Rock, paper, scissors is fascinating, though in my social circle, the manual game of choice is thumb wrestling. The algorithms used by the top programs in computer tournaments are good examples of practical game theory and applied statistics, as well as digital psychology, which is something I just made up. It takes some time to wrap your head around how you can come up with a successful algorithm for playing rock, paper, scissors, considering that an algorithm that (pseudo-)randomly chooses between rock, paper, or scissors is guaranteed a 33% win, 33% tie rate. If your opponent isn't playing completely randomly all the time, it's possible to profile him/it and come up with effective counters.

There are apparently human tournaments as well, and they're in vogue, so instead of poker we'll be playing that from now on. If the the last paragraph of the article is to be believed, playing in tournaments in bars is a good way to get girls' phone numbers, which I'm frankly jealous about in this case, concerning Jennifer 8. Lee. Becuase that would have been my chance to call her up and do what I've wanted to do for years: ask her what the fuck is up with her middle name. If we get another Times employee at the Blue Pencil Dinner I'm going to have to remember to ask him or her to pass along that query.


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