Playing for Real: A Text on Game Theory / Edition 1

Hardcover (Print)
Rent from
(Save 75%)
Est. Return Date: 04/29/2015
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $66.28
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 16%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (9) from $66.28   
  • New (4) from $66.30   
  • Used (5) from $66.28   


Ken Binmore's previous game theory textbook, Fun and Games (D.C. Heath, 1991), carved out a significant niche in the advanced undergraduate market; it was intellectually serious and more up-to-date than its competitors, but also accessibly written. Its central thesis was that game theory allows us to understand many kinds of interactions between people, a point that Binmore amply demonstrated through a rich range of examples and applications. This replacement for the now out-of-date 1991 textbook retains the entertaining examples, but changes the organization to match how game theory courses are actually taught, making Playing for Real a more versatile text that almost all possible course designs will find easier to use, with less jumping about than before. In addition, the problem sections, already used as a reference by many teachers, have become even more clever and varied, without becoming too technical. Playing for Real will sell into advanced undergraduate courses in game theory, primarily those in economics, but also courses in the social sciences, and serve as a reference for economists.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Ken Binmore is an outstanding exponent of game theory. His many books are written in a delightfully fresh and engaging style, as is this one. Enjoy!"--Robert Aumann, Center for the Study of Rationality, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences, 2005

"Delightfully written and thoroughly revised, this long-awaited intellectual child of Ken Binmore's Fun and Games retains the solid foundation of the original while expanding to cover an impressive array of new ideas. It stands out among game theory texts in explaining not only how to do game theory, but when and why to do it. It is the ideal place to learn game theory for the first time or to gain a fresh perspective on ideas that a career's work have made familiar." --Larry Samuelson, University of Wisconsin

"One of the world's leading game theorists explains the subject with sparkle and wit. He challenges the reader to think deeply about strategic rationality without becoming esoteric, and shows how the theory illuminates down-to-earth topics like gambling, auctions, business competition, and game show contests. A gem of a book written by a master." --Peyton Young, Scott and Barbara Black Professor of Economics, Johns Hopkins University, and Professor of Economics, University of Oxford

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195300574
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 3/29/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 656
  • Sales rank: 1,021,512
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 7.30 (h) x 1.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Ken Binmore is a mathematician-turned-economist who has devoted his life to the theory of games and its applications in economics, evolutionary biology, psychology, and moral philosophy. He is well known for his part in designing the telecom auction that raised $35 billion for the British taxpayer, but his major research contributions are to the theory of bargaining and its testing in the laboratory. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is the author of 12 books and some 90 research papers. He is Emeritus Professor of Economics at University College London.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Lecture 1: Getting Locked In
In this introductory lecture, a famous game called the Prisoners' Dilemma is introduced and used to illustrate how game theory can be used to clarify a variety of strategic problems. The idea of a Nash equilibrium makes its first appearance.

Lecture 2: Backing Up
This chapter starts to explain how one can specify the rules of a game by introducing the idea of a game tree. We learn how some games can be solved by backward induction.

Lecture 3: Taking Chances
Chance moves are introduced. Bayes rule for updating conditional probabilities appears for the first time.

Lecture 4: Accounting for Tastes
We learn that a rational player in a risky situation will behave as though maximizing the expected value of a Von Neumann and Morgenstern utility function.

Lecture 5: Planning Ahead
The ideas of an extensive and strategic form of a game are consolidated. We learn the mechanics of successively deleting dominated strategies.

Lecture 6: Mixing Things Up
Rational players will sometimes need to randomoize their strategy choice to keep their opponents guessing. This chapter explains how to work with such mixed strategies.

Lecture 7: Buying Cheap and Selling Dear
This chapter is an introduction to the use of game theory in economics. Students of economics will find most topics are treated from a different angle than they have probably seem before.

Lecture 8: Repeating Yourself
Most of the games we play in real life are repeated over and over again. This makes a big difference to how they get played.

Lecture 9: Getting Together
This chapter applies game theory to bargaining.

Lecture 10: Knowing What to Believe
One of the big successes of game theory lies in its ability to handle some situations in which players have good reason to conceal information from each other.

Lecture 11: Taking Charge
This lecture is an optional extra about auctions and mechanism design. It can serve as a possible substitute for Lecture 8 or 9.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)