Rock, Paper, Scissors All-Star Rob Krueger, A.K.A. The Sinister Southpaw, on Hand Size, ESP, Mid-Riff Baring and other RPS Strategies.


See Smushed for part 1 of my RPS series. Here in part 2,Rob Krueger, a former world RPS champion and a member of the highly respected Legion of the Red Fist discusses his favourite sport

See Smushed for part 1 of my RPS series. Here in part 2,Rob Krueger, a former world RPS champion and a member of the highly respected Legion of the Red Fist discusses his favourite sport

Does being a southpaw give you an edge as it often does in baseball?
It does give you a bit of an advantage because most people are righties. Standing across from your opponent you usually get a diagonal going with your arms. But suddenly you throw them off because they’re looking at a different way to try and read your arm.

You’re a member of the Legion of the Red Fist. Is this a mystical collection of likeminded talents much like the Wu Tang Clan?
We are definitely a talented bunch, and there is a bit of mysticism in the sense that we draw our roots from a legion of conflict resolvers from the 1700s in England. They were known as the Red Fist, and the myth goes that they were employed by royalty and people in high society to resolve disputes whether in their family or business with rock paper scissors.

Can you make your opponent believe that you are going to through rock when in actuality you are going to throw scissors and is this one of the secrets of your success?
It is actually. I can imitate the looks of someone who appears to be throwing a certain throw. A lot of people get nervous. The natural human reaction to this is to have a clenched fist. So if you are looking tense and the other person is trying to read you, (mind you it takes a pro to recognize this), you can play against it. They’re going to think I’m about to throw a rock and so they’ll throw paper yet I’ll be throwing scissors.

Do you have ESP or a sixth sense?
I sometimes even baffle myself with the fact that I’m able to anticipate the throws that are going to be coming at me. It is quite possible that I have a bit of the shine if you know what I’m saying.

Do you have to get inside your opponents head in order to win in RPS?
I use a lot of intimidation. I have a cadence to my throws. A lot of people go 1-2-3-throw. I do “Ro-Sham-Bo-Boom!” and I use my voice to increase the volume as I go through the cadence and it can unnerve people, particularly since a lot of people get unnerved by the bright lights, the big city, all the media attention, and people screaming around them.

How do you think your "Ro-Sham-Bo-Boom" chant would fare against my bombastic "Boom-shaka-laka"?
Boom-shaka-laka has too many syllables. I would destroy Boom-shaka-laka.

Is RPS more about patterns and probability or ingenuity and telepathy?
There is pattern recognition. We are not computers out there so it is impossible for us to truly be random. When I go into a match one of the techniques that I do employ, and a lot of professionals do this, is get to know your opponent and watch them in preliminary matches because that sometimes opens up a window into their world into recognizing what patterns they may be employing and they may not even be conscious of them.

Have you ever changed your mind on a throw halfway?
I have occasionally done that. We call that “cloaking” where you are hiding a paper throw till the very last minute. Another strategy would be “priming the chump” where you are trying to bring your opponent up to your arm speed and force them to display a throw half-way through or cause them to change their mind because they are rushing their throw.

Do you have a fitness regiment to avoid carpal tunnel?
I do a lot of stretching. I play hockey, I play a lot of sports and that generally keeps my arms in shape.

Are you a spontaneous thrower or do you come in to each game with a plan of action?
I don’t want to give you too much insight into my strategies. Let’s just say I play my opponent. I don’t go into a round not knowing my opponent and just having a set plan.

What’s the last jam RPS has gotten you out of in your day-to-day life?
I’m going to have to say doing the dishes. I just got married in August and in terms of a conflict resolution tool, RPS is by far the easiest and most straightforward. Of course if you are good at it you can use it to dictate your wishes.

Is hand size important?
I honestly don’t believe so. It really comes down to hand-eye coordination and how quick you can throw your hand. If it’s a large bulky hand that isn’t physically fit it’s likely to be slower and that will be a disadvantage.

What’s your favorite rock paper scissors variation. When I was a kid a lot of people added a fourth “beat all” throw like M-16, or dynamite?
When I was growing up there were all kinds of things, the funniest one was “Spock,” the Vulcan hand gesture. I mean what beats Spock? Spock is the smartest guy in the universe

The female members of Team Force of the Fist, a Cal apparently use a midriff-baring strategy to distract male opponents, how do you counter that?
There are two elements to playing women but lets start with the midriff. It’s very difficult to keep the eyes averted but you really have to concentrate on their eyes or their face, anything but the midriff. The second thing about playing ladies, I’ve often seen Women’s intuition in effect. They are far harder opponents in my opinion. They can often see a throw coming before you even know you are going to throw it.

Copyright © Mike Dojc, 2006

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