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zero-sum game
At the same time, he wrote, it was important to remember that a sense of belonging was not a zero-sum game.
Warren St. John -- Outcasts United
game theory: a situation in which a participant’s gain (or loss) is exactly balanced by the losses (or gains) of the other participant(s)
Ignoring the joy of playing poker, the game is an example of a zero-sum game because a player can only win at the expense of another. The sum of all winnings and losses will equal zero.
Zero-sum games are in contrast to win-win situations (also called non-zero sum games). For example: Imagine Joe and Larry. Joe has too much to do, but has lots of money. Larry has lots of time, but would like more money. If Joe and Larry can agree on an amount Joe should pay Larry for doing some of Joe’s work, then both players win.