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Canadian Man Not Liable For Big Loss At Rock, Paper, Scissors

This story should be a lesson to everyone on what not to bet on. It took six years for the courts to sort out. The winner eventually won nothing, the loser had to mortgage his house and the lawyers were arguing forever over a silly game of rock, paper, scissors.

The game, played between two people, is as old as time. For each game, each player throws out a fist – a rock; a flat hand – paper; or a V-sign – scissors. Paper beats rock, rock beats scissors, scissors beats paper. It's really that simple.

Edmund Mark Hooper challenged Michel Primeau to a best of three rock, paper, scissors tournament. The amount he bet was $517,000 Canadian dollars (roughly $368,000 in US dollars).

In the roughly 10 seconds it took for the three games to pass Hooper lost. Primeau then demanded payment. Hooper eventually got additional mortgages on his house to try to pay Primeau. Eventually, though he thought enough was enough and decided to explore his legal options.

Thus followed more than six years of lawyers fighting the validity of a bet on rock, paper, scissors. In the end, a Canadian court ruled that while betting on rock, paper, scissors was legal the amount of the bet was excessive. Therefore it ruled that Hooper would not have to pay Primeau. If the bet had been lower, however, Hooper would have had to pay.

This is an example of why you need to make your bets reasonable. Nobody in court could agree on whether or not rock, paper, scissors was a game of skill or chance. Nobody was quite sure how you could gain an advantage in the game. What they could agree on was that the bet was not reasonable.

Think about that the next time you are about to make a bet. It is reasonable? Is it a bet you can afford? What will happen to you if you lose?

You certainly don't want to end up like Hooper stuck in debt and fighting through the court system for years to come.

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