Xanatos Gambit / Real Life

  • Winning strategies in games simple enough to be completely "solved" are like this: your opponent is usually left with several options, but none that allow them to stop you from winning by following a preset rule each turn.
  • In the casino business they say that the house always wins, and indeed, it's true. When gamblers lose all their money, the house gets rich, but when someone has a lucky streak and wins big, this only serves to encourage others to take more risks, which means the house will actually get even richer in the long run for having "lost" some money to a big winner. The law of large numbers is on their side, after all. This is, in short, how casinos can stay in business—they virtually always turn a profit on the actual gambling, because their payouts will never exceed their income. Casinos do go bankrupt, but that's generally a result of the combination of overhead—paying all the cocktail waitresses, dealers, croupiers, security, janitors (casinos need a lot of janitors), managers, etc., and the cost of simply maintaining a large building (both repairs and costs of owning land like mortgages and taxes), and the fact that casinos tend to be combined with other non-gambling business with narrower margins (that is, they tend to have hotels, restaurants, and entertainment venues, some of which cost additional money and all of which are strongly dependent on having large numbers of people show up);note  the gambling itself, as an isolated activity, is always profitable.
  • Using the Power Of Math, insurance companies can calculate with very high accuracy how much in insurance claims they will have to pay out in a given time frame. Insurance payments are calculated to be higher than that number so the company will always come out ahead. They don't need to know what accidents happen to which of their clients at what time. For any of the trillions of scenarios that can happen during one year, the payments they'll receive will cover for virtually all of them. note  In the few cases that insurers would lose money they have in turn taken out insurances with companies like Munich Re (the company formerly known as Münchner Rück) who insure insurers against bigger risks such as tsunamis, earthquakes or major flooding.
  • Chief Justice John Marshall pulled one on President Thomas Jefferson with the historic Marbury v. Madison case by claiming the power of judicial review and subsequently using it to give Jefferson exactly what he wanted. This left Jefferson in the position of either accepting Marshall's power grab, or handing Marbury the job that he was so intent on withholding in the first place. "Marbury v. Madison: A politician covering his ass, or the most masterful usurpation of power in the history of America?"
  • Similar to the above, the Lawyer paradox, of no relation to the Liar paradox. A teaches B in rhetoric and the law, payment to be given when B wins his first case. B finishes his teachings but never takes a case, instead becoming a transactional lawyer. A gets upset and sues B for his payment. A argues:
    If I win, then B must pay me for teaching him.
    If I lose, then B has won, and must still pay me.
  • Contrariwise, B argues:
    If I win, then I do not need to pay A, for I have won.
    If I lose, then I have not won my first case, and need not pay him.
  • Who is right?
  • When there's a secret, the goal is usually to keep the secret, but leaking the truth can also be made into a "win".
    • The creators of lonelygirl15 tried to pass it off as a real girl's videoblog; when they were caught, it was a firestorm of publicity.
    • Likewise, the revelation that the Cormoran Strike series were actually written by J.K. Rowling under a pseudonym shot the first book in the series, and all subsequent ones, up the bestseller list.
  • Creators seeking Refuge in Audacity who are aware that there's No Such Thing as Bad Publicity might be seen as using this trope - the "bad" publicity that might be seen as a loss actually results in more sales for them.
    • This applies to every effort any individual or organization makes to discourage people from watching a movie, reading a book or playing a game; the controversy resulting thereof causes a huge spike in sales (which is just fine by the creator(s) of said movie/book/game). Sometimes overlaps with the Streisand Effect.
    • Worked like a particularly obvious charm for promoting Grand Theft Auto. The UK publicists told the tabloid The Daily Mail which whipped itself up into a frenzy quicker than you can say "BAN THIS SICK FILTH!" Result: publicity you couldn't buy if you wanted to.
  • Why baseball has an Infield fly rule. Before the rule, if the batter hit a fly ball into the infield with a force play at third or home, the runners had two choices. If they ran towards their next base, one of the fielders could just catch the ball and throw the ball to second base before the runner could tag up. If the runners stayed at their bases... the fielder would just let the ball hit the ground and then pull off an easy double play.
  • Also in sports, the "pick and roll" play in basketball, where a player moves up from the post to set a screen for his teammate who has the ball, separating that teammate from his defender. The defender is then forced to make a decision: guard the screener, leaving the ballhandler with an open shot or an easy drive to the basket, or get around the screener to stop the ballhandler, leaving the screener to move into shooting position and receive a pass for an open shot.
    • The defense can always Take a Third Option: have defenders switch who they're guarding. How well this works depends on the relative abilities of the players and coaches for both teams.
  • Samsung's Galaxy Pad faced down the iPad 2 at launch. Apple sued Samsung to stop selling Galaxy Pads. Samsung makes the chipsets for iPads.
  • Israel's "Galantgate" scandal of Summer 2010 played out as one of these. While the minister of defense was trying to choose the next Chief of General Staff (Ramatkal), a memo was leaked to the media describing an elaborate PR campaign to show the incumbent Ashkenazi in a bad light and promote positive media coverage of one candidate, Galant, so that he would be the one chosen for the job. Police investigation revealed that the document was a forgery, and that Ashkenazi had actually held a leaked copy of this document for several months without blowing the whistle, probably because it would have made him out to be a paranoid nut. When this came out it showed Ashkenazi in a bad light, promoted positive media coverage of Galant and led to the latter being chosen for next chief of general staff. No matter what Ashkenazi would have chosen to do, this would have blown up to reflect badly on him and positively on Galant. To be clear, the police had found Galant to have no connection to the whole ordeal, but you can't help but wonder. note 
  • The Thirty-Six Stratagems is a list of Xanatos Gambits in the form of Chinese Proverbs.
  • What do the Wii, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 have in common? IBM makes the CPU for all of them.
    • Speaking of Playstation, back when Sega was introducing their Sega CD to the US, Sony Imagesoft came out as a big supporter of it (Sega even helped produce some of their games). At the same time Sony was working with Nintendo to make their own CD based add-on for the SNES called the "Play Station". Sony was developing games for the Sega CD to gain experience, before turning around and backing Nintendo. As it turns out, Sony had already pulled another Xanatos Gambit on Nintendo in their contract for the SNES sound chip that guaranteed any CD-ROM software royalties would be theirs. Nintendo, upset at having discovered this later on, backed out of the deal, and Sony went ahead with the Playstation, dominating the market for the next decade. So, if Sega won they'd have a spot as one of their big developers, if Nintendo won, they'd be the creator of their own CD-based game system, and would have taken a huge chunk of the profits, and if Nintendo turned their back on them, they'd use everything they learned from both Sega and Nintendo, and crush them both. Neither of them saw it coming.
      • In a minor example, Sony invented the major optical disk formats. Even though they're all handled by a consortium group, everyone who follows the specification has to indirectly pay Sony a fee.
    • Possibly unintentional, but Microsoft's 360 being a jack-of-all/master-of-none means it still mildly succeeds in places the PS3 falters, and if Sony does succeed they just buy the devs away anyway. Sony typically compartmentalises, so few if any of those making Vaios and the like worked with the PS3.
    • AMD now has a hand in a majority of the hardware for The Eighth Generation of Console Video Games, they make the CPU and GPU for the new Xbox and PlayStation 4, and the GPU for the Wii U.
  • Related to the above, what does nearly every sophisticated electronic gadget have in common? They all use the ARM architecture. Granted, ARM doesn't actually make chips, they just design them and license it to people who can build them.
  • This is actually a fundamental component of combined arms warfare. The entire point of using combined arms is to confront your opponent with more than one type of weapon, and forcing your opponent into a position where defending themselves from one kind of weapon exposes themselves to another. For example, pinning an enemy behind a wall with small arms fire and then following up with an artillery barrage to that area. Either the enemy moves from cover to escape the artillery and exposes himself to direct fire, or he remains in place until the artillery zeroes in and wipes him out. Also the idea between self-propelled artillery, though Rommel infamously inverted this, turning what was supposed to be specialised AA into effective artillery and anti-tank weapons. Look, it's a tank! Now it's a tank destroyer! Now it's anti-infantry! Now it's shelling! Now it's a tank again! PzH2000, anyone?
  • The Battle of Cannae was this for the Romans. They kept pushing back the Carthaginian line until they went past its flanks. Suddenly, they're cut off in every direction. Hannibal wanted them to push his line back. Sphere of Destruction but with soldiers.
    • Later the Romans, and we mean the very ones who survived Cannae, paid him back with interests by invading Africa and getting the Numidians (allies of Carthage that provided a formidable light cavalry) to switch sides, because at that point whatever happened Rome would win the war: if Carthage fell before they could recall Hannibal, then Hannibal's army and his Italian allies suffered a devastating morale blow and became easier to finally defeat; if Hannibal was recalled, he had to cross the sea, that was dominated by the Roman Navy and there was a good chance he would be killed in transit, and without Hannibal his Italian allies were easy picking; if he managed to come back home and defeat the Roman army in Africa, then he still had to deal with the Numidians, who could be reinforced by further Roman legions, and even if he defeated them he could not invade Italy again as the sea route was blockaded and the ground route passed from Spain, now under Roman control. In the end Hannibal was recalled, successfully crossed the sea, tried to convince his government to sue for peace and failed, and when he faced the Romans was (finally) defeated, and in the meantime the Romans had defeated his remaining allies in Italy.
  • One has to wonder if AMD buying ATI was one of these. Since one is a processor company, and the other a graphics chip company, if one or the other loses to the competition (Intel and NVIDIA, respectively), not only do they still have a product lineup they can produce, but it also effectively means neither company can do anything about beating AMD. Beating AMD means they would have an effective monopoly, which the US and EU (especially the EU) don't take kindly to. Any sort of "exclusive" practice that NVIDIA will do with Intel can be decried as a trust by AMD. AMD effectively secured itself a place in the computer world because nobody can do anything to destroy each other. Intel and NVIDIA eventually found a way out: mobile devices. Both of them have a hand in the mobile system-on-a-chip market (which competes with Apple, Samsung, and Qualcomm), which AMD has yet to enter.
    • AMD may be trying this again, but from a PR standpoint. It appears they're conceding the higher-end processors to Intel since they've been pushing the APU family instead of the FX family. But with that, they're pushing a graphics API known as Mantle. This reduces CPU overhead and allows games to perform better, effectively lowering the CPU performance requirement bar. In theory, going with a more expensive Intel CPU with a high end graphics card would yield minimal performance gains over an AMD APU with a high-end graphics card, as the GPU is loaded with stuff to do already. This makes AMD's systems more attractive for gamers. Even if this doesn't fall through, it already has pressured Microsoft and others to think about making their graphics API have less CPU overhead. AMD takes the credit either way for pushing this.
  • Malware and malicious popups that appear to give a "Yes" and a "No" option; in reality, the entire popup is one giant "Yes", including the supposed "No" button. Take a Third Option if possible.
  • The Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik appears to have tried to pull off his own twisted version of this. Either he would be arrested by the police and use the ensuing trial and media storm to preach his beliefs, or he would be killed and become a martyr for the far-right, his message conveyed through his manifesto. He lived, and was allowed to explain his motivations and beliefs in court (to the surprise of some foreign nations). "Unfortunately" he was not much of an orator, as people fell asleep during the trial and even his own defence had trouble appearing interested.
  • Terrorist organizations in general can be quite good at setting these up when they are centered in and around population centers. Either no military action is taken against them, and they continue activity unmolested, or the collateral damage inflicted by those attempting to harm their positions and interests earns them new allies among the local populace, who have lost innocent loved ones due to the actions of the terrorist organization's enemies. Additionally, people who lost their loved ones might get their revenge (either personally by committing similar acts or indirectly through police or military actions), giving the terrorist a possibility to present themselves as victims to get the favour of more pacifistic audiences.
  • If a country accuses a person for being a spy (regardless of whether or not he or she is one), then the country representing the accused cannot get a convincing argument otherwise. The defending country cannot disclose the person is a spy and denying it just makes it all the more suspicious. Thus the defending country cannot win in this situation.
  • President Richard Nixon going to China can be seen as one: his goal being to 'open it up' to the west, but a secondary goal achieved regardless of the first is fanning Soviet fears of a China-America alliance, which he exploited in later summits.
  • In Real Life Magic Tricks, there is a technique called "Magician's Choice", which combines this with the Indy Ploy. The point is, as with most magic tricks, to make it appear like a Gambit Roulette. Penn & Teller managed to load every card in a standard 52-card deck while performing on a beach. Some were hidden on their persons, some on nearby sunbathers' possessions, one in a potted palm tree...
  • In Baseball contracts, there is a stipulation called a player option. If the player thinks he is worth more than the option, he can decline it and get a better deal. If the option exceeds the player's value, he exercises and gets maximum profit. This is the main reason why the option is rarely given out.
    • The super-charged version of the player option is the player opt-out, which covers multiple seasons. For example, a seven-year contract will include an opt-out after the fourth season, meaning the player can choose to void the remaining three years and become a free agent or play out the remainder of the deal. He'll do the former if he's played well, which means he can make more money and the team is forced to give him a rich new deal or lose a good player. He'll do the latter if he hasn't played well, forcing the team to pay a crummy player for three more seasons.
  • The Minnesota Vikings used a loophole in the transition tag to do this to the Seattle Seahawks over Steve Hutchinson. A player with the transition tag could be offered a contract by any team, but their current team could retain the player by matching the contract. Hutchinson was tagged by the Seahawks, so the Vikings created a contract which would be guaranteed if Hutchinson were not the highest-paid offensive lineman on the Seahawks. Since the Seahawks had already paid lineman Walter Jones more than what was offered to Hutchinson, their choice was to match and pay a boatload of guaranteed money to Hutchinson, or relenquish him to the Vikings, who would take Hutchinson as the highest paid lineman on the Vikings. They chose the latter...then got even by offering the Vikings' transitioned player, Nate Burleson, a contract that would become guaranteed if Burleson played more than four games in one season in the state of Minnesota, which would be unavoidable for the Vikings but easily avoidable by the Seahawks. After this war, the NFL closed the loophole and forbid wording any contract in such a way that the transitioning team would be more inconvenienced by the contract than the offering team.
  • Psychics, mediums, and other such frauds use a technique known as 'multiple outs' where they phrase their statements in such a way that they can be made to seem accurate no matter how the sitter responds.note  For example:
    • Turn a question about the past into a prediction for the future ("Does the name Bob mean anything to you? No? It will")
    • Phrase the question so it's ambiguous whether you're making or discounting a claim ("You don't have a blue car, do you? No? I thought not/Yes? I thought so")
    • Turn a literal statement into a metaphor ("Is it your father? No? But he was like a father to you, wasn't he?")
  • Polls are notorious for asking questions in such a way that your true intention can be twisted to the opposite, and thus giving the poll the data they wanted, justifying the existence of Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics as a trope.
  • Any well-designed, successfully-executed scientific experiment should teach you something of value, whether it winds up supporting its underlying hypothesis or disproving it. For example, when asked about the failed experiments to develop a light bulb, Thomas Edison stated that he didn't fail, he discovered 200 ways to NOT design a light bulb. This is a rare type of Xanatos Gambit that is totally honest and above-board.
  • Attempted by Josef Stalin, according to a French biography of the dictator. The author explains that in 1939-1940 Stalin viewed the conflict between Germany and the French-British alliance (in which he was officially neutral - but the reality was more complicated) as a gift for the USSR, since whichever was the victor would be too weakened by a long war to turn against the USSR. This plan happened to be a huge failure when Germany overwhelmingly crushed France and repelled Great Britain from continental Europe in a few weeks, keeping most of its military potential.
  • In game theory, this is known as a dominant strategy, a strategy by one player that yields the best possible outcome regardless of what the other player(s) do. If there really is no way to counter it, it's a Game-Breaker — after all, if your choices are "play the dominant strategy" or "lose", it's not really a game, is it?
    • The Minimax algorithm is designed to produce results like this, by picking the strategy that ensures that no matter what the opponent does, the current player will either get some benefit or the loss won't be as bad as it could have been (minimizing the maximum loss). The tricky part is determining what the dominant strategy is, and (for a Game AI) doing it fast enough that the human on the other end doesn't get bored and stop playing while the AI is plotting their next move.
  • President Barack Obama and the American Democratic Party pulled one during the 2010 lame duck Congress. At the time, a major issue up for vote was renewing the Bush tax cuts, which Democrats wanted to let expire, and Republicans wanted to renew. After a lot of wrangling, a deal was worked out where the Democrats voted to extend the tax cuts for another two years, in return for the Republicans giving way on several other issues, including the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", allowing Obama to get a lot of other things done. Had the Republicans refused the deal, the tax cuts would have expired, and Obama would still have won. Even more cleverly, the extension was only for two years, putting Obama in a position to do the same thing again in 2012...
  • When comedienne Lisa Lampanelli heard that the Westboro Baptist Church planned to protest her show, she pledged to donate $1,000 to the Gay Men's Health Center for each protester that showed up. So the WBC could either cancel the protest or cause money to be donated to gay people. She ended up donating $50,000.
  • When a branch of the Ku Klux Klan volunteered to adopt a stretch of highway in Missouri for litter pickup, the authorities tried to block them, but the courts ruled that to do was discriminatory. In response, they renamed road "Rosa Parks Highway" after a major African-American civil rights figure. If the group kept the road clean, then they'd be symbolically serving the legacy of racial equality. If they rejected the road, or failed to keep it clean, then there would be grounds to drop them from the program.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin pulled a clever one during the building possibility that the United States was going to take military action against Syria for a possible chemical weapons attack in the fall of 2013. After Secretary of State John Kerry sarcastically claimed that it would take Syrian leader Assad giving up his chemical weapons to the United Nations to avoid an attack, Putin jumped at the statement and motioned for a deal with the Syrian leader to do just that. After overwhelming opposition for a possible military action by the American people and people around the world, Putin wins all around; he makes himself look like a peacemaker who averted a war, and at the same time, he keeps his long standing partnerships with Syria and other allies in the Middle East which would have been threatened if a military attack had happened.
  • Jack Thompson thought he had done this when he said that he would donate $10,000 to a charity of Paul Eibeler's choosing on the condition that a video game be created in which the player mows down members of the video game industry. His reasoning was thus: if such a game were made, then it would prove his point about video games being nothing more than violent Murder Simulators, while if the game is not made, then he could say that gamers care more about their own reputations than about the needy. It backfired on him when such a game was made, but he refused to give the money to the charity because of a technicality. Which was promptly sidestepped by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik, the creators of Penny Arcade and founders of Child's Play, a charity dedicated to donating toys and games to children's hospitals, who stepped in to donate the ten grand themselves on his behalf. Thompson's attempts to have Seattle Police Department and the FBI investigate Jerry and Mike on shaky grounds afterwards didn't accomplish anything, besides perhaps making him look even more like a tremendous fool.
  • In 2011, Disney and Sony announced a deal that would see Disney give up their percentage of the gross on future Spider-Man films in exchange for Sony giving up their percentage of the gross on future Spider-Man merchandise. At the time it was seen as an incredibly stupid move on Disney's part (given how lucrative the film series had been up to that point), but it ended up turning out like this - if the new Spider-Man film series was a hit, then Disney would make a ton of money off of merchandising; if it flopped, then Sony had no merchandise money to bail them out and Disney would have a huge bargaining chip when it came time to renegotiate the contract. Apparently Sony executives didn't see this coming: when the company's emails were hacked and leaked in December of 2014, it was not only revealed that Sony was losing money on the new Spider-Man films, but also that Sony's chief Amy Pascal (who made the deal) had no idea just how much money Disney was making on Spider-Man merchandise regardless of how well the movies did, and was pretty shocked when she found out.
  • Southern Democrat Howard W. Smith, a politician who was a leader of the "Conservative Coalition", pulled this on the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Smith was basically a white supremacist and considered an "archconservative" by other members of Congress, but broke with other traditional Southern Democrats on the issue of women's rights, which he supported. So when the Civil Rights Act came to his desk he added sex as a protected category in the bill at a time when many people were opposed to women's rights. If the bill failed due to his added provision then he would succeed in maintaining segregation but if the bill passed then he would instead succeed in getting protection for women. It passed.
    • There were three additional aspects to it as well - because Republicans supported women's rights, they couldn't very well vote against the amendment to the bill, because that would make them look bad and lose them support amongst women, so they had to allow it to be added to the bill. Likewise, Northern Democrats who opposed equal rights for women but who supported equal rights for blacks would be embarrassed if they didn't vote for the final bill, because then they would be voting against equal rights for blacks. And he could get it into the bill by presenting it as if it was a poison pill to his fellow Southern Democrats, a means of preventing the bill from being passed; as such, between the Republicans and the Southern Democrats, he managed to get the amendment into the bill, and between the Northern Democrats and the Republicans, the bill could be passed.
    • For his own part, Smith claimed that the amendment was offered in good faith and that his goal was to protect white women, because otherwise colored women would have more protection than white women did. All told, a very shrewd ploy indeed.
  • In campaign finance, it is very common for some large entities to donate to all politicians running in a particular race, so that no matter who wins, they have an "in."
  • The Wunsiedel's inhabitants didn't really like those neo-Nazis in their town.
  • The consolidation of British control over South Africa (and its lucrative diamond resources) began with a number of actions on the part of High Commissioner Sir Henry Bartle Frere to either cripple the Zulu Kingdom's power or force them to start a war the British government didn't want to be seen starting, culminating with an ultimatum to which he knew the Zulu king Cetshwayo would not agree.
  • During the Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King would select cities known for their bullying racist authorities. That way, if they tried cracking down on peaceful protesters, King would be able to have national TV news coverage of this brutality to gain political support for the cause. However, while it would not help as much politically, if the authorities backed off and caused no trouble, then at least the protesters would be safe and King could praise the authorities for being reasonable and advanced in their thinking and thus give a political incentive for them to listen to his movement's demands.
  • The Ellen Pao debacle on Reddit. Ellen Pao was forced out of her job as CEO by the board in July 2015 following a controvery over the dismissal of "Victoria", an important liason between the website's community moderators and the staff of Reddit itself. While Pao publicly admitted the fault of administrators in the relationship to the moderators, Pao herself had since the beginning of her tenure as CEO been the target of much thinly-veiled racist and sexist hatred from many members of the Reddit community. Pao was already a known controversial figure at the time of her hiring for suing her former Silicon Valley employer for sex discrimination. Pao also was suffered renewed focus after the banning of the subreddit /r/fatpeoplehate, which administrators claimed was banned for encouraging hateful acts in the real world, rather than just hateful expression in the subreddit. To her critics, this was evidence that Pao was intent on cleansing Reddit of all disagreeable opinions in favor of turning Reddit into a politically correct safe-space where free speech was discouraged, instead of the "bastion of free speech" that its original creators intended. Pao was fired after intense calls for her resignation. Yishan Wong, a previous CEO, revealed after her firing that Pao was hired in part specifically for the purpose of immunizing the site against claims that it supported racist, sexist or otherwise hateful speech because of her reputation, but that Pao was the lone member of the board who OPPOSED the banning of hateful/distasteful subreddits. The rest of the board who supposedly believed in the "bastion of free speech" were actually in private constantly pressuring her to purge hateful speech on the site- pressure that she refused except in extreme cases such as /r/fatpeoplehate. In fact, Wong stated, the earlier policy of reddit's management had been to ban anything racist, sexist, or homophobic, but as the community grew, the management became unsure if this was the best policy. Ellen Pao was hired in part to manage this issue. However, with the firing of Ellen Pao, the secret champion of the "bastion of free speech" model, the new CEO planned to purge the site of hateful communities, just as the rest of the management board had always wanted. In other words, had Ellen Pao remained as CEO, the site could withstand any criticisms that the site existed to promote racism, sexism, or other hatred by Ellen Pao's reputation alone. But the hateful members of the community created such pressure through their irrational hatred for her that they unwittingly destroyed their own champion, allowing the management to purge the site of hateful groups as it always desired. Well played, Reddit management...well played.
    • Wong also suggested earlier that even this plan was part of a larger plan hatched by the Reddit board to wrest control of the company away from Conde Nast, its former majority shareholder. The company was acquired several years prior, but it became immediately to Reddit's original management that Conde Nast's management was inappropriate for the social media site. The site's creators then formed a plan to "recruit[] a young up-and-coming technology manager with social media credentials" (i.e., Ellen Pao), rejecting all other candidates. This manager would then only take the position on the condition that Conde Naste dilute its ownership; the manager was instated with the goal of raising funding outside of Conde Nast, to further dilute the parent company's ownership. After it was sufficiently diluted, the plan was to manufacture a series of "otherwise improbable leadership crises" (e.g., the banning of /r/fatpeoplehate, firing Victoria) so that the board would have justification to demand the ouster of this new manager. Now that Conde Naste was relegated to a minority role, the original managers of Reddit could use their renewed board influence to re-instate Reddit's founders into primary leadership positions. Had this failed, the site would have still retained all other advantages of Ellen Pao's leadership, including dilution of Conde Nast ownership and control, and immunization from anti-hate attacks.
  • Burger King's McWhopper proposition to McDonald's for International Peace Day can easily be considered this. Either McDonald's accepted, earning both (but especially Burger King) a lot of free publicity for the event by putting aside their differences to create a match practically made in burger heaven, or (as what happened) McDonald's rejected the offer, coming off as grumpy and arrogant while other companies gladly jump at the chance to take McDonald's place for a chance at publicity by putting aside differences to make a different but equally epic Peace Day Burger for International Peace Day.
  • Vox Day, who claims to be aka Theodore Beale, claims to pulling one of these (by name) with the 2015 Hugo Award. He claims that the "Sad Puppy" movement, which claims that authors at the awards show are treated differently based on their political beliefs, got enough voting members of the Hugos to affect the vote outcomes. Further, he claims the Puppies win no matter what happens: either their votes are honored, and the titles he claimed to be "more worthy" titles win over what he would claim to consider consider award show bait, or else the show refuses to honor the votes, which he says would show the ceremony to be a sham. Naturally, when he claimed that the Hugo Awards chose "No Award" in various categories, he declared victory or so he claimed.
  • Airlines have gotten in the business of either teaming up with or buying shares in High Speed Rail operators. If the high speed rail operator fails, that means more business for the airline. If the high speed rail operator succeeds, that means its shareholders and business partners profit. Some airlines also enter into alliances with high speed rail operators, because short flights are becoming less and less profitable and having trains as your "feeder flights" makes a lot of economic sense. In the United Kingdom, bus companies have done the same, buying franchises for different "Train Operating Companies".
  • The Canadian company Bombardier has a very diverse portfolio of things on offer (they started out as a snowmobile company), but their two most high profile products are regional jets and high speed trains. No matter what the secretary of transportation of any given country does - Bombardier can sell them the goods. Build a new rail line - Bombardier sells the train. Don't build a new rail line, people will continue to fly and Bombardier will sell the planes. However, this has not kept Bombardier from sometimes losing contracts - both trains and planes are made by other companies as well.
  • The Turnip Day Session. In 1948 the Republican National Convention passed a Platform containing a lot of progressive policies the Congressional Republican leadership opposed, but which Democratic President Harry Truman supported. At the Democratic convention, Truman responded by calling a special session of Congress for "Turnip Day" (July 26th) to put this progressive legislation to a vote. Either the Republicans could follow the Platform, in which case Truman had the legislation he wanted (and could hopefully claim credit) or they could do what they did do, and do nothing, thereby making their party look two-faced and strengthen Truman's election campaign focus on "the Do-Nothing Congress".
  • During the 2008 Presidential Election in the US, one restaurant set out two tip jars, one with Barack Obama's face, and the other with John McCain's. At the end of each day, they'd announce who had "won" this ad hoc poll, causing partisans to tip heavily to tip the scales for their preferred candidate. No matter which candidate won on any given day, the restaurant saw a sizeable increase in tips.
  • A Dutch Book is a strategy that is employed by people who accept bets. The idea is to have bets with total odds that are greater than one. This means that if the bookie can get one person to accept each bet they will never have to pay out more than they took in from the gamblers. Critically the individual bets appear to be fair since paying out in accordance with the odds. Its only when you can see all of the bets and the odds given that the Dutch Book is apparent.
  • Milo Yiannopoulos, and alt-right professional trolls like him, like to apply to speak at events on college campuses, knowing that their views are a fringe minority which is strongly opposed by most college students. Either the students protest them and get the administration to change its mind, thereby giving Yiannopoulos free publicity and letting him claim his opponents are SJWs who must resort to silencing him because they have no legitimate arguments against him, or the students donít protest and he is able to propagate his extremist views unimpeded. Either way, he is able to spread his beliefs while making his opponents look foolish and irrational. And that is all which shall be said.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/XanatosGambit/RealLife