The Poker Face

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THE POKER FACE:

USING GAME THEORY TO MAXIMIZE RESULTS

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THE POKER FACE:

USING GAME THEORY TO MAXIMIZE RESULTS
Greg Dinkin

I think we all have one teacher whom we never forget. And, for me, that was Mr. Baker, seventh-grade English. Mr. Baker had two passions, literature and discipline, but not necessarily in that order. But his idea of discipline wasn’t detention, it was if you did something wrong, you didn’t think critically or understand his literature, he made you stand in the corner of the room for a half-hour with your nose to the wall.

So, one day, we were reading a short story, and the main character, or protagonist, was Bill. The only thing you need to know about Bill is he was the only man in the village who had a gun. He had all his prestige, all his power, all his esteem from this gun. So, one day he goes out in the jungle, and a wild animal attacks him and he goes to fire. Somehow his gun doesn’t fire right, and he manages, in a brilliant display of courage,to kill this animal with his bare hands. So he goes back to the village. What does he tell everyone about what transpired? Well, that’s what Mr. Baker wanted to know. So we took a pause inthe story and said, “OK, what does Bill tell everybody?” Well, Chrissy raised her hand and said, “Oh Mr. Baker, call on me. I know. I’m honest. I would go tell the truth. I don’t tell lies.”Well, at that point, Mr. Baker had that vein popping out of his forehead. He didn’t seem to like Chrissy’s answer. But Randy was like the Arnold Horshack from “Welcome Back, Kotter.” “Oh, Mr. Baker, call on me, call on me.” He said, “I know.” He said, “Mr. Baker, I’d go back there and tell them how brave I was. I’d really play it up. Add a little bit of polish to the story, make it seem like it was an even bigger animal.”

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