Yes, you read that right, competitive rock-paper-scissors is a thing. Although it may sound like a joke, it’s actually a serious sport with its own set of rules and regulations. The World Rock Paper Scissors Society, established in 1918, is the governing body for the sport and organizes the annual Rock Paper Scissors World Championship.
So what does competitive rock-paper-scissors entail? The game is played using a best-of-three format, where each player counts out loud to three and simultaneously makes one of three hand gestures – rock (a fist), paper (an open hand), or scissors (a fist with the index and middle fingers extended). The winner is determined based on a set hierarchy – rock beats scissors, scissors beat paper, and paper beats rock.
Players strategize based on patterns and tendencies of their opponents. For example, if your opponent tends to throw rock first, you may choose to start with paper. The game is not solely based on luck, but rather on reading your opponent and making informed decisions.
The stakes can be incredibly high in competitive rock-paper-scissors. The World Championship held in Las Vegas has a cash prize of $10,000. In 2018, a group of college students in Texas started a rock-paper-scissors tournament where the winner would receive a live alligator. Yes, you read that correctly – a live alligator.
Competitive rock-paper-scissors has even reached the professional level with leagues and sponsorships. The USARPS (United States of America Rock Paper Scissors League) holds regional and national tournaments with prize money and sponsorships from companies such as Bud Light and ESPN.
Although rock-paper-scissors may seem like a silly game, it’s clear that it’s taken seriously in the world of competitive sports. From alligators to cash prizes, the stakes are high and the competition is fierce. Who knew a game we played as children could become such an intense and serious sport?
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