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# Has anybody ever figured out the odds on the "rock, paper, scissors (& sometimes dynamite)" game?

Question #122516. Asked by unclerick. (Jul 19 11 8:31 PM)

looney_tunes

Because it is a non-transitive game (A beats B, B beats C, C beats A is cyclic), the odds are the same for any choice. If you pick A, and assuming that the other player's choice is random, you will win 1/3 of the time, tie 1/3 of the time, and lose 1/3 of the time. No choice is any better than any other choice. That is as long as you are playing against a computer or a person who makes totally random choices each time.

However, when the game is actually played against another human the psychological element becomes very important. If you can work out a way to predict your opponent's choice, or to eliminate one of the three options, then you have an advantage. If your experience tells you that your opponent is more likely to choose A at this moment in time, then you should choose C, which you know will beat A. But you might be wrong anyway!

Some suggested strategies for tipping the odds in your favor are listed at this site.

http://www.nontoxin.com/how-to-win-at-rock-paper-scissors/

Then there is the issue of adding 'dynamite'. "With an odd number of choices, each beats half the weapons and loses to half the weapons. No even number of weapons can be made balanced, unless some pairs of weapons result in a draw; there will always be some weapons superior to others.

An example of an unbalanced four-weapon game adds "dynamite" as a trump. Dynamite, expressed as the extended index finger or thumb, always defeats rock, and is defeated by scissors. Using dynamite generally implies that dynamite burns paper, but some claim that paper would smother the fuse. The fourth option of dynamite changes each gesture's odds of winning. For instance, scissors' odds improve from 33% to 50% while rock's odds decrease from 33% to 25%. Dynamite can be used to cheat by quickly raising or lowering the thumb on the downstroke once the opponent's play is recognized. Organized rock-paper-scissors contests never use dynamite."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock-paper-scissors

 Jul 20 11, 4:23 AM

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