Take the 2-minute tour ×
Mathematics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people studying math at any level and professionals in related fields. It's 100% free, no registration required.

You are playing a game where you put in a certain amount of money $m$. A random number in $[0, 1]$ is chosen. If the number is greater than $p$, you now have k% more money, otherwise, you lose all of your money. You can play the game as many times as you want, but you have finite and finite time. What strategy would optimize your return?

Explicit example:

Let's say the probability of winning is 0.6.

You have \$$10$. You put \$$1$ in and win 15%. So you have \$$1.15$. You play again with that \$$1.15$, but this time you lose. \$$1.15$ -> \$$0.00$.

But you still have \$$9$ left. You put \$$2$ in and win 15%, (\$$2.30$). You keep it in and win again (\$$2.645$). And you play one more time and win again (\$$3.04165$). You decide to withdraw from the pot, so your total is \$$12.04165$.

Obviously, if you put the whole \$$10$ and play until you lose, your expected value is \$$0$. But the expected value of just one game is positive...

share|improve this question
2  
It is not clear that you have any strategy at all. Do you have any control over $m$? $p$? $k$? the meaning of random? –  Gerry Myerson Mar 2 '13 at 5:53
    
Assuming m, k, p given; and you want to maximise expectation? You can decide to play or not at each round? –  Macavity Mar 2 '13 at 6:18
    
@Nick Remember, that the $ means that you want something in LaTeX. Therefore, if you "$10 texttext $5", it will take that as you want everything within the \$$ sign as LaTeX. Therefore, use this next time \$$number$ –  gekkostate Mar 2 '13 at 6:19
    
Are you trying to describe the following game? _____ $p$ and $k$ are fixed numbers. You start with $N$ dollars. You will play $T$ rounds of a game. Each round, you select any real number $0 \leq M \leq N$. With probability $p$, you win $kM$ dollars. With probability $1-p$ you lose $M$ dollars. _____ Note you don't need any special caveats for "stop playing" and "lose all your money": both cases are handled by simply choosing $M=0$ for all of the remaining rounds. –  Hurkyl Mar 2 '13 at 6:44
1  
@Hurkyl, I think at each round you select (as your bet size) any real number from zero to your current holdings (which generally won't be the $N$ you started with). –  Gerry Myerson Mar 2 '13 at 12:18
add comment

1 Answer 1

Technically speaking, there's only one option, which is to keep stepping forward. Mathematical games, as far as I understand it, don't include not playing as an option. There's no way to optimize or formulate any strategy, because the other player in the game has perfect play as their only move, and always wins with perfect play.

So I guess the optimal strategy is to keep playing until you lose all your money, since it's the only strategy.

I would look at the definition of a game at this Wikipedia article

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.