You don’t have to know anything about sports to run a Super Bowl pool, you don’t even have to like sports – but you do have to know about running things.
THE POOL ORGANIZER
Somebody has to take charge and be in charge throughout. Your duties as organizer involve: choosing a pool that you think will excite your fellow workers; deciding before hand how many participants you will need; establishing a suitable entry fee for the pool; deciding where to stash the fees, which later will be returned as prize money to the winner(s); deciding when to hold the pool and where to hold it; coordinating and distributing any necessary written background materials to the participants; coordinating and distributing all pool scoring updates where applicable; jazzing up the festivities to make it memorable; cleaning up any messes made; and finally, arranging for a ceremony for the winner.
Let’s take a look at these responsibilities and duties step by step.
First and foremost you need people to have an office pool. If you don’t know anybody you can forget about running one. They are no fun to have all by yourself. Oh sure, you would always win and the paperwork would be at a minimum, but where would the excitement be with only one person in the pool?
So go out and meet some people. Look around the office. Everyone is a potential candidate – especially the people who appear least likely. Whatever you do, don’t discriminate. Get the boss, the secretaries, get everybody in between. Get the sports fans and the non-sports fans. In fact, you will be surprised at just how many people know a lot about sports – even the ones who constantly claim that games are a waste of time.
OK, so you’ve located some people. Now how do you get the ball rolling – especially if you are in a stuffy office?
Whatever you do, don’t just send a memo around. People don’t pay attention to them. If you have never had a pool in your office before you are going to have to walk around to everybody’s desk and get a verbal commitment out of each person.
Explain the rules for your particular pool. I a good online tool to set up a pool based upon the final score of the Super Bowl is www.FreeBlockPool.com. Another good resource to set up the mechanics of a Super Bowl pool is:
No matter what system you use to pick the winner make sure that everyone is clear on it before giving you any money.
Don’t ask your cohorts if they are interested in being in a pool, don’t try to explain what a pool is to the first-timers – just inform everyone that you are having a pool for the Super Bowl, and what the required entry fee is.
You can’t have an office pool without offering a prize to the winner(s), so you must charge each of the participants a nominal fee in order to generate a purse.
But be forewarned. This could be the toughest part of the whole operation. Collecting money from people is invariably a painful, time-consuming, and exhausting experience. (All of the money collected through entry fees is awarded to the winners of the pool.)
So, make sure you collect the money in advance. Demand cold hard cash and don’t let anybody play now and pay later. That may sound harsh, but it will save you a lot of hassles later when you try to collect.
How much money you should charge to join your pool will depend on the type of pool you are having.
With this being a one-shot, Super Bowl pool, you’ll want to make it worth everybody’s time (and money). Go for $5 to $10 per participant.
Keep in mind that unless you are spending $20, $30, $40, or $50 per person in entry fees the money is really going to take a back seat to the whole process. Having a pool is designed to bring people together and not to turn your company into a corporation of gamblers.
So use your head when it comes to choosing your entry fee limits. Remember, the cheaper the fee, the more accessible your pool will be to the largest number of people, which is the point of having the pool in the first place.
WHERE TO KEEP THE MONEY
Now you need a place to put the money until the pool is completed. Here are a few suggestions of what not to do: Don’t put it in your wallet. Don’t take it to the racetrack. Don’t stick it in a sock in your dresser. Don’t hide it under the mattress.
Many enterprising pool organizers will open up a savings account at the bank and withdraw the money as soon as the pool is over. That is considered to be dedication above and beyond the call of duty.
The simplest thing to do is to lock the money in the nearest office cabinet. It ain’t escrow, but it works.
WHERE TO HOLD THE PROCEEDINGS
You don’t want people conspicuously loitering about the halls or the corridors – after all, there are bound to be a few antisocial types who will have refused to join in the pool and you don’t want to give them something to complain about. So gather around somebody’s desk, go into somebody’s office, or if possible book the boardroom. Whether it is for two minutes or 12 hours this adds an air of officialism to the proceedings and keeps you from infringing on the rights of others.
OK, you’re in the boardroom or somebody’s office. The door is locked.
You’re in charge. You’ve got the floor – maybe for the first time in your life – so make the most of it. Put on a show.
If the pool requires you to pick numbers out of a hat, get a real hat. Find a derby or a top hat. Don’t skimp. “Go big or go home.” “Go all the way or don’t go.” (Pick a cliche and live by it.). AND THE WINNER IS . . .