How to Win at Rock Paper Scissors

If there’s a game that’s hard to win consistently, it’s Rock Paper Scissors. The game sometimes feels more like a game of luck than strategy: how, after all, can you be expected to accurately guess your opponent’s move before they even make it? But in fact, there are plenty of Rock Paper Scissors players who can consistently bear their opponent’s move. So how do they win at Rock Paper Scissors? And how can you win it, too?

Statistics Behind the Game

In fact, researchers have spent a surprising amount of time analyzing just how and why Rock Paper Scissors players make the moves they do, according to Ars Technica. This research has shown that Rock Paper Scissors moves are not random. Instead, certain players can be expected to make different moves in different circumstances. If you pay attention to these tendencies, they can help you anticipate your opponent’s move. Here are a few of the most important trends for a player to note:

  1. Women tend to lead with paper, while men tend to lead with rock.

This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but female players are more likely to start with paper than any other move, per WikiHow. As a result, if you’re up against a woman, you should plan to start your game by playing scissors. On the other hand, men tend to start out their games with rock, so you’re slightly more likely to succeed in your game against a man if you start by playing paper.

  1. On the flip side, more experienced players don’t lead with rock.

Perhaps because they know that rock is the obvious first starting move, the more experienced a player is, the less likely they are to start with rock. If you’re playing someone who’s big on strategy, or perhaps has competed in some high-pressure Rock Paper Scissors standoffs before, try starting with scissors yourself.

  1. People rarely play the same move three times in a row.

Instead, take the time to think about what their next move is likely to be. For instance, if your opponent plays rock twice, you can guess they’ll play either a scissors or paper next, WikiHow says. In that case, just as when you’re playing the experienced opponent for your first move, you should give scissors a go.

Psychological Strategies You Can Use

Sure, a lot of Rock Paper Scissors strategy comes in in the game itself. But did you realize that there were also certain ways you could worm into your opponent’s mind, and try to get them to play something that’d be favorable to you? Here’s a few ways to do it:

  1. Try to prime your opponent to play a certain move by mentioning it a few moments before the game.

This might sound like some real brain-washing stuff, but it’s actually one of the best and most consistent strategies you can use to win a game. Though we might think we are randomly choosing our plays in a game like Rock Paper Scissors, we’re not. Plenty of little factors go into our decisions, including elements like what different moves may have been mentioned to us earlier in the day. Before you get started in your game, try casually mentioning the word rock, paper, or scissors to your opponent, WikiHow suggests. Your opponent will be more likely to pick whatever word you mention as their play. That allows you a better chance at correctly guessing their move.

  1. Keep one eye on their expression.

Again, it seems like detective stuff, but watching your opponent’s expression can be a great way to anticipate their move. Maybe your opponent always clenches their jaw before they play rock. Or maybe they’re starting to look stressed after playing a string of papers. Normally, you have to play against an opponent for a while before you can pick up on these little hints, but they can be really useful once you’ve spotted them – especially if you frequently play Rock Paper Scissors against the same opponent, like a partner or sibling.

Looking for more fun games?

Check out our Activity Room, which has plenty of quick, fun games for the family to play. Or look to our Lingle game for some word fun.

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WORD SCRAMBLE. THE WORD FINDER located on the website