Games You Can’t Lose and Sneaky Puzzles

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Explore some general strategies for successfully solving simple games and puzzles. As you hone your skills at games and puzzles, including 20 Questions, Mastermind, Ghost, The Tower of Hanoi, variations of Tic Tac Toe, and Cram (a cross between checkers and dominoes), you'll start seeing how mathematical ideas and concepts…
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Investigate the mathematics of Texas Hold'em, one of the most popular traditional poker games. What's the probability your hand will improve before and after more cards are revealed? How do you calculate your "pot odds" to help you determine your proper wagering decisions? You will also learn simple and effective…
The Joy of Counting
Episode 4 of The Joy of Mathematics
Combinatorics is the study of counting questions such as: How many outfits are possible if you own 8 shirts, 5 pairs of pants, and 10 ties? A trickier question: How many ways are there to arrange 10 books on a shelf? Combinatorics can also be used to analyze numbering systems,…
Winning Ways—It’s Your Move!
Finish this series with a look back at the three categories that most games fall into (games where the last player to move wins, games where the goal is to be the first to create a structure, and games where the player who accumulates the most stuff wins). Cram, NIM,…
I’m a Shopaholic and Can’t Stop Spending
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Shopping is a global pastime, and one that we can indulge in online, in store and at every minute of every day of the year. The benefits of retail therapy can be boundless but what happens when shopaholic sprees spiral out of control? When does wanting something new become more…
The Joy of Mathematical Games
Episode 23 of The Joy of Mathematics
This lecture applies the law of total probability and other concepts from the course to predict the long-term losses to be expected from playing games such as roulette and craps and understand what is known as the "Gambler's Ruin Problem."