What Type of Math Is Used in Game Theory?


Martha Robinson

Game theory is a fascinating field of study that combines elements of mathematics, economics, and psychology. It is used to understand and predict how people behave in strategic situations where the outcome depends on the decisions of multiple players. In order to fully comprehend game theory, it is important to have a solid understanding of various mathematical concepts.

Probability Theory

Probability theory is an essential component of game theory, as it helps us understand the likelihood of certain outcomes occurring. In game theory, probabilities are often used to determine the expected value of a particular decision or strategy. This information can then be used to make informed choices that maximize one’s chances of success.

Linear Algebra

Linear algebra is another important area of math that plays a significant role in game theory. This branch of mathematics deals with systems of linear equations and matrices. Matrices are particularly useful in game theory because they can be used to represent different strategies and outcomes.


Calculus is yet another field of mathematics that is relevant to game theory. Specifically, differential calculus is often used in game theory models to help understand how small changes in variables can affect overall outcomes. Calculus also provides a framework for optimizing strategies based on various constraints or limitations.

Game Theory Applications

Now that we have discussed some of the key mathematical concepts behind game theory, let’s take a closer look at how these concepts are applied in real-world situations.

  • Economics: Game theory has numerous applications in economics, particularly when it comes to understanding market behavior and pricing strategies.
  • Biology: Game theory can also be used to model biological interactions such as predator-prey relationships or evolutionary competition.
  • Poker: Poker players often use game theory principles when making decisions at the table, such as calculating pot odds and expected value.
  • Political Science: Game theory is frequently used in political science to understand voting behavior and the strategies used by candidates in elections.


In conclusion, game theory is a complex field of study that requires a solid understanding of various mathematical concepts. Probability theory, linear algebra, and calculus are just a few examples of the types of math that are used in game theory models. By studying these concepts and their applications in different fields, we can gain valuable insights into strategic decision making and human behavior.