extremely badly, ending up as the second to last hall. This may have been because the GAME boys gave money to the GAME girls. The girl's halls tend to do pretty well: In 07.2, the GAME girl (and the hall she was in) got 2nd, and in 08.2, the GAME girls got 6th.

At LMU, the GAME girls hall duct taped staff members to a tree in 07.2 and 08.2, although the 07.2 hall can hardly be called the "GAME girls' hall" since it consisted of one girl from GAME and 10 from ETYM.

In 23.1, many members of GAME were devoted to winning Casino Night, and spent evening classes and breaks playing Texas Hold'em to practice strategy. Unfortunately, due to The Great Casino Night Fiasco of 23.1 (Hall of Shame page coming soon), the results will never be known.


GAME.CAR.06.2 was next to the Ethics class. The class produced the Cucumber Cult and spawned many games (more info on the Cucumber Cult page).

Los Angeles

GAME.LOS.08.2 spent several classes playing online Deal or No Deal™. The game was often laced with heated arguments about which case to open (23!) and whether the expected value of the game was more important than winning money. In the casino that was run at the end of the session, there were two versions of Deal or No Deal, which people enjoyed because it was easy to win money.

GAME.B.LOS.16.2 was an...interesting class taught by Alan, an avid Dodgers fan who needs more hair, who also happened to have a fairly monotone voice which caused several to fall asleep every day. The TA was Ryan, who all the students secretly called mean behind his back because whenever he said anything it sounded like he was yelling at them. The course itself was intense (although there were some extremely smart students who already knew all the material) and being able to solve problems on the post-test was the most satisfying thing. The first two weeks were lectures and learning until your brain exploded so by the third week the students ran out of things to learn, resulting in heated debates about Donald Trump vs. Hilary and gun control laws (aka discussing topics completely unrelated to the course). A lot of the night sessions resulted in playing poker, random board games, and Pass the Pigs. At Casino Night, the other courses expected the Game Theory classes to come out on top, but the boys' hall ultimately failed. However, the girls' hall got the top girls' hall and fourth overall. The girls hall had *legal* "scamming" tactics, which the boys' hall succumbed to. (Ex: tricking one guy into playing war against three girls in the same hall—easy money) Overall, entertaining class complete with the fake fobs and real fobs and Norwegian cruise lines and 5% of naturally high kids.

GAME.A.LOS 19.2 was an interesting and productive class taught by Adi, whose calm voice would be perfectly suited for bedtime stories, and caused at least three people to fall asleep. The TA was Alex, who was everyone's favorite Daddy, and had an extreme case of touchophobia. Night classes, a euphemism for "cRaCkhEad hour," made Alex die inside a little each night. The students found Alex's Instagram, but night sessions must have been so traumatizing that he has refused all their follow requests and group chat requests. Regardless, the students payed a homage to Alex and changed their caption to Alex's: "no pomegranates." The first week of game theory was more like geography theory, which was definitely not advertised on the course description, because a particular student had a penchant for guessing countries and would win a number of dollars from the class currency, "Wakanda Dollars." Breaks were spent playing Ultimate Frisbee on the field, or if you felt antisocial there was a small group of kids who played a group version of Solitaire. Both the boys and girls hall failed at Casino Night, to the surprise of everyone else and the exasperation of Alex, the boys because Game Theory B stole their money, and the girls because two kids in their hall in Logic decided to not listen to the game theory kids' insightful wisdom on going "all in" in a bet. Overall, the class was an educational, entertaining learning experience, from quoting the best film of all time, "Killer Bean Forever," to struggling to understand Jamaican Fishing.


At Skidmore, all members of the Game Theory class hate it. If you are going to be at Skidmore, you should NOT take this class. You may be proud afterward, but it puts a downer on everyone in class and you won't have a happy group of people to hang out with.

Coming from a formal student of Game Theory at SAR 12.1, Game Theory itself is very interesting. The materials taught is difficult, however it's shown how Game Theory and it's subbranches such as Linear Programming have many real-life applications. The teacher, David Vella, on the other hand...Let's just say I fell asleep a couple times during class. Anyone from that class reading this will instantly know who I am.

To the above person, I am sorry, but if you think you will ever apply this class to real life, you will never be able to, even if you try hard. I took this class 09.1 at Skidmore with the same teacher, and I have yet to ever use this class in my life.

SAR 13.1 represent. Amazing year.

GAME.SAR.14.1 had four girls and eleven boys. The subject itself is fairly interesting but the teaching was sometimes hard to follow. The teacher (David Vella) went through the material quickly. The first week and a half is just teaching math like set theory to prepare the students for the game theory part. If you think that this course is all about playing games, its not…You play about three different games. Although many expect the GAME students to do well at Casino Night, they are wrong. Their halls get close to last. In the end, students feel accomplished and exhausted after a whole three weeks of staring at a board covered with math.

GAME.SAR.18.1 was taught by Andres Sanches Jabba and was unanimously thought of as exceptionally fun. Andres, rumored to be a Russian spy posing as a Columbian spy posing as a game theory professor was exceptionally engaging and made the session incredible. Andres' two most prized possessions were his Elder wand (which Stefan a.k.a Poi Boi accidentally hit off the table) and his Sandwich recipe (known only by one other person). His lectures were fun and useful (unlike the explanations in the textbook). Only two people fell asleep (due to sleep deprivation rather than the content of the lectures). The one exception to the awfulness of the textbook are the footnotes (pay close attention to pages 76 and 297). Games were played throughout the session for prizes of glow sticks and breaks were occasionally taken indoors to watch the world cup or "friendly international matches". The final projects, despite devoting lots of time to them, were awful (with the exception of one).


GAME.LAN.13.1 had an awesome teacher and had fun in class. However, it was often so cold in the classroom that the students brought blankets to class, resulting in several of them falling asleep.

GAME.LAN.14.1 was taught by Rohan. There were three girls (Roshni, Sophia, and Claire) and eleven boys. Amazing class, amazing teacher, amusing days. Colin + Rose = OTP #Rolin #Yoloswag

As recently as 23.1, Game Theory at LAN.1 is taught by Kirk (since 22.1), and TA Adam (since 18.1). They are a hilarious duo, and incorporate many activities and skits (e.g. Let's Make a Deal, Wizard's Duels, Battle of the Sexes, Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma, Golden Balls, Fair Division of a Cake, and Poker Chip Auctions) in the style of those of Number Theory and other CTY classes. Additionally, TA Adam, a CTY forevermore, often buys glowsticks for students, and teaches them to rave during class breaks and quad time. The class is highly recommended to any Session 1 CTYer.