Guy on Game Show Brilliantly Manipulates the System to Win Money

This update on the classic Prisoner's Dilemma will make your head spin.

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  • Most people are familiar with the Prisoner's Dilemma. (No, it's not about which uniforms the prisoners should wear.) Here's a refresher: two people are imprisoned and given the opportunity to either stay silent or betray the other person. The best outcome for both is for both of them to remain silent; the worst is for one to keep quiet and the other to choose betrayal.

    British game show Golden Balls turned this mechanic into a game, with one twist: the contestants can briefly talk to each other. The segment is called "Split or Steal," which host Jasper Carrott explains thusly:

    "You each have a golden ball with the word 'split' written inside. You both have a ball with the word 'steal' written inside… If you both pick the 'split' ball, you split the £13,600 and you go home with £6,800 each. If one of you chooses the 'steal' ball and the other chooses the 'split' ball, whoever chooses the 'steal' ball goes home with the whole lot: £13,600. But if you both choose the 'steal' ball, you leave today's game with what you came with: nothing."

    This week, a clip of contestants Nick Corrigan and Ibrahim Hussein playing this game resurfaced on Reddit. What follows the host's explanation in this episode is one of the most entertaining mind games I've ever seen.

    Nick starts out by immediately telling Ibrahim he's going to choose 'steal' and split the money with him. Ibrahim can't believe it, calling him crazy. But Nick sticks to his guns, repeating again and again that he's going to 'steal.' The conclusion… well, you'll just have to see for yourself. (If you really want it spoiled for you, SPOILER ALERT: they both choose 'split.')

    This outcome was so unbelievable that it got its own episode of the popular podcast Radiolab. In the episode, Ibrahim confesses he was initially going to 'steal,' but Nick's antics forced his hand. This just goes to show: if you're ever a prosecutor and you have the chance to put two people in a prisoner's dilemma, don't let them talk to each other.

    What do you think? Would you have ever thought of pulling off something this cool? Let us know in the comments below or @WhatsTrending on Twitter!

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