The Mathematics of Games and Puzzles
From Cards to Sudoku Series

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12 episodes in this series

Episode 1 Let the Games Begin!
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…
Episode 2 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…
Episode 3 Optimal Blackjack and Simple Card Counting
Depending on how you play it, blackjack can be the best or the worst game in a casino. Here, Professor Benjamin shows you how to get the best of blackjack…
Episode 4 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.…
Episode 5 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…
Episode 6 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…
Episode 7 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…
Episode 8 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…
Episode 9 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…
Episode 10 Solving Sudoku
What's the key to solving Sudoku problems when you're at your wits' end? Training your mind to look for patterns and to use careful logic, just like mathematicians. This episode…
Episode 11 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…
Episode 12 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…

Related videos

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…
Let the Games Begin!
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…
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…
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…
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…
Solving Sudoku
What's the key to solving Sudoku problems when you're at your wits' end? Training your mind to look for patterns and to use careful logic, just like mathematicians. This episode is packed with helpful techniques and strategies for overcoming even the most difficult Sudoku grids. Among those you'll learn about:…
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.
Games with Strange Loops
Leap into puzzles and mind-benders that teach you the rudiments of game theory. Divide loot with bloodthirsty pirates, ponder the two-envelope problem, learn about Newcomb's paradox, visit the island where everyone has blue eyes, and try your luck at prisoner's dilemma.
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…
Bending Space and Time
Search for the solutions to classic geometric puzzles, including the vanishing leprechaun, in which 15 leprechauns become 14 before your eyes. Next, scratch your head over a missing square, try to connect an array of dots with the fewest lines, and test yourself with map challenges. Also learn how to…
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…
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,…