Institute of Mathematics, and the Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality

Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Working Paper

Hansen KA, Ibsen-Jensen R, Neyman A. The Big Match with a Clock and a Bit of Memory. Working Paper.Abstract 15_12_2017finite_memory_bm.pdf

The Big Match is a multi-stage two-player game. In each stage Player 1 hides one or two pebbles in his hand, and his opponent has to guess that number; Player 1 loses a point if Player~2 is correct, and otherwise he wins a point. As soon as Player 1 hides one pebble, the players cannot change their choices in any future stage.

Blackwell and Ferguson (1968) give an epsilon-optimal strategy for Player 1 that hides, in each stage, one pebble with a probability that depends on the entire past history. Any strategy that depends just on the clock or on a finite memory is worthless.

The long-standing natural open problem has been whether every strategy that depends just on the clock and a finite memory is worthless.

The present paper proves that there is such a strategy that is epsilon-optimal.

In fact, we show that just two states of memory are sufficient.

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