MATH 1150
Mathematics of Games
Spring 2011

This is the homepage for MATH 1150 (Mathematics of Games). This page will be updated throughout the term with important information for our course, including homework assignments, review materials, and more.

  • I am available anytime Monday and Tuesday before the exam for appointments if you need any last-minute help.
  • A topic list for reviewing for the final is posted below.
  • Solutions to Assignment 9 are posted below.
  • Solutions for the midterm have been posted.
Course Information

Course meets every MW from 12:00 p.m. - 1:50 p.m. in John Greene Hall 219.

Instructor: Ronnie Pavlov
Office: John Greene Hall 304
Phone: (303)-871-4001
Office hours: Tuesday 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m., Friday 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., or by appointment


Text: Game Theory and Strategy by Philip D. Straffin.

This book is available at the DU Bookstore.

Course summary

Most of us have played games such as Tic-Tac-Toe, chess, Go, checkers, and poker. Many games can be studied mathematically using a branch of mathematics called game theory. We will discuss various facets of elementary game theory, including (but not limited to!) how to formulate strategies, what makes some strategies “better” than others, what makes some games difficult or impossible to analyze, and applications to real-world concepts. Specific topics we may cover include the Nash equilibrium, the prisoner’s dilemma, and bluffing in poker.

The class will not be purely theoretical; we will spend lots of time applying the course concepts by playing various games. A homework assignment might involve analyzing a simple game, devising a winning strategy, and then trying it out during class.

The course will be roughly broken up into two halves. The first half will be devoted to games where both players move simultaneously, without knowledge of the other player's move. (These are also called matrix games.) In the second half, we will focus on games where the players move sequentially, taking turns, until the game ends. (These are also called sequential games.)

Grading scheme

Your term grade will consist of homework assignments (which may include problems from the text, problems I make up, or slightly longer open-ended projects), one midterm exam, and one final exam, broken down in the following way:

50% Homework
20% Midterm Exam
30% Final Exam



You will have a midterm exam on Monday, May 2nd, and a final exam on May 31st. Both exams will be in our classroom during classtime (12:00 p.m. - 1:50 p.m.)

Here is a list of study topics for the final exam.

Here is a list of study topics for the midterm.

Here are solutions for the midterm.

Course Policies

Coming soon!