Decisions Matter: Game Theory
in Billions – Part II

In case you missed Part I, you can see it here.

We are getting into more intricate territory in Season 1 Episode 6 The Deal with Wendy now getting involved in the game with her two boys! 😀

Paul Giamatti, Maggie Siff and Damian Lewis at a Billions photo shoot at TCA 2017

Costly Signaling

We see Bobby playing a textbook signaling game in The Deal like Chuck does in The Pilot. He invites Wendy to a meeting at a very unusual spot: A spa pool. Bobby wants to make sure no one is listening but also, and more importantly, wants to find out whether Wendy is loyal or not. We know where Axe stands on loyalty from what he said to Mafee earlier: “You don’t try to be loyal. You just are. Or you’re not.” It is loyalty that rules Bobby Axelrod’s billions. Continue reading “Decisions Matter: Game Theory in Billions – Part II”

Previously on Billions Season One

Let’s hear it from Axe 😀

Our Countdown to Billions continues with a  blog collective “Previously on Billions Season One”. Previously for episode 12 of Season One (only) will be up a couple of days before Season Two episode officially airs on Showtime on 19 February. However, you can now see the first episode of Season 2 on Showtime and the Billions YouTube channel.

Continue reading “Previously on Billions Season One”

How Loyalty Rules Bobby Axelrod’s Billions *UPDATED*

source: Showtime
source: Showtime

Regardless of the context it is set in, a good TV show is ultimately about human relations. It is the complex characters with exciting and compelling relationships in their personal and professional life that MAKE it great. And we can’t have enough of them in Billions.

I live and work in a world, academia, that cannot be farther away from the world of Axe Capital. Thus, I am fascinated by this world that is ALL NEW to me, and, in particular, by how Axe runs his business. Here’s my take on what it takes to be king with many thanks to Lady Trader who kindly read the post and gave me the thumbs up earlier.

Bobby “Axe” Axelrod is running a 15 billion dollar worth hedge fund. He is, in Chuck’s words, “an icon of the wealth of our age.” Thanks to his power and influence on the markets, Axe is the king that he is. Revered. Respected. Envied. However, as Pete Decker points out it is a zero-sum game and “these guys are like kings. There is always someone coming to assassinate them.” So… how do you run a business in a setting where there is always someone, say it is the US attorney, the SEC or another hedgie, trying to mess with you? Yes, exactly like a king, you have your close circle, you have your fixers. But one keyword stands out in Axe’s tight network: Loyalty.  Continue reading “How Loyalty Rules Bobby Axelrod’s Billions *UPDATED*”

Billions on Showtime, Episode 9: Where the **** is Donnie?

source: Showtime
source: Showtime

I know why Episode 9, directed by Susanna White, who also directs Damian Lewis in the coming soon Our Kind of Traitor, does not open but just closes with Townes Van Zandt’s Waiting Around to Die.

“Sometimes I don’t know where
This dirty road is taking me
Sometimes I can’t even see the reason why
I guess I keep a-gamblin’
Lots of booze and lots of ramblin’
It’s easier than just waitin’ around to die.”

Because you feel it.

It was certainly an aha moment to see Donnie frantically hiding his pills during the FBI raid in his house in Episode 8. I have been uneasy since Axe rewarded him for his loyalty: tripling his stack and giving him 200K shares of Rubinex despite the fact that the guy was not able to deliver! But the pills last week and Wendy noticing his weight loss this week and… I knew… Donnie is seriously sick. And this makes a few other things make sense for me. Continue reading “Billions on Showtime, Episode 9: Where the **** is Donnie?”

Billions on Showtime, Episode 8: Boasts and Rails

source: Showtime
source: Showtime

If Bookworm had not given me the heads up, I would have been totally clueless: The title of this episode refers to two fundamental shots in Squash, a fast-paced racket sport that is also known as turbo-charged chess: the more skilled a player is, the more strategic the game becomes.

A boast shot is any shot that hits a sidewall or back wall before hitting the front wall. There are two types: The best time to use the attacking boast is when you are in front of your opponent. A good attacking boast forces your opponent to run the full diagonal to be able to return it. The best time to use the defensive boast is when you are behind your opponent. A good defensive boast gives you time to recover and sometimes can win you the point, too.

A rail shot is when you hit the ball, parallel to the side wall, to the front wall and back into the corner. It is useful when your opponent plays you into a corner.

So… Who is boasting? Who is railing? You decide! Continue reading “Billions on Showtime, Episode 8: Boasts and Rails”