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How to Win a Three-Way Gunfight
IO9 ^ | July 6, 2012 | Esther Inglis-Arkell

Posted on 07/06/2012 1:20:50 PM PDT by DogByte6RER

How to Win a Three-Way Gunfight

Truels are things guaranteed to make any Western fifty percent better — by adding a third person to a duel. Each person can choose his or her target, and the worst person might very well be the winner — provided they play it smart. Learn how to win yourself a truel, gunslinger-style.

Game theorists have thought about the problem of duels for a long time. As much as the Old West was depicted as a lawless place where anything might happen, it was also known for hanging its criminals high — which meant that the winner of any gunfight just might find himself being executed for being the fastest gun in the West. Theorists calculated whether it was better to draw fast, wait for the other person to draw fast so they used up their shot and you could wait and take good aim, and whether or not it might not be better to settle the whole thing with a coin flip, instead.

And then Martin Shubik, an economist, introduced a new element. What if, instead of a duel, people got into a truel? What if three people stood at the points of an imaginary equilateral triangle, picked their targets, and shot? Who would walk away? The fun thing about this truel is that it reworks the the entire concept, so that the least qualified person was most likely to walk away alive.

The rules of the truel are simple. Each person chooses their target and shoots. There are variants; each person shooting one at a time, each shooting simultaneously, random order, rotating order, and so on. For someone who couldn't even sling a gun over a fence, the truel seems like an even worse situation than a duel. Now there are two competitors that you have to beat. But your competitors have to contend with each other as well. Which means that they are not going to be aiming for the person who's least likely to shoot them.

So how do you win a truel, if you're the worst shooter? After all, if you aim at the best gunfighter and miss, you'll leave a very angry sharpshooter who will want to get back at you. If you hit the person, and even kill him or her, you'll have to stand still for the second best to shoot at you. In the end, the best move you can make is to drop you gun or shoot into the air, leaving the two strongest shooters to take each other out. Worst case: The situation doesn't change. Medium: At least one of the competitors is gone. Best case: You win the truel.

In fact, that's always the best move in a truel — no matter who you are. Show that you're not a threat immediately. Assuming the other people aren't going to shoot you for a personal reason, they'll go after each other, leaving you the most likely survivor and possible winner. This might be why gunfights, in movies and life, were kept to two people. If truels actually existed, they might have become races to see who could drop their gun first, not who could drawer their gun first.

TOPICS: Chit/Chat; Miscellaneous; Reference; Science; Society; Weird Stuff
KEYWORDS: banglist; duel; economics; gametheory; gunfight; gunslinger; highnoon; mathematics; nonzerosumgame; prisonersdilemma; survivor; thegoodthebadtheugly; truel
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1 posted on 07/06/2012 1:20:54 PM PDT by DogByte6RER

More background and references ...

“Duels, Truels, and Game Theory Gunslinger Rules” - http://chronicle.com/blogs/brainstorm/duels-truels-and-game-theory-gunslinger-rules/44764

“Distribution of winners in truel games” - http://digital.csic.es/bitstream/10261/7439/2/paper.pdf

2 posted on 07/06/2012 1:22:34 PM PDT by DogByte6RER ("Loose lips sink ships")

Best “truel” standoff ever in the movies ...

3 posted on 07/06/2012 1:24:40 PM PDT by DogByte6RER ("Loose lips sink ships")

To: DogByte6RER

Little Bill told Mr. Beauchamp that whenever a gunfighter is confronted with superior numbers he shoots at the best shot first.

4 posted on 07/06/2012 1:34:52 PM PDT by lesko

To: DogByte6RER
So that's what the French are doing.

5 posted on 07/06/2012 1:35:06 PM PDT by BitWielder1 (Corporate Profits are better than Government Waste)

To: DogByte6RER
Handy tip...

Now I can challenge two people at a time.

High Noon only comes once a day, and with this technique I can work on my list of people to duel twice as fast.

6 posted on 07/06/2012 1:35:38 PM PDT by GregoTX (Federalist)

7 posted on 07/06/2012 1:39:39 PM PDT by evets (beer)

To: DogByte6RER

Not too hard to figure...be faster than one guy and take the bullets out of the third guy’s gun while he’s sleeping. No problem!!

8 posted on 07/06/2012 1:41:29 PM PDT by GoldenPup (Comrade "O" has got to GO!!)

To: DogByte6RER
9 posted on 07/06/2012 1:46:22 PM PDT by smokingfrog ( sleep with one eye open (<o> ---)

To: GoldenPup

“You see, my friend, there are two kinds of people in this world - those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig.”

10 posted on 07/06/2012 1:57:11 PM PDT by ZirconEncrustedTweezers (If you're gonna die, die with your boots on...)

To: All

Why not just study the real thing and read up on the four-way shootout that Richard Davis (the founder of Second-Chance Body Armour) won when he was still delivering pizzas for the pizza shop he used to own?

11 posted on 07/06/2012 2:00:45 PM PDT by RatSlayer

To: DogByte6RER

What am I missing here? If you drop your gun and the others shoot your still dead less then a second after they shoot at each other.

12 posted on 07/06/2012 2:04:38 PM PDT by Steve Van Doorn (*in my best Eric Cartman voice* 'I love you, guys')

To: DogByte6RER

Win in a 3-way gun fight? Strictly adhere to Rule 1 of a gunfight: Don’t be there.

13 posted on 07/06/2012 2:08:11 PM PDT by PowderMonkey (WILL WORK FOR AMMO)

To: ZirconEncrustedTweezers

One of the greatest movie lines of all time.

14 posted on 07/06/2012 2:26:52 PM PDT by GoldenPup (Comrade "O" has got to GO!!)

To: DogByte6RER

In the actual west, the famed walk down fast draw contest almost never happened. Holsters were unbelievably crude. At OK corral Wyatt Earp didn’t even have one. Like most shooters,, it was stuffed into his belt.
Guns were carried in coat pockets, pouches, belts, and army holsters.

Ambush and shooting from cover was the order of the day. The TV gunfight is about as real as the 50 shot peacemakers they usually use.

15 posted on 07/06/2012 2:27:11 PM PDT by DesertRhino (perI was standing with a rifle, waiting for soviet paratroopers, but communists just ran for office.)

To: DesertRhino
The TV gunfight is about as real as the 50 shot peacemakers they usually use.
In the movie "Tombstone", Doc Holiday was able to shoot 4 times with his double-barreled shotgun.

I've never been able to find one of those....

16 posted on 07/06/2012 2:34:01 PM PDT by Bratch

To: DogByte6RER

Also, throughout the writings of that era the term “quick gun” was widely used. But it is always referring to a person who was quick to resort to a using a gun in a situation,, not to the 1950s concept of a super fast draw, from a thick buscadero holster.

17 posted on 07/06/2012 2:35:20 PM PDT by DesertRhino (perI was standing with a rifle, waiting for soviet paratroopers, but communists just ran for office.)

To: PowderMonkey

Or be 1,000yds away in the hills, with a Barrett .50BMG and some good Leupold glass/BOR system.

18 posted on 07/06/2012 2:49:14 PM PDT by carriage_hill (All libs and most dems think that life is just a sponge bath, with a happy ending.)

To: DogByte6RER

“When you have to shoot someone, don’t talk, just shoot!”

19 posted on 07/06/2012 2:51:46 PM PDT by Mat_Helm

To: lesko

Sometimes you just get lucky.

20 posted on 07/06/2012 2:53:18 PM PDT by Delta 21 (Oh Crap !! Did I say that out loud ??!??)