It was my first week in the office as a new commodities broker in Sugar Land, Texas. I showed up in
my grandpa’s a gray suit and was met with “I didn’t know they made suits that big” the second I stepped on the trade floor. The guy that interviewed me came up to me and whispered condescendingly, “Never wear that again if you want to make it here.”
Alright, sweet, an office where physical appearance doesn’t matter- score! However, I had already made a dorky impression with these brokers in an industry where it’s your job to make people like you and want to do business with you. I sat in my chair wondering how I can win these guys over to quickly climb the corporate ladder. Aha! These guys seem like degenerates…GAMBLING… let’s see if I can throw something together in Excel and get them gambling.
It just so happened to be World Cup time and I have this betting pool which quickly got everyone on board. Sweet! I’m no longer over-sized, suit wearing, new kid… I’m the gambling kid. Let’s dive in to what a parimutuel style pool is and why it is awesome.
Using the world cup as an example (this also works well with sporting events with fields in them like golf and tennis majors) you have a list of all 32 teams competing. I usually recommend a $20 entry fee to boost the pot. Then, you place a bet on which team you think will win the whole tournament. I recommend a minimum of $5 bet per team/player and NO maximum bet. You can bet on as many or as few teams as you’d like. It is a blind betting system so what makes it fun is that you don’t know what or who or how much everyone else is betting on. Then you collect all of the entries and there is no more betting once the event starts. Once a winner is determined, whoever bet on the winning team gets paid an amount proportionate to the amount of money the bet on the team compared to everyone else. No second place, no third place, you only win money if you bet on the team/player that wins the whole tournament.
|-2 people in the pool – Pool size starts at $40.|
|-Person A bets $10 on Brazil and $5 on Spain — he pays $35 total to enter ($20 fee + individual bets)|
|-Person B bets $25 on Brazil and $10 on USA — he pays $55 total ($20 fee + individual bets)|
|-There are no other bets in the pool at all – for example’s sake– total pool is $90 ($40 entry fees and $50 placed on individual teams)|
|-Brazil Wins– there is a total of $35 bet on Brazil|
|-Person A gets 10/35 (or 2/7 of the pot- $25.71) while Person B gets 25/35 (or 5/7 of the pot-$64.29)|
Fighting through tons of skepticism and snarky looks, I managed to get $1500 in the pool and all of a sudden, everyone was interested in not only the game, but me as well. These guys would come up to me asking their payouts and checking in on how everyone else was doing- it was wonderful. Fast forward four years and I ran my second parimutuel office pool this year. We have a clear example of why this pool can be fun from the final results in 2018– here are the remaining possible outcomes of this year’s pool:
I managed to build the pool to $2,800 this year. You will notice that some of the favorites will attract bets from a lot of people (France in this year’s case). However, the returns might not be as satisfying as people once thought, as a $5 bet on nets you $42– their full entries could have had $100 of total bets on it thus they will be losing money even though they could pick the right winner. The glory comes from tossing money on ‘teenies’ as my industry would call it. Two gents tossed a measly $5 on Croatia this year and were the only two people to bet on them. That means if Croatia wins, they are splitting $2,800 for a cool $1,400 each! Insane.
That’s all for today, feel free to comment with any questions about the pool or how it runs and I’ll be glad to answer.
Tell your mom you love her,