How to win at rock paper scissors

May 12th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

A study from China has found ways to maximise your chances of winning at . Their advice is:

  1. If playing against a dude, start by throwing paper
  2. If you just lost to rock, go with paper
  3. Be aware that people won’t do the same move three times in a row
  4. Close your eyes as you throw
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12 Responses to “How to win at rock paper scissors”

  1. Kleva Kiwi (281 comments) says:

    Good advice for the next Labour leadership run off

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  2. lolitasbrother (588 comments) says:

    so different from the usual Farrar,
    a friend of mine said you get offa that column dude he is a paid lackey of Key

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  3. AG (1,803 comments) says:

    Problem being, now that this research has been done and is publicised, what does that do to your odds when playing against someone else who has read it? If you do what the research says, but they know you have read it, then you’ll lose. But if you know they know you’ve read it, then what? And what if they know you know they know you’ve read it?

    Simple answer … don’t play RPS.

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  4. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (837 comments) says:

    Wait for Russel Norman to recommend that the next PM is decided by R-P-S…..

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  5. Boris Piscina (42 comments) says:

    Impossible. The paper would have to be made from organically grown trees from sustainable forests, hand made without nasty chemicals. The rock would have to be from a very local source, to avoid having to seek the resident iwi’s permission to relocate it from it’s ancestral rock home; and the scissors are just plain impossible. Making steel scissors requires mining and smelting iron, which is just environmentally unacceptable. Wooden scissors? I think not.

    Perhaps a better outcome would be for Norman (or anyone from the Green Taliban) to ever have anything remotely to do with the selection of the next PM.

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  6. Shazzadude (522 comments) says:

    Interesting. When I was a kid I always found rock to be the best option when playing other boys, I guess because scissors was seen as the most fun option.

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  7. Shazzadude (522 comments) says:

    “Problem being, now that this research has been done and is publicised, what does that do to your odds when playing against someone else who has read it? If you do what the research says, but they know you have read it, then you’ll lose.”

    Only if they think you don’t know they know you’ve read it.

    “But if you know they know you’ve read it, then what? And what if they know you know they know you’ve read it?”

    Play scissors.

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  8. SPC (5,473 comments) says:

    I first though the topic was China taking the scissors to the 200 mile economic zone paper held by nations to the South, this by claiming rocks in the sea were part of China.

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  9. Johnboy (15,586 comments) says:

    I always won with the rock. The other little kids tried paper and scissors.

    Once they worked out I always used the rock they thought they could beat me with the paper.

    Then I smacked them in the face with the rock! :)

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  10. Rich Prick (1,633 comments) says:

    Let’s not suggest rock as a starter, least Labour’s Ashraf Choudhary girds his Islamic loins.

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  11. jcuk (639 comments) says:

    What is RPS please? reading the comments I think it is a hand game, which I have never played, but is that correct?

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  12. Nigel Kearney (917 comments) says:

    How does rock beat paper anyway? Being wrapped up hardly affects the rock at all. It’s not like it is going to suffocate or something.

    In Asia they play rock, water bird: bird drinks water, water erodes rock, rock kills bird. That makes much more sense. Water is a flat palm same as paper, bird is two fingers and thumb together shaped like a beak.

    As far as strategy, people have a tendency to choose the next one in rotation if they lose: paper after rock etc. The faster you push the tempo the more likely they are to do it. There is a similar tendency if they win or tie but it is less reliable. Despite what others have said above, scissors is the least common opener. So:

    1. Start with paper
    2. If you win go, forward one in rotation, scissors after paper etc
    3. If you lose, don’t change
    4. If you tie, go back one in rotation, rock after paper etc
    5. Play as fast as you can

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