Here's a Winning Strategy for Rock-Paper- Scissors

Study shows how you can predict opponents' actions
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2014 1:37 PM CDT

Thanks to researchers in China, you never have to leave a game of rock-paper-scissors up to chance again. They observed 360 students in 60 groups of six players each; the students played what must have been an exhausting 300 rounds. Perhaps unsurprisingly, players played each move—rock, paper, or scissors—about a third of the time, the MIT Technology Review reports. But they didn't make those plays entirely randomly each time.

Instead, once players got past the first round, they behaved somewhat predictably. If a player won a round, she would typically stick with the same "weapon" for the next round. But if she lost, she'd typically switch, in this pattern: rock to paper, paper to scissors, and scissors to rock, the Washington Post reports. So in order to win, expect your opponent to follow that strategy and choose your own weapons accordingly—and perhaps try switching randomly yourself, USA Today suggests. Of course, none of this will be much help if your opponent reads this article. (More games stories.)

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