Every couple of years I become consumed with the desire to run a betting pool at the library I work at. I'm in the midst of one now for the Winter Olympics. My free time is gutted for a little while as it's a fair bit of work, and this is why I am telling you about it instead of, well, about anything else.
In fact, I might be telling you about it quite a bit in the days to come.
In the past I have run pools for Curling (in the last Winter Olympics), and for both Men and Womens' World Cups in Soccer. They were fun, but they had a few problems structurally that I am trying to fix this time around.
The previous pools needed subscribers for every team participating, which meant they needed a set number of subscribers. Also, as people drew their team, much of the result was decided right in the luck of their draw, as surely the USA Women's Soccer Team made a person a massive favorite over the person who drew, say, Nigeria.
For these Olympics I am making bespoke teams consisting of five events and contestants for each participant. So a person might have on their team a Women's Curling team, a Russian Skater, an Austrian Skier, German Bobsledders, and a French Snowboarder. It's a one-of-a-kind personal team, and of the 28 I am putting together right now I couldn't say which one has the best chances to win the pool. I am doing my best to even the odds out on all of them. A person may have a favorite, a longshot, and three with a fair shot, or they may have something else entirely, but it will still be roughly equivalent in odds.
The entry fee for the Winter Olympic Pool is $20 and I am trying to balance that differently than just big winners this time too. About half of the pot will pay off in easy wins, so almost everyone will win back something, which hopefully will feel just like winning outright if a person has written off their original twenty. I know I already have. The other half of that twenty goes to the top three jackpot winners, which still should produce a quite fun amount of prize money.
As ever I run to complexity in schemes like this. I have found that people are generally happy to play along, but they aren't keen at anything very convoluted or requiring a great deal of attention. So I am constantly shutting down my complicating and embellishing ideas. Nevertheless I have so many of these fancies that one or two tends to sneak through every rare once in awhile.
But we'll leave that discussion for tomorrow. I still have more teams to assemble. Tonight someone lucky is going to get Kamila Valieva on their team!
Drop me a twenty and you can still play too!