Stripped-down poker: A classroom game with signaling and bluffing

David H. Reiley, Michael B. Urbancic, Mark Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The authors present a simplified, "stripped-down" version of poker as an instructional classroom game. Although Stripped-Down Poker is extremely simple, it nevertheless provides an excellent illustration of a number of topics: signaling, bluffing, mixed strategies, the value of information, and Bayes's Rule. The authors begin with a description of Stripped-Down Poker: how to play it, what makes it an interesting classroom game, and how to teach its solution to students. They describe how signaling, bluffing, and so forth emerge naturally as important features of the game and then discuss possible applications of this game-theoretic model to real-world interactions, such as litigation, tax evasion, and domestic or international diplomacy. They also suggest modifications of the game either for use in class or as student exercises. For reference, they conclude with a brief history of game-theoretic treatments of poker.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-341
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Economic Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 1 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Classroom experiment
  • Game theory
  • Signaling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Economics and Econometrics


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