A few years ago, the news came out that computers have ruined the game of checkers forever by coming up with a perfect strategy that can't be beaten. This made us wonder if there were other ways to use math to completely ruin innocent games from our childhood.
5Rock Paper Scissors: Opponents Are Biased Toward Rock, Against Scissors
If we told you that it's possible to cheat at a game as simple as Rock Paper Scissors, you'd probably think we were talking about the old "We didn't say it WASN'T the best out of three" technique, or the one where you try to convince the other person that there really is a secret fourth option.
"Dong punctures paper and shames rock. It ... uh, doesn't do so hot against scissors."
But no, the cheats we're talking about are a little more sophisticated than that -- and not completely unlike a Jedi mind trick.
How to Win:
Professional Rock Paper Scissors players (yes, they exist) find that humans are fairly predictable when it comes to simple games like this. For example, it's well known that a rookie player is always more likely to start with rock, simply because rock looks more badass. Intermediate players can use this knowledge to counteract or rule out rock depending on how experienced their opponent looks.
Also, players in general are statistically less likely to throw scissors at any given time -- so all things being equal, you should go with paper.
Then, statistics show that players will often use the throw that would have won the last turn. After you throw down the paper, watch them come back with scissors.
Really advanced players, however, don't need to guess what you're gonna choose because they can decide that for you.
"Yes, this is the best way to use my superpowers."
How? Well, one advanced technique consists of reminding the other player of the rules before the match starts, making sure to repeatedly flash them with the throw you want them to use -- for example, show them the scissors every time you say the word "scissors," but not the other ones, as you go over the rules. As long as you don't make it too obvious, their subconscious should take your suggestion and they will open with the move you commanded them to use.
Now that you have this knowledge, kindly avoid using it for evil.
Here's another cheat: Make it really obvious that you're going to throw paper next, and then throw paper. Subconsciously, your opponent will stay away from the move that beats paper (or whatever throw you were telegraphing) because they'll think that no one could be that obvious.
Yes, friends, with these techniques, you will always get to ride shotgun.
It's a view worth dominating the minds of your loved ones for.
4Monopoly: Buy the Orange Properties
There are so many "special" editions of Monopoly based on ridiculous things (Simpsons Monopoly, Batman Monopoly, Canadian Monopoly) that it's getting increasingly hard to remember what the original version even looked like. However, at its core, the game is the same: It still involves collecting fake money, and it's still about making sure you hate every member of your family by the time you reach the end of the game.
And then you realize you can't leave.
The most common strategy for winning Monopoly seems to be buying as many properties as you can and then sort of hoping other people fall on them so that you can overcharge them into bankruptcy. While the game does require some skill (knowing when to build, or trade, or tip over the board and tell everyone to suck it), everyone knows that it's mostly about dumb luck. It's all about the roll of the dice, right?
Or how to blow just right?
How to Win:
Well, everyone's wrong. There is a simple, winning strategy based on how often everybody winds up in jail. Here, let's examine a regular Monopoly board for a second:
We almost don't recognize it without the dried blood and hateful graffiti.
To the untrained eye, it would appear you have an equally likely chance of landing on any square -- until you consider the Jail square, which you can be transported to by landing on "Go to Jail," by rolling doubles three times or by drawing certain cards from the Community Chest and Chance piles (not to mention just normally arriving there to visit your uncle Greg).
Someone on the Internet went ahead and compiled the exact probabilities of landing on any given square (because that's what the Internet is for) and found out that Jail is the place you're most likely to end up. By far.
Just like life.
Considering this, then, the most visited squares that aren't Jail are the ones immediately after it on the board: purple, red and orange.
Another citizen of the Internet with too much time on his hands calculated the cost of each property versus the potential returns and the probabilities of players landing there, and concluded that the orange squares give you a far better return for your money than any other place on the board (except the railroads, if you can get all four). If you focus on securing those properties early on, you'll be wiping your ass on fake money in no time.
This tactic won't guarantee that you win every single game, because there's still an element of chance and you're always one unlucky dice roll away from getting screwed on Park Place. Still, remember to thank math and Cracked when you're winning that game of Strip Monopoly you're already thinking of suggesting.
Where all the houses are bits of clothing and the hotels are ritual sacrifices.