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News Picks : How to take advantage of a common rock-paper-scissors strategy

By: Physics Today
02 May 2014
Ars Technica: A study by Chinese researchers has revealed a pattern of behavior many people use when playing the game rock-paper-scissors. The researchers divided 360 students into groups of 6 each and had them pair off randomly to play 300 rounds of the game. They then recorded how each player rotated through the three play options. An analysis of the data found a very high probability that players who won a round would choose the same play in the next round. Similarly, players who lost two or more rounds in a row were much more likely to next choose the play that would have beaten their opponent's play in the previous round. Given the likelihood the winners will play the same thing they just played, that is a sound strategy. Of course, if the winners are aware of this pattern of play, they may change their strategy to take advantage of the likely behavior of the losers.


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