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Five pointers for the UK Rock Paper Scissors Championships

Posted at 10:00 am, November 20, 2013 in Fun London


The UK Rock Paper Scissors Championships take place this Saturday. Organiser Sally Raynes offers a fistful of top tips for success.

Rock paper scissors may look like a game of pure luck but it’s not. Psychology plays an important part. The key to success is not deciding what you’re going to throw but knowing what your opponent will do next. Two championship places are still up for grabs, by whoever wins the UK RPS Qualifying Tournament which takes place earlier in the afternoon. And everyone can take part in the more informal RPS Challenge, by inviting anyone in the room to do battle. Read on for some important pointers…

1. Rock is for rookies

Inexperienced players, particularly men, are more likely to throw rock the first time round, as it is perceived as a strong move, so opt for paper at the outset of a game to earn an easy first victory.

2. Surprise your opponent

We are all judged on our appearance and you can use this to your advantage in a contest. If you are big and scary, throw passive paper; if you are petite, throw an aggressive rock.

3. Play mind games

Stating your next move before a game starts is an effective trick – but it will only work once. For instance, if you say, ‘I know you’re going to throw scissors this time,’ your opponent assumes that you won’t use scissors. Subconsciously, they will themselves avoid scissors (which beats paper) and select rock or paper instead. You, meanwhile, know that paper is a safe throw and secure a victory or a tie.

4. Study their last move

Your opponent will often try to come back from a loss or a tie by throwing the move that would have beaten their last one. If they lost using scissors, they’ll likely follow up by throwing rock.

5. Use a gambit

A gambit is a strategic three-throw sequence, decided in advance. Used properly, gambits can create a rhythm that will lull your opponent into thinking they know what you’re going to do next. This is when you have the upper hand. There are eight popular gambits including the ultra-offensive ‘Avalanche’, which is three rocks. There is also the ‘Bureaucrat’ (three paper throws), and the ‘Scissor Sandwich’, which includes a cheeky scissors in between two paper throws. Sally Raynes

The UK Rock Paper Scissors Championships take place this Saturday November 23 at The Green Man pub, EC2R 8EJ. Tickets for the Qualifying Tournament are £13.50 (advance bookings only); RPS Challenge is sold out. 

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