If you’re relying on rock – paper – scissors to decide something, the consequences for losing are no doubt extraordinarily severe: Riding bitch on a long road trip. Buying the next round. Being the one to tell your buddy that his girlfriend is a horrible person. Hell, back in 2006 a Florida judge even ordered two lawyers to settle a dispute with a game of RPS. (Seriously.)
Yet as simple as the rules may be — rock crushes scissors, paper covers rock, scissors cut paper — winning is usually pure luck. Thing is, it doesn’t have to be if you employ the correct strategy. Do it well, and you’ll always win rock – paper – scissors. Well, almost.
#1. Expect a beginner to start with rock
New Scientist magazine conducted a study in 2007 concluding that rock was most commonly played first. Why rock? We assume it’s because it’s a fist, which is undeniably more badass than an open-hand slap (paper) or angry pointing (scissors). So lead off with paper when playing anyone you think isn’t a student of the game.
#2. Start with scissors against an expert
Scissors can be a savvy first move when competing against a veteran. He may very well know rock is most common and so throw something else — quite likely paper. If you throw scissors, you win. If he throws scissors, you tie. In cases of a stalemate, throw the same thing the next round.