Researchers previously believed the game operated according to a game theory tenet called “the Nash equilibrium” — basically, the idea that people will chose each of the three options equally over time. But studied on a larger scale, it appears play follows a cyclical pattern — which means sneaky players can use “conditional response,” a reaction to a specific stimulus, in order to optimize their records.
If you win, you tend to go with the same play. If you lose, you tend to go to the next play but in a predictable order; rock, paper, scissors. If you play scissors and lose, most of the time you play rock next.
If you play paper and win, you usually go with paper next. But now you know your opponent will probably play paper because she played rock and lost. So you go with scissors.
But now we all know.
Have fun at the bars tonight!