Rock – Paper – Scissors

As a child, and even now, we all have had our shares of Rock Paper Scissors matches, but have you ever thought about how we won those games. In this article, BBC news shares how the childhood game is linked to the Nash equilibrium. Even though, this is not primarily related to our economy, it is pretty interesting to see how one theory is can be practiced outside of the context that we learned it in.

Rock, Paper, Scissors is an example of Nash equilibrium because each player does not know which option their opponent will chose, making their decisions unrelated since the outcome in unknown. But as the game continues, it can be inferred that players observe their opponents pattern in order to make their own decision.


-Tonian Ortega


  1. wardja Said,

    December 2, 2014 @ 12:34 am

    This is an outstanding article. I have never thought about Rock Paper Scissors as more than just a simple game, but people definitely try to see their opponents’ patterns. It is a shame their is no dominant strategy but then only one person would ever win. This is also a great way to remember what Nash Equilibrium is, thank you!

  2. allons Said,

    December 2, 2014 @ 2:10 pm

    I think that it is interesting to see how the Game Theory is used outside of economics in a more “friendly” setting. I never knew that Rock, Paper, Scissors would use the Nash Equilibrium. This is a good example of the Game Theory that is easy to understand.

  3. jimminkc Said,

    December 3, 2014 @ 1:56 am

    This is a very interesting way to understand Nash Equilibrium. When playing RPS you don’t know what the player will do but you base your actions of what you think your competitor will do.

  4. Zach Kalman Said,

    December 3, 2014 @ 8:14 pm

    I really like this example relating to the Nash Equilibrium because it shows how we use certain economic principles early on in our childhood without realizing it. Rock Paper Scissors is a great way to understand the basic meaning behind the Nash Equilibrium.

  5. sabonesl Said,

    December 7, 2014 @ 7:02 pm

    I agree with the comments above. Connecting microeconomics concepts to rock paper scissors is really interesting! I wonder if there is a patter within the game and if game theory and nash equilibrium could find a common trend, or at leafs predict some kind of preferred option rock vs paper vs scissors.

  6. misroka Said,

    December 7, 2014 @ 7:37 pm

    I think this real life application of the Nash equilibrium is extremely interesting. When we are in class, it can sometimes be hard to think about a theory in a different context than the one it was presented to us in. I think this article is a great example of how relevant this class is.

  7. kenzie Said,

    December 8, 2014 @ 6:48 pm

    Great example of Nash Equilibrium. Thinking of it as a game of rock, paper, scissors gives me a better understanding of the concept. I realize now that there is usually a pattern. This pattern can affect the decisions you will make as a seller (or player) in the future.

  8. formanm Said,

    December 16, 2014 @ 8:05 pm

    What an excellent example of the Nash Equilibrium. I would have never thought that an economic concept could be applied to a little game. I feel as if I have a better understanding of the equilibrium concept seeing it in simpler terms.

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