When it comes to games of chance, few are more emblematic than Rock Paper Scissors. This simple competition, popular among people of all ages and backgrounds, takes luck to the forefront and exposes a fundamental principle of probability that many people often overlook.
The rules of Rock Paper Scissors are straightforward: two players select one of three hand gestures – the rock (a closed fist), the paper (an open hand), or the scissors (a V-shaped hand) – to show at the same time. The rock crushes the scissors, the scissors cut the paper, and the paper covers the rock; so the winner is the one who picks the gesture that beats the other’s gesture.
At first glance, it may seem that there is no science to this game, but that is not the case. The science of luck in Rock Paper Scissors is all about understanding probability and chance.
To understand the probability behind Rock Paper Scissors, it is essential to start by identifying the total number of possible outcomes in the game. Since each player has three gestures to choose from, there are nine possible outcomes. These can be written as a matrix of 3×3, where each row and column represents the gesture chosen by each player. The matrix has nine cells, representing each outcome.
Once the total number of outcomes is identified, it becomes apparent that each outcome has an equal chance of happening. Therefore, the probability of winning, losing, or drawing a game of Rock Paper Scissors is precisely the same for each outcome, i.e., 1/3 or 33.3%.
However, the science of luck in Rock Paper Scissors goes beyond probability alone. It also depends on human psychology and the opponent’s behavior. Since the hand gesture of each player is not random, but rather subject to human tendencies, a study of the opponent’s subconscious may enable the player to predict what gesture the opponent will play.
For example, some players may initially favor one gesture over another or are susceptible to changes based on previous outcomes. Also, because the game has many possible outcomes, the player who can read the opponent’s subconscious correctly will have a higher chance of predicting the opponent’s next move.
In conclusion, the science of luck in Rock Paper Scissors boils down to understanding the game’s probability and human psychology. While the game’s outcome is determined by probability, human tendencies and the opponent’s behavior also play a crucial role. It is important to remember that while we cannot control the probability, we can learn to perceive and interpret our opponents’ subconscious signals, increasing our likelihood of winning in a simple game of chance.