Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2004

Department

Computer Science

Abstract

The object of the jeopardy dice game Pig is to be the first player to reach 100 points. Each player's turn consists of repeatedly rolling a die. After each roll, the player is faced with two choices: roll again, or hold (decline to roll again).

  • If the player rolls a 1, the player scores nothing and it becomes the opponent's turn.
  • If the player rolls a number other than 1, the number is added to the player's turn total and the player's turn continues.
  • If the player holds, the turn total, the sum of the rolls during the turn, is added to the player's score, and it becomes the opponent's turn.

For such a simple dice game, one might expect a simple optimal strategy, such as in Blackjack (e.g., "stand on 17" under certain circumstances, etc.). As we shall see, this simple dice game yields a much more complex and intriguing optimal policy, described here for the first time. The reader should be familiar with basic concepts and notation of probability and linear algebra.

Required Publisher's Statement

Original version available from the publisher at: http://www.comap.com/product/periodicals/

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