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Participating In Office Gambling Pools

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With the first week of pre-season games this weekend, folks are already preparing for their drafts for many fantasy football leagues. I never became an avid follower of any sport other than professional basketball when I was a kid but after going to school in Pittsburgh, I couldn’t help but become a Pittsburgh Steelers fan and a football fan after five years there. Every year, a bunch of friends and I have had a 100% for fun, fantasy football league (well, absolute loser bought absolute winner a case of decent beer, but everyone else did it for kicks) and this year we’re graduating to straight up $20 buy-in, first place takes 80%, second takes 20%. What we found was that after week 2, the only person who cared about the league was that jerk in first who had Peyton Manning and he couldn’t stop talking about it despite no one else really caring. When you don’t have a horse in the race, you don’t really care about the race. You really don’t care if you don’t even have money on your horse.

Despite what some of my friends might say, I’m not that big on gambling. I like putting small wagers, like $20 for a fantasy football league, playing some poker for $20 buy-in, or throwing $20 into a slot machine; but I honestly don’t really like gambling all that much. I wouldn’t ever do something like put a thousand (or even a hundred) dollars on red because the thought of losing a grand sucks so much more compared to the thought of winning a thousand dollars, to be perfectly honest with you. And it’s not that $20 isn’t that much money, it certainly is, but I’d like to get a little bit more than a spin of the roulette wheel… $20 gets me, hopefully, 17+ weeks of entertainment.

Oh, by the way, for those folks out there who are loathe to put money in a fantasy football or other sports league because you don’t “understand” it, I think you’re more of a degenerate gambler when you put money on when a baby is born. You can’t tell me you “understand” that better. :)

How about you? Do you participate in office gambling pools? What kinds and for how much? I’m really curious what other types of pools are out there and what people’s thoughts are about them and micro-stakes grassroots gambling in general.

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11 Responses to “Participating In Office Gambling Pools”

  1. broknowrchlatr says:

    1) a few NCAA tourney pools at $3-$10 each even though i don’t follow college basketball except March
    2) 2 NFL pick-em’ leagues. everyone puts in $5 each week, 80% goes to the winner of that week, 20% to a total year pot. These are the most fun. Its just $5 a week, there are about 25 people, and I have typically won 1-2 weeks each year for an unexpected bonus of $100 or so.
    3) I almost always bet on the super bowl when I would otherwise not care who won. $10 or $20

    This all adds up to probably $150 or so a year. I have been lucky enought to average returning about twice that. But, even if I went on a rough losign streak and didn’t get anything back for a couple years, it would still be worth the $150.

  2. Jeremy says:

    “Unfortunately” in my current job there are no office pools. Well, I don’t know for certain, but I’m more or less a consultant that has an office at the employer I service. So my co-workers are my clients, which is probably a conflict of interest for office pools :D

    But the last job I had, it was insane. We had a new pool almost every week. We had weekly NFL and college football “squares”, the NCAA b-ball tourney was another huge one, a fantasy league, people would head to the pub after work and bet on any game that was being shown… in fact, we once even had a pool on guessing how much snow the foretasted snowstorm was going to drop :o

    Most of it was for very little money, a few bucks here and there and was more or less a fun way to kill some time, but a few people took it way too seriously.

    The only thing I really do now is a fantasy football draft with some relatives and friends. It is actually a pretty big deal and we have people drive from 200+ miles away to meet at the live draft. And in this one there is money on the line, like $50 to enter, and throughout the year any trades or free agent pickups require money, etc. All said and done the league usually ends up paying out over $1,000 to the top 3 finishers combined. It can be a bit costly if you go hog wild trading, but otherwise $50 for a football season of a lot of fun with the potential to win some decent cash if you’re lucky.

  3. Alex says:

    Wow, I may be a real degenerate. I participate not only Football, but Baseball, Basketball, Hockey and even English Premier League (soccer) leagues ranging from 50 to as much as 500 per team. The biggest league I am in has people that get together from Boston to San Diego that get together once a year to catch up and trash each others picks. It is a great way to stay close to people who are no longer living near you. A bad side effect is I no longer have any team loyalties like I did as kid, now its just players and whichever team I have money riding on.

  4. Beth says:

    The fantasy sports leagues I participate in have no such reward (other than bragging rights), which is good because even sports I know, I always end up picking the guys who get injured, have a bad year, or are against other teams when they have their best week of the year (seriously, a guy in our league did the stats). If I had to put money on it, I don’t think I’d play.

    When my department pitched in for lottery tickets ($5 each), two of us declined from playing. They won some money, but it equalled $3.52 per person. I’d rather not risk the $5.

  5. Brad says:

    I have put money on a March Madness bracket and on an NCAA football pick ‘em, but usually I just prefer to play for pride. I thoroughly enjoy the competition but I don’t enjoy the monetary loss. :-)

  6. plonkee says:

    We have a fantasy football (i.e. soccer) league at work that costs £5. If there is a world cup on we sometimes have a sweepstake on that. There are a number of lottery pools, but I don’t think you’re meaning that.

  7. Patrick says:

    Yeah, I bought into a $20 fantasy baseball league this year. I got addicted to it, and am currently in first place – though there is a good bit of the season left to play. We’ll see where it goes from here. OUrs is a 70-20-10 split, 13 teams. I should at least get my money back, but if not, I don’t mind. The main purpose of the $20 is to keep people honest and interested.

    I will play poker sometimes, but I like to keep my limits around $20 or so. I’m similar to you, I think. I am competitive, but mostly only gamble for fun.

    (and I won’t forget the odd lottery ticket when the pot gets astronomical).

  8. Tim says:

    yeah, i just don’t get office gambling pools. then again, i’m not into the sports. sure i’ll watch occasionally, but i just don’t get having a “favorite” team or the like.

  9. I love the office pools… $20 on red. $8000K on Prosper…

    I like to think that I am a better risk analyzer than most…

    However, I would never quit the day job.

  10. Ben says:

    I agree, the weeks of entertainment and networking you do with a $20-30 buy-in to a fantasy football league at work are well worth the money.

  11. Tim says:

    um Ben, can’t you get the week’s worth of entertainment and networking without the $20-$30 buy in? or are non betters prohibited from watching the games, socializing, or tracking the action?

    i’d rather people focus half the amount of energy the expend during the week on actually working, but that is just me.


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