Crimson vs. Simpson

Bart Rock

Bullboarder Mathew Crimson has sparked a flurry of activity on the World RPS bullboard recently trying to back the now debunked myth that a randomized strategy is the optimal strategy in RPS. In a masterstroke, Bullboarder Martin Burley came out with a simple, elegant and illustrative pop culturized example of how this line of reasoning can fall apart

The scene: Matthew vs Bart Simpson, RPS match, first to five.
Matthew's strategy: to play totally randomly, according to his random number generator.
Bart's strategy: "Good ol' Rock. Nothing beats Rock."

First eleven rounds:
Matthew – Bart
S – R
P – R
R – R
P – R
S – R
S – R
S – R
P – R
R – R
R – R
P – R

The score is Matthew 4, Bart 4. Next throw wins.

Do you still go with your random number generator? Isn't the choice to use the random number generator itself a non-random choice – and in this situation, clearly a foolish choice? If you throw randomly here and lose, is that really just bad luck? If you throw paper and win, is that really just good luck?

Sure, real RPS players are a bit more subtle than this. But not *that* much more. The point applies: if you know something about your opponent, but choose to throw randomly, you're just throwing away points. 

Posted in Best of the Bulllboards