Professional rock paper scissors may sound like a joke, but it has actually become a legitimate and growing industry in recent years. What began as a casual game played among friends and family has morphed into an organized and competitive sport with its own set of rules, strategies, and even professional players.
The roots of competitive rock paper scissors can be traced back to the playgrounds and schoolyards of the 1960s and ‘70s, where kids would play the game to settle disputes and make decisions. But it wasn’t until the mid-2000s that the game started to gain traction as a legitimate competition, thanks to the founding of the World Rock Paper Scissors Society in 2002.
The Society, which bills itself as “the global authority on Rock Paper Scissors culture and strategy,” was created by Douglas Walker, a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley. Walker was fascinated by the psychological aspects of the game and began organizing tournaments as a way to study its strategy and dynamics.
The first official World Rock Paper Scissors Championship was held in Toronto in 2002, drawing participants from around the globe. Since then, the championship has been held annually in locations like Las Vegas, Beijing, and London, attracting top players from around the world.
In professional rock paper scissors, players compete in a series of best-of-three matches, with each match consisting of three rounds. Before each round, the players must chant “Rock Paper Scissors” together and then make their choice on the count of three. The winner of each round is decided by the traditional rules of the game: rock beats scissors, scissors beat paper, and paper beats rock. If the two players make the same choice, the round is a tie and a new round must be played.
While the basic rules are simple, the game’s strategy can be complex and multifaceted. Top players must study their opponents’ tendencies and patterns in order to gain an advantage, and they must also be skilled in bluffing and deception. There are even professional coaches and analysts who work with players to refine their skills and strategies.
The rewards for top players can be significant. The winner of the World Rock Paper Scissors Championship receives a grand prize of $10,000, and there are numerous other smaller tournaments and competitions with cash prizes. There are also sponsored players, like American player Andrea Scherzinger, who has won multiple national championships and has been sponsored by companies like Hardee’s and Mountain Dew.
In addition to the competitions and sponsorships, there is also a growing community of amateur players who play the game simply for fun and socializing. There are even bars and restaurants that host regular rock paper scissors nights, where players can come together and compete in a lighthearted atmosphere.
The rise of professional rock paper scissors may seem unexpected or even absurd, but it’s a testament to the enduring appeal of games and competition. Whether played among friends or on a global stage, the game continues to captivate and entertain players of all ages and backgrounds.