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Guide to Game Theory & Statistics

Not everyone’s interested in Final Jeopardy! wagering – but the game theory underlying it is useful on a daily basis.

In that vein, I present The Final Wager’s Guide to Game Theory: an introduction to the fascinating world of determining the optimal approach to almost anything.

Below, you’ll find my posts on game theory and statistics, from basic concepts to their applications in everyday life.

1.3 billion dollars

How many tickets will be sold for Wednesday's insane jackpot? I attempt to predict the number.

Smart Powerball

On Saturday, January 9, Powerball might have a positive expected value.

Tips to beat Threes



How many ways can 12 horses finish in the top 3 spots?

That Super Bowl interception

A few economists have used game theory to justify a controversial play call – but like the Seahawks, they come up short.

The challenge of Threes!

In which I try to reach the penultimate level in the world's most addictive game.

World Cup knockout rounds

An attempt to model the playoff bracket of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

How the US can beat Belgium

A tongue-in-cheek follow-up to my Group G post.

World Cup Group G

It's very easy to say that Germany and the USA should just draw. The reality is a bit trickier than that, though.

The first-mover advantage

Usually, the benefits go to the first individual or company to claim a particular niche – but sometimes, things go wrong.

Understanding Crimea

Circumstances have changed since the USSR fell in 1991, but many game-theory applications still hold.

Dominance: a way to eliminate worse choices

Dominance occurs when you'll always prefer one option over another.

Expected value and independent events

We'll look at one of the most basic concepts of not only game theory, but of life: calculating the expected value of an event.

Mixed strategies and wagering theory

We've already looked at sequential games like chess; here, we're going to look at simultaneous games, like Final Jeopardy! wagering.


A concept not only for games like tic-tac-toe and checkers, but also for real-life choices, such as whether to ask someone out on a date.

Zero-sum games

In a zero-sum game, one participant's gains are offset by losses from the other players.

Nash equilibrium

Situations where, given another player's choice, your best choice is obvious – or perhaps not.
The Final Wager's Guide to Game Theory - Home
2003 Jeopardy! College Champion Keith Williams lays out basic and advanced game theory concepts in easy-to-understand terms. Topics include Nash equilibria (both pure and mixed-strategy), zero-sum games, minimax, backward induction, expected value, independent events, and The Gambler's Fallacy.
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