To Win Rock, Paper, Scissors: Never Start with Paper

Question: What does it take to win rock, paper, scissors?


Annie Duke: I think I’m terrible at rock, paper, scissors. Now, at that the time, I was really working on the game. I had this period where I decided that I wanted to become a really good rock, paper, scissors player. I have my champions t-shirt. It’s very similar to what you have to do in poker, which is to understand your opponent’s pattern. You should be able to see your opponent’s patterns very quickly because as much as an opponent might think that they’re behaving randomly, they’re not. Unless they are actually using a random number generator to determine their throws, whether they throw rock paper or scissors, there’s always going to be some pattern to what they are doing, and it really has to do with figuring out what they’re pattern is. For example, in the championship match that I won; my opponent had a very strong tendency to throw whatever I had thrown previously. I recognized that pattern, and obviously that’s very easy to beat because I knew what their throw was going to be. It has to do with understanding what your opponent’s throw is going to be.


The other little small piece of advice that I would give you is that people tend to throw rock on their first throw. Throwing paper is usually not a good strategy because they might throw scissors. You should throw rock as well.


The key is, and this is the best piece of advice that I can give you, if you do think that you recognize the pattern from your opponent, it’s good to try to throw a tie as opposed to a win. A tie will very often get you a tie or a win, whereas a win will get you a win or a loss. For example, if you think that someone might throw a rock, it’s good to throw rock back at them. You should be going for ties. That’s actually a really good strategy to win at rock, paper, scissors. There’s my rock, paper, scissors advice for you. I think I’m terrible at the game right now though because I’m not good right now at figuring out other people’s throws. I can’t go for the tie because I just haven’t – I’m so out of practice. I think it’s been like three years since I played it, a lot.


Recorded on September 30, 2009









The champion of the 2006 World Series Tournament offers tips on how to recognize patterns behind what your opponent throws out.

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Robot pizza delivery coming later this year from Domino's

The pizza giant Domino's partners with a Silicon Valley startup to start delivering pizza by robots.

Technology & Innovation
  • Domino's partnered with the Silicon Valley startup Nuro to have robot cars deliver pizza.
  • The trial run will begin in Houston later this year.
  • The robots will be half a regular car and will need to be unlocked by a PIN code.

Would you have to tip robots? You might be answering that question sooner than you think as Domino's is about to start using robots for delivering pizza. Later this year a fleet of self-driving robotic vehicles will be spreading the joy of pizza throughout the Houston area for the famous pizza manufacturer, using delivery cars made by the Silicon Valley startup Nuro.

The startup, founded by Google veterans, raised $940 million in February and has already been delivering groceries for Kroger around Houston. Partnering with the pizza juggernaut Domino's, which delivers close to 3 million pizzas a day, is another logical step for the expanding drone car business.

Kevin Vasconi of Domino's explained in a press release that they see these specially-designed robots as "a valuable partner in our autonomous vehicle journey," adding "The opportunity to bring our customers the choice of an unmanned delivery experience, and our operators an additional delivery solution during a busy store rush, is an important part of our autonomous vehicle testing."

How will they work exactly? Nuro explained in its own press release that this "opportunity to use Nuro's autonomous delivery" will be available for some of the customers who order online. Once they opt in, they'll be able to track the car via an app. When the vehicle gets to them, the customers will use a special PIN code to unlock the pizza compartment.

Nuro and its competitors Udelv and Robomart have been focusing specifically on developing such "last-mile product delivery" machines, reports Arstechnica. Their specially-made R1 vehicle is about half the size of a regular passenger car and doesn't offer any room for a driver. This makes it safer and lighter too, with less potential to cause harm in case of an accident. It also sticks to a fairly low speed of under 25 miles an hour and slams on the breaks at the first sign of trouble.

What also helps such robot cars is "geofencing" technology which confines them to a limited area surrounding the store.

For now, the cars are still tracked around the neighborhoods by human-driven vehicles, with monitors to make sure nothing goes haywire. But these "chase cars" should be phased out eventually, an important milestone in the evolution of your robot pizza drivers.

Check out how Nuro's vehicles work: