World Rock Paper Scissors Day

It is a game that transcends time. With a lengthy history and quick spread across the globe, it has sparked the interest of many – from children at recess to adults at casinos. Let’s dive into its history and influence over the years in honour of Rock Paper Scissors Day - 27 August!

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The History of Rock Paper Scissors

“Rock, Paper, Scissors” is one of the oldest known games.

There is even a World Rock paper Scissors Association dedicated to collecting the true history of this game, sharing it in tournaments, and more.

Let’s dive in.

The first ever written reference to the game was in a book titled Wuzazu, by Chinese Ming dynasty writer Xie Zhaozhi. In this text, he traces the game back to 206 BC – 220 AD.

After its success in China, it was played in Japan. Here, they changed the characters to a frog, slug, and snake. However, the core game remained the same.

In Japan, we finally saw the symbols for rock, paper, and scissors come in to play in the late 19th century. However, the word used for the open palm shape translated to “cloth”.

By the 20th century, “Rock, Paper, Scissors” had spread to the West.

Rock Paper Scissors in the 1900s

Written accounts of the “Rock Paper Scissors” phenomenon begin in the early 1900s in Europe and the USA.

1923: In Britain it was described in a letter, and the game was called “Zhot”
1927: A French kids' magazine described the game.
1932: The New York Times publishes the rules of the game.
1933: Compton’s Pictured Encyclopedia names the game “Jon Kem Po”.

Clearly, the game spread like wildfire in different areas across Europe and America.

While other games have lost their novelty over the years, “Rock, Paper, Scissors” has not.

This game is still loved, understood, and played by people all around the world – every day.

Fun Rock Paper Scissors facts

The USA had their own Rock Paper Scissors League. The first ever national champion won $50,000.

In Germany, they prefer to call it ‘Schnick, Schnack, Schnuck’.

In Chinese it is referred to as ‘Jiandao Shítou Bu’. While Japanese speakers will say ‘Janken’.

There have been many studies conducted that focus on the way people play along with which options they are most likely to choose. We recommend taking some time to look these up before playing your next opponent.

Rock Paper Scissors' influence on gaming

While “Rock, Paper, Scissors” is a great way to settle a dispute – it is also a great option for wagering.

We’ve seen many different platforms using different variations of this fun game.

Some play with the three symbols represented on cards that are drawn from a pile, while others have live events with real players.

It is a lot of fun to see this game expand into something beloved by many across the globe that can be celebrated and played in many ways.

More ways to play

If betting on a live “Rock, Paper, Scissors” match doesn’t sound like your thing – that’s okay! Why not join The Health Lottery and get involved in some fun while supporting good causes?

We offer Instant Win scratchcards , and lottery draws . Lottery draws are even simpler than “Rock, Paper, Scissors” matches, and you don’t need to keep your eye on your opponents.

The current society benefitting from funds raised is EWA Health CIC T/A HL Wales

The Health Lottery operates on behalf of 6 Community Interest Companies (CICs), managing 6 society lotteries that operate in 12 geographical regions across Great Britain. These exist to help tackle health inequalities in their respective areas. People’s Health Trust (PHT) is an independent charity that assesses grant applications and award funding across the 12 regions. Read about some of the good causes HERE. For information regarding all funded projects or to submit a grant application visit PHT HERE. 20.34% of every lottery draw ticket and online scratchcard purchased is donated to good causes. 36.02% is spent on prizes. 43.64% is spent expenses (actual expenses exceed this figure). Our average annual proceeds from lotteries are £12.5m. The odds of winning The Big Win jackpot are (1 in 2.1m) and the odds of winning any Big Win prize is (1 in 9.7). The odds of winning the All or Nothing jackpot is (1 in 1.35m) and the odds of winning any All or Nothing prize is (1 in 4.5). The odds of winning a QuickWin jackpot is (1 in 2.1m) and the odds of winning any QuickWin prize is (1 in 6). All winning lottery numbers are selected using an approved random number generator (RNG). Click on the links below for full T&Cs and FAQs for each of our games.

Please help us to support vital health causes in your community. Each of the 6 society lotteries is licensed by the Gambling Commission.