The game is often used as a selection method in a way similar to coin flipping, drawing straws, or throwing dice. However, unlike truly random selection methods, rock-paper-scissors can be played with a degree of skill, especially if the game extends over many sessions with the same players; it is often possible to recognize and exploit the non-random behavior of an opponent.
The players count aloud to three, or speak the name of the game (e.g. Rock! Paper! Scissors! or Ro! Cham! Beau! ), each time raising one hand in a fist and swinging it down on the count. On the third count (saying, Scissors! or Beau! ), the players change their hands into one of three gestures, which they then throw by extending it towards their opponent. Variations include a version where players use a fourth count — Shoot! — before throwing their gesture, or a version where they only shake their hands twice before throwing. Others prefer a five count cadence by saying Says Shoot! or And Shoot! before throwing their gesture. The gestures are:
An example of an unbalanced four-weapon game adds dynamite as a trump. Dynamite, expressed as the extended index finger or thumb, always defeats rock, and is defeated by scissors. Using dynamite generally implies that dynamite burns paper, but some claim that paper would smother the fuse. The fourth option of dynamite changes each gesture's odds of winning. For instance, scissors' odds improve from 33% to 50% while rock's odds decrease from 33% to 25%. Dynamite can be used to cheat by quickly raising or lowering the thumb on the downstroke once the opponent's play is recognized. Organized rock-paper-scissors contests never use dynamite.
Similarly, the French game pierre, papier, ciseaux, puits (rock, paper, scissors, well) is unbalanced; both the rock and scissors fall in the well and lose to it, while paper covers both rock and well. This means two weapons , well and paper, can defeat two moves, while the last two weapons can only defeat one of the other three choices.