What Is a Dominant Strategy in Game Theory?


Diego Sanchez

Game theory is a mathematical framework used to analyze and understand strategic interactions between individuals or groups. One of the key concepts in game theory is the idea of a dominant strategy.

A dominant strategy is a choice that will always yield the best outcome for a player, regardless of what other players do. In other words, it is the best option regardless of how others behave.


Let’s consider an example of two friends, Alice and Bob, playing a game. They have to choose between two options: A or B.

If Alice chooses A and Bob chooses A, they both receive 5 points. If Alice chooses A and Bob chooses B, Alice gets 1 point and Bob gets 10 points.

If Alice chooses B and Bob chooses A, Alice gets 10 points and Bob gets 1 point. If Alice chooses B and Bob chooses B, they both receive 0 points.

Dominant Strategy

In this scenario, we can see that if Bob were to choose option A regardless of what Alice chose, it would be his dominant strategy.

If Bob plays A no matter what Alice does:
– If Alice plays A: he will get 5 points
– If Alice plays B: he will get 1 point

Conversely, if Alice were to choose option A regardless of what Bob chose, it would be her dominant strategy as well.

Thus in this particular example scenario both players have a dominant strategy which is “A”.

Nash Equilibrium

When every player in a game uses their dominant strategy then it results in Nash equilibrium. This means that no player can improve their own outcome by changing their decision while others remain unchanged.


Dominant strategies are important in game theory because they simplify decision-making for players. It helps to determine the most optimal strategies for each player in a game. Understanding and identifying dominant strategies can help individuals make better decisions in various fields such as economics, politics, and social sciences.