is rock paper scissors a luck-based game?

rock-paper-scissors, or rps if you're a Gamer, is a hand game as old as time. it involves you and a partner smacking your hand 3 times before throwing 1 of 3 gang signs: rock, paper, or scissors. rock beats scissors, scissors beats paper, and paper beats rock. this is how it has been played for decades, and this is how it will be played until the inevitable heat death of the universe.

today i come here to ask, is rps a luck-based game? you don't know what your opponent is going to use, so is it rng whether you win or not? is losing scissors to a rock the equivalent of getting flinched 7 times in a row by iron head jirachi? i've been thinking about this way more than i should be.
is losing scissors to a rock the equivalent of getting flinched 7 times in a row by iron head jirachi?
I'd say it's more like 2 greninjas at 1% of HP and they are locked in hydropump, one misses and the other hits ig.

And yea this game is 100% pure luck but we as humans follow psychological patterns. For example, if we feel we are about to lose a rps bo3 and the score is 2-0, the most likely thing you will do is go with scissors and sometimes even rocks, but the least likely is bringing papers.
However, if you play 1000000% randomly vs. a rps artificial intelligence that analyzes the patterns you use, the results of Ties, Wins and Loses will be pretty balanced. I remember being bored in a TIC class so I decided to play 150 games randomly vs. the unity rps A.I. , and the results were something like 53 wins for me, 49 ties, 48 loses for the A.I. (unable to analyze the random patterns).

Anyone can try playing vs. this A.I. if the want tho
Like a lot of games, it is probabilistic, and an AI could possibly remember which "hand-personality" refers to the most-likely hand sign. Is there an example of two AIs playing against each other? Then the probabilities probably approach 1/3 like you'd expect.
according to a 2014 study out of Harvard, RPS is one of the most skill-based games, second only to chess, so no, it is in no way luck based. based on the wording of your post i don't know if you are trolling, or thought this was funny, but RPS has an extremely passionate group of followers (incl myself). i would highly recommend looking into your local scissorhead communities on websites like and attending an event. they're riveting.
The 2014 paper "How Facebook can Deepen our Understanding of Behavior in Strategic Settings: Evidence from a Million Rock-Paper-Scissors Games" out of harvard authored by Dimitris Batzilis, Sonia Jaffe, Steven Levitt, John A List & Jeffrey Picel which is free to read as a publicly available pdf I've just skimmed is not about "street" rock paper scissors it's about a variant where every participant has access to full prior information about their opponents' previous plays and is thus irrelevant to the standard party game, where your information about the last five first throws given by your opponent is often unknowable, or at best variable enough to be unreliable.

So debates about street rock paper scissors may rage on.


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One thing I find interesting is playing Rock Paper Scissors online vs. in person. Online, you have more time to think of your moves and make a prediction, whereas in real life, you have to do it to the same 1-2-3-4 rhythm each time.

And then in real life you also have human elements like scissors being statistically the least played hand, since it is by a small margin the least natural of the 3 symbols to make. And rock ends up being the most common since it requires no thought or change at all (thereby the default for those who don't decide quickly enough). So paper becomes the safest option overall.

i love rock paper scissors because it's like hey, is this guy gonna punch me, or is he challenging me to a friendly game of RPS??? haha--ow
I've actually read that rock is more common amongst aggressive males for that very reason lol, but who can really say if that's the case.
i have to agree with the people saying rps is not a luck based game because of a few reasons i have done a little bit of research and have come to the following conclusion i have played against subject #1 5 games against him i generally lost all my games with a wide margin 1 game came close but it was still i win for subject #1 on the other hand i have played subject #2 5 times to and i won 4 out of the 5 games but not with a wide margin then i let subject 1# and subject #2 play 5 games against eachother and subject #1 won all the games with a wide margine conclusion: rps is not a luck based game and if you lose your just bad honestly


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Written from the perspective of alpha male Rock:

You know they say all decisions are created equal... but you look at me and you look at paper and you can see that statement is not true! See normally if you go one on one with another fighter you got a 50/50 chance at of winning. But I'm a genetic freak and I'm NOT NORMAL. So you got a 25% at best at beat me! And then you add scissors to the mix? The chances of winning drastic go down! See the 3-way at RPS, you got a 33 1/3 chance of winning. But IIIII, I got a 66 2/3 chance of winning because scissors KNOWS he can't beat me! And he's not even gonna try! So paper, you take your 33 1/3 chance, minus my 25% chance, and you got an 8 1/3 chance of winning at RPS. But then you take my 75% chance of winning, if we was to go one on one, and then add 66 2/3 chan... percents... I got a 141 2/3 chance of winning at RPS! See here, paper? The numbers don't lie, and they spell disaster for you at RPS!


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