How To Win Rock, Paper, Scissors Every Time: The 7 Best Techniques

How To Win Rock, Paper, Scissors Every Time: The 7 Best Techniques

There has been a surprising amount of research done around how to win at rock, paper, scissors. We’ve compiled the very best research to come up with a definitive list of the seven best ways you can bag yourself a win. It’s time to learn from the best!

It’s all a game of statistics, probability, and psychology…

1. If you win, play what your opponent just played next

A lot of people lose in a long game (100 draws) because they keep switching their move to whatever would beat the most recent winning hand. So, should you hold steady and solid?

According to Robert Matthews of BBC Science Focus, if you win, play what your opponent just played, and if you lost, pull out the third move that didn’t show up in the last round. Or in other words…

2. If you lose, play whatever would beat your opponent’s last winning hand

If you lose a round, the best thing you can do is switch to the move that would beat your opponent’s last winning hand…because they might be playing the Roshambollah tactic. A study in China on 360 students playing 300 rounds found this pattern emerge.

3. Take advantage of the “Roshambollah Trap”

The great thing about humans is that we’re terrible at being truly random, and for that reason, an unseasoned RPS player would never repeat their last move, because that’s not random enough, right? And that’s where you, my friend, can cash in, so to speak.

Whatever they just played, let’s say it’s Rock, they won’t play again, so you’d play Scissors, which will either tie (Scissors vs Scissors), or win (Scissor vs Paper).

This technique was coined by RPS champ Jason Simmons, aka Master Roshambollah.

4. Study your opponent and watch for swinging elbows

If their elbow swings out to the side you know they’re going in for Paper. Seriously, try playing Paper now against an imaginary opponent – it’s true! Of course, in this instance you’d want to play Scissors.

To keep your best poker face and head off any detection of your moves, have a set of throws lined up in your head like ‘Rock-Rock-Rock’ or ‘Rock-Paper-Paper’ so you look unpredictable.

5. Manipulate your opponent

If you have no qualms about psychologically playing with your opponent, then this strategy’s for you.

A favorite of Master Roshambollah’s too, when challenging strangers to a game he’ll flash the Scissors at them, this then gets in their head and what happens on the big reveal? They pull out Scissors. Happy days (for you).

6. Play paper against beginners

If you’re playing a newbie, it’s HIGHLY likely the their first throw will be Rock, so to beat them you have to play Paper. Easy.

7. Learn and master the “Eight Gambits”

Gambits are a set of three moves lined up in advance and designed to have particular impact. Having them up your sleeve can really change your game.

A personal favorite has to be Paper Dolls (Paper-Scissors-Scissors). You start on the defense, suffocating the Rock, then BAM, out on the spiky attack with the Scissors. This is best used on players not so versed in these tactics as it’ll knock them flat and take a toll on their morale.

All of the eight gambits are as follows:

  1. The Bureaucrat (Paper Paper Paper)
  2. Avalanche (Rock Rock Rock)
  3. The Crescendo (Paper Scissors Rock)
  4. Denouement (Rock Scissors Paper)
  5. Paper Dolls (Paper Scissors Scissors)
  6. Fistful O’Dollars (Rock Paper Paper)
  7. Scissor Sandwich (Paper Scissors Paper)
  8. Toolbox (Scissors Scissors Scissors)

Give them a go and see which affords you the most success!

How To Win Rock, Paper, Scissors: A Conclusion

So as you can see, there’s plenty of tactical know-how to make sure you always win. Some of the advice is contradictory, so we suggest having a play around – a lot depends on how pro your opponent is. But, as long as you keep a cool head and figure out what they’re doing, there’s no reason why you can’t dominate every game!

That last slice of pizza will forever be yours, bin duty something to sully your roommate’s hands, and the best gaming chair in the house forever cushioning YOUR beautiful behind.

Enjoyed this article? We’ve got plenty more game guides that you can check out to boost your chances of winning, such as how to play Mahjong.

Lead image credit: marco martins/Shutterstock