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Subject: The Strategy of Rock Paper Scissors rss

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Clint DeSena
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A small article by Stephanie Yu appeared in last weekend's edition of USA Weekend (Herald Press) that discussed tips for playing Rock Paper Scissors like a pro. Apparently, it isn't all about plain luck and is actually played competitively. I guess I shouldn't be shocked after discovering that there were international air guitar competitions.

Anyway, I found the article hilarious. Some tips include:

1. "Beginners normally throw rock, one of the more aggressive plays, when they're losing." (ONE of the more aggressive plays? You can only choose from three moves!)

2. "Men often throw rock as an opening move, while women opt for scissors."

3. "Competitors...plan all their moves using three-throw sequences called 'gambits.'"

The article even states that last year's world champion won $7,000 by "outstrategizing" his opponents.

So, are there any other strategies out there to help improve my RPS game? The next world championship is Nov. 11 in Toronto. Hopefully a YouTube video will quickly follow.

 
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T. Rosen
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You've got to check out the World RPS Society website

http://www.worldrps.com/
 
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Clint DeSena
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Wow, those videos are awesome! It doesn't appear that there is a "best 2 out of 3," just one quick round. The commentary is insane as well. Thanks for the link.
 
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Clint DeSena
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I guess I never realized that there are people who dissected a game like RPS to such a degree. At least everyone's having fun, and they don't have to worry about packing games up afterword.
 
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Rik Van Horn
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I used to LARP Vampire. RPS is the system used to resolve any actions.
I found that it was pretty easy to learn the habits of the people I played with and after a while, I rarely lost a challenge.
People are very much creatures of habit.
 
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Karl Schmit
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My game group uses RPS to determine the starting player.
 
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Steven Winsor
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Since 2 out of 3 throws end in someone losing or winning, I'm fairly certain the people who make names for 3-throw sequences are delusional. Or joking.
 
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Jeff Wood
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hooded_paladin wrote:
I'm fairly certain the people who make names for 3-throw sequences are delusional. Or joking.


Actually this has a purpose. RPS can be very psychological, and people do have habits. Not to mention responding to such trash talk as 'Let's see if you can cut it against me' with sissors 4 out of 5 times. So, competitors choose a sequence of three throws (often with cutsey 'names' to refer to them) to avoid being 'read' on each throw by an opponent.
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Patrick Martin
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http://www.battlereports.com/viewreports.php?reportnum=4424
 
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Eddy Bee
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Yahoo IM has a fun little game called Yahoo Fighter (I think). It's basically RPS, although it does have a block (null) option added to the mix. It's very well done, and is a great application of RPS.

Among my IM friends, there are those who I can beat consistently, and others who nearly always beat me. And sometimes, no matter who's competing, one of the players gets stuck in a rut, and the other constantly outguesses him.

There is definitely a large psychological component to RPS. People have individual tendencies, and when they're losing or desperate, they tend to gravitate to a familiar pattern of choices. The same is true when they're ahead.

When someone is desperate to survive or excited with anticipation about winning, their emotions start to take over, and that's when the subconscious tendencies start to emerge.

Like poker, RPS is a people game.
 
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Richard Irving
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generalpf wrote:
It's only a random game if either player chooses randomly. This is never the case, even when a player thinks he/she is choosing randomly.

RPS is the ultimate psychological competition, and that's not sarcasm.


I suggest you read something on game theory then. The goal of both players in the end is to play randomly--in the case of RPS with a 1/3 - 1/3 - 1/3 ratio among the three choices. (Other simultaneous selection games may have different percentages for the various choices.) It's that true people generally do a bad job of picking rock, paper or scissors purely randomly over a sequence of plays--most often they don't pick the same option twice in succcession often enough.

One interesting fact is that the results of the computer RPS competitions, where programmers write non-randon RPS algorithms and place thenm in competition with others, in that "winners" in one year usually don't do well the next. This suggests that the winners wasn't best possible program, but merely did well against of this year's opponents. Next year's opponent's may not match up well with this year's winner. The composition of various opoonents is mostly due to chance.

The program that does the best overall results year after year: the test program that DOES play randomly, which is only used for comparison purposes only.
 
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Christopher Marx
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rri1 wrote:
generalpf wrote:
It's only a random game if either player chooses randomly. This is never the case, even when a player thinks he/she is choosing randomly.

RPS is the ultimate psychological competition, and that's not sarcasm.


I suggest you read something on game theory then. The goal of both players in the end is to play randomly


Just like the goal in chess is to make no errors until you checkmate your opponent, but how many players can do this? As was said above, RPS is a "people" game. Knowing that completely random play is optimal does not mean that a good player can't win more often by anticipating the non-optimal plays of his opponent.
 
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J Montney
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http://www.umop.com/rps25.htm

RPS w/ 22 more symbols to use....

JB Mallus
 
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Tony Chen
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rri1 wrote:
generalpf wrote:
It's only a random game if either player chooses randomly. This is never the case, even when a player thinks he/she is choosing randomly.

RPS is the ultimate psychological competition, and that's not sarcasm.


I suggest you read something on game theory then. The goal of both players in the end is to play randomly--in the case of RPS with a 1/3 - 1/3 - 1/3 ratio among the three choices. (Other simultaneous selection games may have different percentages for the various choices.) It's that true people generally do a bad job of picking rock, paper or scissors purely randomly over a sequence of plays--most often they don't pick the same option twice in succcession often enough.

One interesting fact is that the results of the computer RPS competitions, where programmers write non-randon RPS algorithms and place thenm in competition with others, in that "winners" in one year usually don't do well the next. This suggests that the winners wasn't best possible program, but merely did well against of this year's opponents. Next year's opponent's may not match up well with this year's winner. The composition of various opoonents is mostly due to chance.

The program that does the best overall results year after year: the test program that DOES play randomly, which is only used for comparison purposes only.


My thoughts exactly. How can they have RPS society and serious competitions is beyond me.
 
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Mark Delano
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rri1 wrote:
One interesting fact is that the results of the computer RPS competitions, where programmers write non-randon RPS algorithms and place thenm in competition with others, in that "winners" in one year usually don't do well the next. This suggests that the winners wasn't best possible program, but merely did well against of this year's opponents. Next year's opponent's may not match up well with this year's winner. The composition of various opoonents is mostly due to chance.

The program that does the best overall results year after year: the test program that DOES play randomly, which is only used for comparison purposes only.


This is not true. Check out this competition:

http://www.cs.ualberta.ca/~darse/rsbpc.html

It ran for two years, I participated the second year (with my Two Bit Matcher and Little Boy). In both years Random finished in the bottom half, and the winner from the first year finished 3rd the second.

The intent of this competition was to detect patterns of play in the opposition. The creator of the tournament did seed the field with programs that potentially had exploitable patterns. The first year they were relatively easy, second year much harder. Knowing that these bots are in the playing field, playing randomly was suboptimal. Random play means you can't take advantage of your opponent's weakness. In fact two of the bots in the second year did better than random, as they successfully faked out their opposition.
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Peter Hall
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This thread confirms my suspicion that Poker is the most overrated game in the history of the planet.
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Mitch T
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Thommy8 wrote:
You've got to check out the World RPS Society website

http://www.worldrps.com/


Sigh, I believe board game geeks have been put to shame.
 
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