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God does not play dice with the universe; He plays an ineffable game of his own devising, which might be compared, from the perspective of any of the other players [i.e., everybody], to being involved in an obscure and complex version of poker in a pitch-dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a Dealer who won't tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time.
Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, Good Omens, 1991

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Kuhn Poker Game

In case you are here, you have probably heard something about Harold, W. Kuhn. In case you have not, Harold, W. Kuhn is the author of “Simplified Two-Person Poker”, written back in 1950. Kuhn contributed to the entire poker game theory and offered his game variant which for a usual poker player may not seem like a game at all. However, there are people who find it even interesting and rather challenging as well.

So what is the point in it?

Well, the point of the game itself, not the initial theory but the game is the following. There are only three cards engaged: according to the theory those three cards are King, Queen and Jack. The suits here do not matter at all. The whole thing is in players’ actions. Each player is dealt one card and none of them knows which card is dealt to the opponent. Another important thing here is that this game, the Kuhn Poker, involves only two players, so the third card is not shown, though discarded. The intrigue here is in the fact that two players may either check, raise or fold, but both of them have to bring in an ante (rather small as a rule). So the game continues.

According to the Kuhn’s theory, the first player, let us call him just a player№1 can use at least 18 strategies to complete a game, while the second player, the player №2 has only one possible strategy to use.

The Game Looks Like This

The player№1 may check or raise

In case player 1 checks then the second player may check or raise

  • In case a player 2 checks, the showdown takes place and the winner is determined depending on whose card is better
  • In case the player 2 raises, a player 1 may call or fold.
  • If player 1 folds – the second player grabs the pot
  • In case player 1 calls – the showdown takes place and the winner is determined

In case a player 1 raises then the second player my call or fold

  • In case player 2 calls, the showdown takes place and the higher card wins the pot
  • In case player 2 folds – the player 1 grabs the pot
  • As you see this kind of game is rather direct. All the ways out are just predictable even more they have already been predicted by H.Kuhn, and the only point here is just to try your luck. In order to make it more interesting, one can pretend that when choosing a check you are kind of bluffing.

    Anyway, we wish you good luck in trying your hand in it!

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