Rock-Paper-Scissors (RPS) may seem like a simple game we play to pass the time, but for some, it’s a high-stakes competition with hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line. The National RPS Championship, held annually in Vegas since 2006, is where the best RPS players from around the country come to battle it out for the grand prize of $50,000.
The competition is fierce and the stakes are high. These players have honed their strategies and techniques over years of practice, analyzing their opponents’ tendencies and trying to outsmart them. Each round consists of three games, with the first two being played in secret and the last one played in public for everyone to see. The players have 60 seconds to make their move, and if they tie, they go again until a winner is determined.
So what makes a great RPS player? It’s not just about luck or guessing what your opponent will throw. According to RPS expert and commentator Graham Walker, it’s about being able to read your opponent, adapting to their playing style, and knowing when to switch up your own strategy. “The key to the game is psychology,” Walker says. “It’s about being able to outthink your opponent.”
But the competition is not just about the players. There’s also an entire industry built around RPS, with professional coaches and strategists offering their services to help players prepare for the championship. There are even RPS training camps where players can hone their skills and practice against other top competitors. Like any high-stakes competition, the National RPS Championship brings out the best and brightest in the industry, creating an ecosystem of RPS enthusiasts who take the game to a whole new level.
Of course, with any competition, there are controversies and scandals. In 2007, a group of players from Boston were accused of cheating by using hand signals to communicate with each other during the competition. And in 2012, a player was caught smuggling in a laser pointer to distract his opponent during the match. These incidents serve as a reminder that though the game may seem simple, there’s a lot of strategy, skill, and even deception involved in winning at the highest level.
Despite the controversies, the National RPS Championship continues to draw crowds and thrill fans each year. Even non-professional players can get in on the fun, with mini tournaments held throughout the championship weekend for anyone to participate in. So the next time you play a game of RPS, remember that there’s a whole world of competition out there – and who knows, with some practice and determination, you may just become the next RPS champion.