$500K Game of Rock, Paper, Scissors Goes to Court

Edmund Mark Hooper must be breathing a sigh of relief
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 26, 2020 12:25 PM CDT

Who loses $517,000 in a game of rock, paper, scissors? Canadian man Edmund Mark Hooper does, but he must be happy today: The Quebec Court of Appeal has ruled that his devastating 2011 loss—which forced him to remortgage his home to pay up—is null and void, Sky News reports. This after the Superior Court cancelled the remortgage in 2017, per CBC News, and Hooper's opponent, Michel Primeau, appealed in order to get his winnings. The latest ruling hinged on two factors: whether paper, scissors, involves any skill and whether it's excessive to bet a half-million dollars on the game.

In the 2017 decision, Justice Chantal Chatelain relied on Quebec law in saying a contract for a bet must depend on actions "requiring only skill or bodily exertion on the part of the parties," not just chance. Chatelain ruled that the game might "in certain precise circumstances, call upon the skill of the parties, particularly in the speed of execution, the sense of observation or the putting in place of a strategic sequence." But she nixed the contract anyway, saying the wagered amount was excessive. The appeals court sided with Hooper on both counts, saying the amount was too high and rock, paper, scissors "involves a large part of chance." (More betting stories.)

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