Online Class

The Mathematics of Games & Puzzles: From Cards to Sudoku

by The Great Courses

Harness the power of math to increase your chances of winning a variety of games and puzzles.

Skill Level


What You Get

  • 12 Streaming HD video lessons with anytime, anywhere access
  • Downloadable class resources, including a printable 138-page guidebook with lesson summaries and exercises
  • More than 8 hours of close-up instruction
  • Answers from fellow classmates in our virtual classroom

How it works

  • Once you purchase, find your class in your class library.
  • Watch on any device anytime.
  • Find downloadable class resources in the class viewer.


Games and puzzles tease our brains, challenge our memories and strengthen our competitive skills. And whether it’s chess, poker or Sudoku, everything you need to win is rooted in mathematics. Get an in-depth look at math-oriented strategies to play — and win — games with acclaimed mathematician Arthur. T. Benjamin, Ph.D. Discover a rewarding set of skills that you can apply to countless games and puzzles, whether you’re playing in your living room or in a crowded casino. You’ll see that behind even the simplest of games lies proof of just how far-reaching mathematics is in your everyday life.

Lesson Breakdown

1. Let the Games Begin!
Meet your instructor, mathematician Arthur Benjamin, and begin by exploring general strategies for successfully solving simple games and puzzles. You'll see how mathematical ideas and concepts are essential to increasing your chances of winning.
2. Games of Chance & Winning Wagers
3. Optimal Blackjack & Simple Card Counting
4. Mixed Strategies & the Art of Bluffing
5. Practical Poker Probabilities
6. Expert Backgammon
7. Games You Can't Lose & Sneaky Puzzles
8. Solving "Impossible" Puzzles
9. Mastering Rubik's Cube
10. Solving Sudoku
11. Mathematics & Chess
12. Winning Ways: It's Your Move!

Taught by

Arthur T. Benjamin
Arthur T. Benjamin
Arthur T. Benjamin is professor of mathematics at Harvey Mudd College. He earned a Ph.D. in Mathematical Sciences from Johns Hopkins University in 1989. Prof. Benjamin's teaching has been honored repeatedly by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA). In 2000, he received the MAA Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo National Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics. The MAA also named Professor Benjamin the 2006-08 George Pólya Lecturer. In 2012, Princeton Review profiled him in "The Best 300 Professors." Prof. Benjamin is a winner of the American Backgammon Tour and has been featured in dozens of TV and radio programs, as well as publications including Scientific American, People Magazine and The New York Times.

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