How to Turn the Tables on Someone Who Beat You at Rock-Paper-Scissors

Roger and Jim are sitting at a seedy dive bar by themselves late at night watching a random college basketball game on TV when a frantic man pokes his head in the door. “Excuse me, fellas,” says the man, dripping wet from the massive thunderstorm taking place outside. “I was passing through town when my tire blew out and it’s dark and wet out there. Can someone please give me a hand changing the tire?” Roger and Jim don’t really want to help; they are nice and warm inside the bar drinking beer and watching sports. They look at each other, neither budging.

“Fellas? I could really use a hand,” the man continues. “Please!”

“Rock paper scissors, loser has to help,” Roger proposes. Jim nods in agreement.

Jim counts out “one, two, three!” Roger chooses to show rock, while Jim opted for paper. “Paper beats rock!” Jim cheered gleefully. “Enjoy the rain, loser!”

Roger really, really doesn’t want to help this out-of-town bum. He’s very comfortable where he’s at, and he just isn’t a very nice person. There must be some way to turn the tables on Jim to get out of this.

Here are a few ways Roger can earn a second chance at victory:

  • Roger can insist that the rules weren’t properly followed. “No, no, you can’t do that. It’s 1-2-3-shoot and then show your hand. You counted it off wrong. That’s a do-over!”
  • Roger can insist that the first time is always a practice round. “Oh not so fast, buddy, you always do one practice round to make sure everyone’s on the same page. Get back here.”
  • Roger can attempt to convince Jim that he is more familiar with a different version of the game where rock beats paper. “What?! No, no, rock rips right through paper, jackass. That’s the way we play back in Saskatchewan. You lose!”
  • Roger could make up a wild “second chance” rule at the last moment, where if the loser smashes the winner’s hand within two seconds after showing, he in turn wins, or it’s a do-over. “You didn’t pull your hand away in time, I smacked it, doesn’t count! What, you’ve never heard of that rule?!”
  • Roger can insist that a full game of rock-paper-scissors is a best-of-7 series. This is by far the most common approach someone will take after losing.
  • If Roger goes on to lose the best-of-7 as well, he can count that win for Jim as a single point, and now instill a first-to-4 point system where now up to 28 rounds need to take place to determine a winner.
  • Roger can insist that they were playing to determine who had to help the man with his tire. “Yeah, I know that paper beats rock. You won, you get to help the guy.”
  • If Jim isn’t dumb enough to bite on any of Roger’s mind games, he can barter. “Alright, if you go help this dullard I’ll pick up the tab for the night.”
  • If Jim still won’t budge, Roger can still resort to some sort of physical or emotional violence to “even the score” before leaving to help. Roger could punch Jim, call him a vulgar name, tip his drink over, or reveal something embarrassing about Jim to the bartender.

In the end, this is how it played out.

“Whoa whoa whoa,” Roger stammers back. “It’s best-of-seven, that’s how you play. World Series is best-of-seven. NBA Finals is best-of-seven. If you wanted to do a one-game-winner-take-all thing you had to call it beforehand!” Roger knew that if he had won, he’d never have proposed the game continue, but he’s convinced Jim that that’s how the game is played. Already ahead and having better odds, Jim decides not to argue and win fair and square.

Roger’s bending of the rules worked perfectly. He came back to win the series, 4 rounds to 3. Jim gulps his beer and slams his glass down as he heads out in the rain to help the out-of-towner with the tire. “Best of seven my ass,” he mutters on the way out.

Likewise, in games such as 1-on-1 basketball, insist that the winner has to win by a certain number of points. “No, cheater, you need to win by 3!” This gives you one last chance to win. Or after losing a game of HORSE, you can invoke the “prove it” rule by re-making their winning shot. Chances are, they’ll miss the shot a second time, extending the game.

Be creative in finding a way to screw your friend over until you get your way, whatever the game or challenge!

Literal Rock, Paper, and Scissors You Can Buy

My Hot Take:
I once lost a bet on a game of foosball, so I continued to say “double or nothing” until I won a game. This guy had beaten me 4 straight times and I now owed him $16 and was on the verge of owing him $32, but as soon as I won, I refused to play him again.

Win a game of rock-paper-scissors just by creating new rules or extending the match to a “best-of” series until you finally win.

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