Rock, Paper, Scissors: A Cut Above The Rest

Deep within Philadelphia’s nightlife, there exists a league, not known to many. It is officially identified as the PBRPRPSCLCS, or the Pabst Blue Ribbon Philadelphia Rock, Paper, Scissors City League Championship Series. Indeed, you read correctly. An entire league, devoted to the preservation and continuation of the age old childhood game of rock, paper, scissors (RPS). Theodore Drnktobedne was lucky enough to snag an exclusive interview with the 2012 Rock, Paper, Scissors champion, and TD2BD author, Jayne Doe.

Q: Jayne…I must admit, I was a bit skeptical upon hearing about the league. Is this thing for real?

A: As real as the NFL or NBA, Theodore! Well, maybe not as highly recognized, but equally as real. The PBRPRPSCLCS was started in 2006 by former league commissioner, C. Urbanus. I was pretty skeptical of it all myself when I was introduced, but once I played, I knew I was hooked.

Q: What exactly is RPS?

A: It’s exactly like the rock, paper, scissors you would play as a kid, but slightly more structured. You’d think it was as easy as just throwing out any old thing you please, but it’s not that simple. There are strategies to learn, rules to follow, and penalties if you break those rules, just as in any sport.

Q: I would have never pictured RPS being so complicated!  What else do you need to know other than paper beats rock, rock beats scissors, and scissors beats paper?

Well, for starters, the only acceptable throws are Rock, Paper and Scissors. Any use of Dynamite, Bird, Well, Spock, Water, Match, Fire, God, Lightning, Bomb, Texas Longhorn, or other non-sanctioned throws, will result in automatic disqualification. Timing is important as well! You have to make sure to sync your primes with your opponent’s to ensure you’re throwing out at the same time. On the east coast, and in the PBRPRPSCLCS, we follow the ‘three prime shoot rule.’ This means you count 1,2,3 and throw on 4, i.e. rock, paper, scissors, SHOOT!

Q: Ok, so now that we know the basics of RPS, how exactly does one go about competing in such a thing?

A: That part is actually pretty simple, Theodore! All you have to do is start showing up to the RPS season tournaments.

Q: Wait, what do you mean when you say a ‘season’ of RPS??

A: Just like any other competitive sport, RPS too has an annual season. We play every spring from the beginning of April to the beginning of June. Tournaments are typically held four nights a week, each night being held at a different bar, designated by the commissioner at the start of the season. Each player must compete in a minimum of five tournaments per season, and place in the top 64 players, to qualify for a spot in the end of season championship.

Q: Jayne, as the 2012 PBRPRPSCLCS champion, what is so special about making it to the championship?

A: Woah, woah, woah! You mean, besides the fact that you can win $1000 grand prize? Not to mention the second and third place cash prizes, among the many other prizes given out for the season winners. Some of these include rookie of the year, most street money won for the season, total points winner and best overall team.

Q: All of those prizes seem pretty self explanatory, other than the ‘street money.’ What’s that all about, and how do you win that?

A: I’m glad you asked! Street is probably my favorite part of being a member of RPS. Each night upon paying your $1 entry fee, each player receives a pack of $5 street money. This monopoly-esque money can be used to challenge other players to unsanctioned games of RPS throughout the night. So, even if you lose in the tournament, you can play for street money as long as you have it! The players decide how they play and how much they want to play for. If you win most street money for the night, you earn points toward your total season street count. The player at the end of the season with the most collected street money wins $100.

Q: Very interesting Jayne, I think I’m finally starting to understand this whole thing!  Could you tell me more about what role Pabst plays as a sponsor, and how it helps the league?

A: Pabst helps the league by providing us with a solid back bone. Along with the cool gifts the PBR reps bring us throughout the season, they supply us with enough Pabst to make it through eight weeks of RPS. I also forgot to mention, that every time you purchase a citywide special, PBR and whiskey shot, you get a packet of street money to play with that night. For some people, this is a way toward winning that ’most season street money’ award, in a strategy we veterans like to call “Buying the Bar.”

Q: Well, now that we know the logistics, what’s it really like being the 2012 PBRPRPSCLCS champion? I’d assume you’re practically famous!

A: I’m actually very proud to hold such a unique title! I love the reaction I get from people when they find out I’m the champion of a rock, paper, scissors league. A lot of people have a hard time believing it, and even laugh about it but in the end, they all kind of wish they could be part of something so fun.

Q: I understand a lot of people think it’s all luck, but would you say there’s any secret to how you won?

A: Well Theodore, I can’t give away my secret! What I will say, is that there is some strategy involved, as ridiculous as it sounds. Most of us come consistently, so you learn other people’s strategies and try to defend against them. I’d be inclined to go with the age old saying of ‘the best offense, is a good defense.’ Some players like to throw doubles or multiples, i.e. rock, rock, rock. Other players always start off with a specific throw. The best advice I can give is to pay attention to your opponents.

Q: This is all very cool, Jayne! I’m so glad you could take some time to talk with us and tell us more about the PBRPRPSCLCS! Is there anything else you think we should know?

A: I think the most important thing to know is that the season starts in the beginning of April, so make sure to tell your friends, and get out there and play! It’s an awesome way to relax and make new friends. If you’d like to know more about the league, this season’s standings, or anything else RPS related, please visit!

RPS Championship is 6/15/13 @ Connie Ric Racs –




Theodore Drnktobedne