For The Win!… Or The Lesser of Two Evils: Dating and Jeopardy! Edition

As is often said, or not said, game theory or the prisoner’s dilemma can be used through various walks of life. In particular these two articles show how it can used anything from taking home your first place earnings on Jeapordy!, to scoring a romantic date for Valentine’s Day. In the case of both, the “contestants” of the games go for their best possible outcome given what they know about the game, and what would the players best benefit from.

The approach to the “game” in both articles relied heavily upon what the opponent may are may not do.  In the game of Jeopardy!, Arthur Chu placed his bets, in terms of how much more he would need to simply tie with the second place opponent given that they would wager everything they had to take the lead. By doing so, Chu would accomplish the very thing every Jeopardy player wants, which is to win, while at the same time not wagering in a way that would put him in danger of losing. His strategy during the main part of the game includes aggressively jumping around the board, increasing his chances of finding the daily double and at the same time building an edge and throwing the other contestants off. The all abide by the same rules as contestants, Chu though is the only one that uses the rules to enhance his strategy. Other players are much too cautious, and maybe even a bit too greedy, so they have not done as well as Chu.

In the “game” of Valentine’s Day dating, the same reasoning that Chu used can be approached. The Valentine’s Day article explains how game theory can be used to explain the few Valentine’s dates. Basically we the idea of rejection decreases the payoff of the date for some people. Thereby making the idea of the date not as attractive. People would rather walk away without a date, but still their dignity in tact.

To some the all or nothing approach is the way to go. Playing it safe when you don’t have a lot of information may be the best strategy for dating. In a game like Jeapordy!, where everyone is governed by the same rules, the all or nothing approach may work best since whether you win or lose is dependent mostly upon your own abilities.

One thought on “For The Win!… Or The Lesser of Two Evils: Dating and Jeopardy! Edition”

  1. I really enjoyed the article about Chu. I was hearing about how he is “ruining” jeopardy but after reading that article he is really just using the rules to increase his chances. By betting to tie Chu used game theory to ensure he would be back for next weeks show because a tie is treated the same way as a tie. I think that his strategy is brilliant. I also found the valentine day article pretty interesting to see how the equilibrium of walking away without a date is the dominate strategy even though both people would have been happier otherwise.

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