September 2007
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Rock, scissors, paper money

I got a $10 free play use-it-or-lose-it bonus on Ultimate Bet today.  I can’t remember the last time I played anything on there properly, and I’m sure last time I logged in was just to play through another $10 bonus, which I moved all in with – and lost – in one hand of poker.  I’m not complaining though if they keep giving me free money to come back, and then don’t realise if it didn’t actually work.

I thought I’d give their Roshambo a try.  That’s Rock, Paper, Scissors played online for real money and as far as I know it’s still unique to UB.  I sat down for one $10 game, and was happy to assume this would be a coinflip.  It’s played as a best of three contest (whereas the World Series of Roshambo – you think I’m making that up? – is a best five-out-of-nine format), so I really don’t think that’s long enough for anybody to figure out my playing style.  If indeed I even have one.  Does a skillful player have a long term edge?  Possibly.  But with just two or three throws deciding the winner, not today.

Naturally, as I sat down at the table I cranked up a screen recording program so I could make a video for the blog, but as I clicked to start the game and then to start recording, the game window just blacked out.  The recording tool uses an overlay window to mark the area of screen you want to record, and the application started to die so the overlay blocked everything I needed to see.  In a bit of a fluster, I tried to drag the game window onto another part of the desktop but just ended up slightly resizing the dead screen recorder program.  Then everything else froze.

All I could see was a small corner of the game window with a timer in it, ticking down from fifteen seconds.  Things didn’t recover quickly enough so the timer ran out and I had no idea whether I’d somehow forfeited the game.  Maybe it automatically made some kind of gesture that always loses.  A fly, perhaps.  A fly would be swatted by paper, if it was rolled up the hands of an irritated human, or crushed by rock, if the rock was rolling fairly quickly down a hill and the fly had it’s back turned, or dropped from a reasonable height.  I really don’t know what horrible death would occur with scissors, but a fly certainly couldn’t beat them.

In fact, I’d thrown paper.  Twice.  Without choosing it, and without seeing it.  I only found this out from the game history feature, and it actually worked out pretty well for me.  The other guy was going for the avalanche gambit (rock, rock rock – you think I’m making that up?) and I crushed him.  Well, actually I covered his ass with paper, but you know what I mean.

So, in the end a pretty decent result for a totally free game that I had no control over.

However, I still have absolutely no idea how the game is played online, and I’m just not interested enough to try it again with my own money.