The World Rock Paper Scissors Society (WRPS) was founded in 2002 by Douglas Walker, who saw the potential for the game to become a serious sport. The WRPS held their first championship that same year, attracting 230 participants. In the years that followed, the championship grew, with players from all over the world competing for the title of world champion. The championship’s format mimics that of poker tournaments, with players sitting at tables and playing in rounds until a winner is declared.
Some of the top players in the world have surprising backgrounds. Tim Conrad, the 2011 world champion, is a science teacher from California who started playing the game to engage his students. Conrad describes his playing style as “analytical,” and he’s used his mathematical background to develop strategies to increase his odds of winning. Another champion, Andrea Farina, hails from Italy and is a professional poker player. Farina has said that her experience in poker has helped her understand the psychological aspects of Rock Paper Scissors, allowing her to read her opponents and bluff as necessary.
Other players are famous solely for their success in the world of Rock Paper Scissors. Ryohei Tamura, a seven-time Japanese champion, is known for his incredibly fast throwing speed, which averages about one throw per second. Tamura has even developed his own throwing technique, known as the “double clutch,” that allows him to quickly switch from one move to the next. Meanwhile, Nathalie Wahlberg, a Swedish player and three-time European champion, has been dubbed the “Queen of RPS” for her consistent success in tournaments.
Despite their impressive achievements, many of these players fly under the radar, competing in relatively unknown championships and events. And while the idea of professional Rock Paper Scissors may seem humorous, competitors take the game seriously, with some even reportedly spending hours each day practicing and analyzing footage of previous matches.
So, while many of us may view Rock Paper Scissors as a simple game of chance, there’s a whole other world of players navigating a complex strategy and psychology in pursuit of the title of world champion. The next time you play the game with friends, remember that there may be some real experts among you.
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