Losing half a million with Rock, Paper, Scissors

In Canada, a man played the game Rock, Paper, Scissors (Stone, Paper, Scissors) in which the aim was to win as many times as possible in three games. You guessed it: he lost and immediately became a considerable amount poorer.

He lost more than 500,000 Canadian dollars in the game, the equivalent of over €330,000. He would have to pay the amount he lost but the judge ruled that he does not have to because the stakes were too high so it was no longer a fun game.

What does the game Rock, Paper, Scissors actually entail?

Rock, Paper, Scissors is a multi-player game but in this case it was played by two players. It is a game that does not require any extra attributes because you only need your hands to play it. Often the game consists of several rounds with the one who wins the most often being the final winner.

On each round, both players simultaneously form a shape of one of the names mentioned with their hands. This means that for Paper to be portrayed you show a flat hand, for Rock you make a fist, and for Scissors you stick out two fingers. The rules for it state that stone wins over scissors but scissors wins over paper and paper wins over stone again. In this way, the outcome can be different with each game.

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Debt statement signed by the players

In 2011, Michel Primeau played a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors with his former friend Edmund Mark Hooper. After the game, which Primeau won, a debt statement was drawn up and signed. Cooper’s mortgage served as collateral for this. That this statement was signed is evident from court documents. Cooper says, however, that this did not happen at all.

He claims that the document only exists as a simulation to protect his home from foreclosure. This is because he owned the company Digiscreen which went bankrupt and was about to lose his house as a result.

Complicated triangular relationship

To make the whole story even more complicated and juicy, both men were involved in a love triangle with one Susanna Iwanow. She was married to Cooper at the time of the game but was having an affair with Primeau. How about a complicated affair that goes beyond just a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. Cooper had discovered that his (now ex-wife) was once engaged to Primeau in the 1990s.

In doing so, he immediately claimed that the two (even during his marriage to Susanna) were still having an affair but this could not be proven. The testimonies turned out to be vague and frequently incorrect but the court could not get a grip on them either. The game of Rock, Paper, Scissors turned out to be quite complicated and there was more to it than meets the eye.

Taking the case to court

In order to still be able to collect his money, Primeau decided to go to court in 2017. The lawsuit primarily looked at the legal validity to be determined when playing a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. Canadian law states that in the event of gambling losses, the law can only come into play if the games in question are those that are permitted by the state and have been licensed. In addition, for a particular game, there must be some ability on the part of the player to do so. The stakes should also be reasonable and not rise to great heights.

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In doing so, the court found that the game Rock, Paper, Scissors, is legal to do because it requires a certain degree of ability or adeptness to play it. If the game was just a matter of pure luck and chance then it would have been a different story. However, people are not able to make random choices (like a device) and this game also looks at the behavior of the other player.

From this, a person in turn bases his or her own game and technique used with it. In addition to this observation, it was determined that the game between Primeau and Cooper was played with a stake that was far too high. The stakes were so high that the rules established in the contract between the two gentlemen were no longer valid. Conclusion: the debt did not have to be paid.