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The Mathematics of Games and Puzzles - From Cards to Sudoku Series
Whether it's chess, poker, or Sudoku, most games have this in common: Everything you need to win is rooted in mathematics. Now, using nothing more than a simple grasp of math, you can discover optimal ways to win games and solve puzzles with the speed and accuracy of professional players.…
Solving “Impossible” Puzzles
Try your hand at some classic puzzles that have been driving people crazy for centuries involving sliding blocks, jumping pegs, and blinking lights--each of which deals heavily with odd or even numbers. Once you've learned some handy mathematical concepts and tools for solving these puzzles, these fun and exciting games…
Games You Can’t Lose and Sneaky Puzzles
The world of games is filled with scams. The trick: knowing the strategies behind how these hustles work so you can avoid being exploited. Explore the fundamentals of nontransitive properties through penny ante, Bingo, and games involving dice and cards. Then, get a lively introduction to some simple puzzles involving…
Mathematics and Chess
Chess is more like doing real mathematics than almost any other game out there. You'll get a quick overview of how it's is played; learn how to see connections between math and chess; explore some classic chess puzzles and problems; tap into strategies and tactics for the opening, middle, and…
Expert Backgammon
Mathematically trained players also have a decisive edge in backgammon, which trains you to make decisions in highly uncertain conditions. Professor Benjamin explains the rules of the game, the basic strategies for winning, the best ways to play your opening rolls, and how math constantly enters the picture--from figuring out…
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,…
Mastering Rubik’s Cube
It's one of the most famous puzzles ever invented. But Professor Benjamin has an easy-to-learn, eight-step method for solving this mind-bending puzzle quickly and accurately--every time. After examining the mathematics behind the cube, you'll follow him step-by-step through an algorithm that will have you solving any Rubik's Cube in less…
Games of Chance and Winning Wagers
Turn now to games that rely heavily on chance and betting, such as roulette and craps, and learn how to evaluate the fairness (or unfairness) of games using the ever-important concept of expected value. Once you know if a game is to your advantage or not, you can use the…
Mixed Strategies and the Art of Bluffing
What happens when you're playing a game with an intelligent adversary whose goals are opposed to yours? You have a zero-sum game such as penny matching, rock-paper-scissors, and simplified poker. Discover how to use math to bluff, play unpredictably, and win these kinds of games through powerful strategies.
Practical Poker Probabilities
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,…
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."