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Ryan McLane

Ryan  McLane
Ryan McLane was a poker reporter for Casino City. Although he has a strong background in reporting, the same can't be said for his poker skills. He has never won a major tournament nor is he a professional player. Currently, Ryan lives in Boston and occasionally makes international treks to cover tournament poker and news.

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I challenge you to Roshambo

3 May 2007

By Ryan McLane

The newly introduced real-money rock, paper, scissors (Roshambo) tables seemed the logical place to spend the last 10 cents I had remaining at Ultimate Bet .

I sat down with the intention of re-building my bankroll, only to fall victim to using the weak best-of-three-roshambo strategy known as a "heavy run," two rocks throws followed by a sneaky scissor.

My opponent, clearly one of the leading Roshambo players on the Internet, went with paper, paper, rock, reading my table image perfectly and taking my last dime.

"GG," I typed into the chat box. There was no reply.

Yes, it's true, Ultimate Bet last week unveiled real-money Roshambo tables for popular consumption. The stakes are low for now, ranging from $.10 - $2, and the tournaments/sit-n-gos are currently unavailable. But judging by the addictive nature of this very simple game, I think the idea will catch on.

It could become the ultimate way to settle a "bad-beat score." The next time some donkey cracks your Aces on Ultimate Bet, see if he has the rocks to play against you at the Roshambo tables.

As the Ultimate Bet promo declares, "Roshambo is used to settle scores and make selections when a simple coin toss or drawing straws just doesn't seem fair. Which friend gets the extra ticket to tonight's playoff game? Who's stuck driving tonight? Roshambo and discover the loser."

Roshambo Diagram

Phil Gordon made Roshambo popular in the poker world when he introduced it as an "event" in the 2005 World Series of Poker. ESPN featured the for charity tournament in both 2005 and 2006, making the game an instant cult classic in poker circles. The winner gets a seat in the WSOP Main event with the rest of the proceeds going to charity.

Ultimate Bet is the first online poker room to offer Roshambo for real-money play. And the graphics are hysterical, especially when you are on the losing end of a rock versus scissors match up.

An Ultimate Bet roshambo player has to buy in first, (example: $1-per best-of-three table), and then wait for an opponent. They then play out the match for the total prize pool. There is a 10% percent rake in both cash games and sit-n-gos.

Each player has 30 seconds to pick rock, paper, or scissors. Once both players have selected their throw, Ultimate Bet graphics appear and show which opponent has outsmarted the other. If there is a tie, the throw is deemed void and repeated. First player to win two throws gets the cash.

My personal favorite is "rock crushes scissors."

Despite the silly nature of the game, several Web sites and organizations are seriously devoted to the "sport," offering worldwide big-money tournaments for successful players and even strategy for those who want to become better.

The United States of America Rock Paper Scissors League (USARPS) holds an annual tournament in Las Vegas to decide the country's best Roshambo player. This year's event will be held May 12-13 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. The top prize is $50,000 and the event is being taped for broadcast by ESPN.

Players must qualify in regional tournaments to play in Vegas.

Although the game appears to be random, Roshambo experts claim there is an element of mathematical strategy and wit to the game, based mostly on psychology and probability.

Women are more likely to lead with scissors while men usually lead with rock, according to . Knowing your opponent is the key. The more aggressive your opponent, the more likely he or she is to throw three rocks. The more passive…well you get the point.

The strategy site emphasizes the idea of pre-selecting your throws, which gives you an advantage against a person who is throwing at random. Each pre-selected session is called a run.

There are 27 different runs a person can use, categorized into three groups by . A heavy run is any combination using two identical throws (example: two scissors and one rock). A mixed throw is when a player uses all three of the selections and a straight throw is when a player tosses out the same weapon all three times.

The next time you're feeling the need to Roshambo, go in with a game plan. Taunt your weak opponent and make him feel your aggression, then toss three straights papers. If you projected your image correctly, he or she will be fooled when you don't throw down rocks.

I can't think of a better way to spend 10 cents.

Roshambo Rules (according to Ultimate Bet)

When it comes down to it, the rules of 'what beats what' is pretty logical. Here's a handy guide to help you remember it all.

Beats – Scissors
Loses to – Paper
How to remember – Drop a rock on a pair of scissors, the scissors will break. A piece of paper, on the other hand, has rock covered.

Beats – Paper
Loses to – Rock
How to remember - With its sharp blades, a pair of scissors can destroy a piece of paper. But drop a rock on the scissors and there's a good chance you'll break the scissors.

Beats – Rock
Loses to – Scissors
How to remember – A piece of paper can wrap a rock. But a pair of scissors will cut right through it.

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