Rock Paper Scissors, a game that requires little more than two hands and a little bit of luck, has long been considered a childhood pastime. However, for a growing number of competitive players, RPS (as it’s also known) is the ultimate contest of strategy, skill, and psychology.
As silly as it may seem, winning a game of Rock Paper Scissors can require serious preparation and strategically-advanced tactics. Different techniques used by players have the potential to outsmart their opponent and guarantee them a victory. Here, we delve into the psychology behind some of these common tactics and what you can do to become an RPS champion.
The Basics of Rock Paper Scissors
Before we dive deep into the strategy of the game, let’s review the basics of Rock Paper Scissors. The game consists of two or more players who simultaneously place one of three hand gestures (rock, paper, scissors) to determine a winner. Rocks crush scissors, scissors cut paper, and paper covers rock.
The game itself seems random. However, due to our subconscious decision-making processes, most people tend to choose the same gesture repeatedly, making it more predictable than you might think.
Psychology of Rock Paper Scissors
The psychology of Rock Paper Scissors is well documented. Certain tactics and strategies can be used to exploit the psychological tendencies of the other player(s), increasing the odds of victory.
Bluffing and Delaying
Bluffing is an essential tactic in RPS. Bluffing occurs when a player signals a gesture, then quickly changes their mind at the last second, hoping to confuse their opponent into choosing a different gesture. Delaying, on the other hand, is when a player waits for their opponent to show their hand, hoping to gain an advantage in their decision-making process.
Reading and Mirroring
Another tactic is reading your opponent’s body language. Often, players will subconsciously telegraph the gesture they are going to select, showing slight tells in their facial expressions, posture, or hand placement. Mirroring is also an effective strategy, mimicking the movements of the other player, hoping to confuse and disrupt their thought process.
Dominance and Probabilities
The most essential tactic is dominance. Certain gestures are perceived to be more dominant than others, creating psychological associations that can become an advantage for a skilled player. For example, Rock is often seen as the dominant gesture, creating an aggressive and powerful mindset in the other player, making it a go-to play for many.
Probabilities are also a factor in Rock Paper Scissors. Since there are only three gesture options, cycles and patterns can occur, creating reliable patterns a player can use to predict their opponent’s next move.
Rock Paper Scissors may seem like a simple game, but the psychology behind it is complex and fascinating. By understanding the strategies and tactics used by skilled players, you can outsmart your opponents and win the game. Practice reading body language, pay attention to probability, and dominant gestures, and always be aware of bluffing and delays. Follow these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a Rock Paper Scissors champion.