Lecture 1 - Introduction to Game Theory: five first lessons

author: Benjamin Polak, Department of Economics, Yale University
recorded by: Yale University
published: Nov. 15, 2010,   recorded: September 2007,   views: 19263
released under terms of: Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)

See Also:

Download Video - generic video source Download yaleecon159f07_polak_lec01_01.mov (Video - generic video source 571.2 MB)

Download Video Download yaleecon159f07_polak_lec01_01.flv (Video 247.5 MB)

Download Video Download yaleecon159f07_polak_lec01_01_640x360_h264.mp4 (Video 205.1 MB)

Help icon Streaming Video Help

Related Open Educational Resources

Related content

Report a problem or upload files

If you have found a problem with this lecture or would like to send us extra material, articles, exercises, etc., please use our ticket system to describe your request and upload the data.
Enter your e-mail into the 'Cc' field, and we will keep you updated with your request's status.
Lecture popularity: You need to login to cast your vote.


We introduce Game Theory by playing a game. We organize the game into players, their strategies, and their goals or payoffs; and we learn that we should decide what our goals are before we make choices. With some plausible payoffs, our game is a prisoners' dilemma. We learn that we should never choose a dominated strategy; but that rational play by rational players can lead to bad outcomes. We discuss some prisoners' dilemmas in the real world and some possible real-world remedies. With other plausible payoffs, our game is a coordination problem and has very different outcomes: so different payoffs matter. We often need to think, not only about our own payoffs, but also others' payoffs. We should put ourselves in others' shoes and try to predict what they will do. This is the essence of strategic thinking.

Reading assignment:

Strategies and Games: Theory And Practice. (Dutta): Chapter 1, Sections 1-3

Strategy: An Introduction to Game Theory. (Watson): Chapter 1


Summary Lecture 1 [PDF]
Blackboard Notes Lecture 1 [PDF]

Link this page

Would you like to put a link to this lecture on your homepage?
Go ahead! Copy the HTML snippet !

Reviews and comments:

Comment1 Mike, January 3, 2011 at 2:59 p.m.:

5 stars for this enthusiastic speaker!

Comment2 Fitim Sylejmani, April 15, 2013 at 4:50 a.m.:

Hi there,

This is quite good explanation


Comment3 Daniel W. Chesley, November 29, 2021 at 4:16 p.m.:

Informative post! Thank you for introducing us to the game theory. we know that the game theory tries to understand the strategic actions of two or more "players" in a given situation containing set rules and outcomes. as well as it is a classic theory which applicable all most of the fields. actually, I am a professional gamer, Recently I got this website https://casinosters.com/banking-metho... where they shared some of the best apples pay online casinos that can bring an opportunity to win money by playing different types of casino games.

Write your own review or comment:

make sure you have javascript enabled or clear this field: