Here are my 10 tips to a good football office pool:
1. Pick a format that suits your participants.
There are many different types of pools out there from Survivor pools to Confidence pools. You need to be able to pick the pool that best fits your participants. If your participants don't have a lot of time or don't want to pay attention to all the teams then you probably want to stay away from a pick'em pool. If your participants want an easy pool to play then a Survivor pool works well. You have to be careful with a Survivor pool though because players will get knocked out early and lose interest. So pick the format that is going to appeal to the majority of your participants. Go to the "Football Pool" tab for different formats.
2. Track your pool using a website or spreadsheet
As the commissioner of an office pool, one of the most difficult tasks is trying to keep track of the data. There are many websites out there that specialize in tracking your pool:
If you want a little more control and don't want to use a website then just use a simple spreadsheet. Here is one that is FREE to use:
3. Give out the rules BEFORE the season
Write out all the rules and make sure everyone gets a copy. This will save you on having to answer questions and will resolve many disputes.
4. Make sure to have tiebreaker procedure set up
The tiebreaker in Survivor and Pick'em pool happen more than you think. Be prepared with how you plan to break ties. Total score of the Monday night game is the most popular option. I will post a list of some other options in an upcoming post.
5. Have participants pay BEFORE the season starts
This is a must. Every year I try to allow people to pay after the season so that money does not have to change hands and each year I have people upset. I got tired of constant reminders to pay and trying to get one participant to pay another just doesn't work. Therefore get the money up front and then YOU pay out to the winners.
6. Use Paypal or League Safe
Since you are going to be getting the money up front and have to keep it safe, I suggest using Paypal or League Safe. Since everyone has an email Paypal is very simple to use and easy to pay people with. League Safe's only draw back is that it requires E-Checks. Get the money up front using one of these services, it will save a lot of hassle.
7. Create a message board
Not only are message boards great ways to communicate with your participants they also allow a little trash talking. Healthy trash talking is great for a league and makes it that much more fun. Many sites have message boards that you can use or you can just use Facebook or some other social networking site.
Make sure to be fair and communicate your expectations. Make sure every participant is on the same page and understands the rules. If a dispute comes up put it to a vote and communicate the reason for your decision.
9. Send out a reminder email.
Many people get so busy that they will forget to make their picks therefore I like to help out my participants by sending out an email reminding them of the upcoming deadline. This is just a common courtesy. Now if your league is ultra competitive then "you snooze you lose".
10. Be innovative
Don't be afraid to try different things with your pools. I am always trying to make my pools better. This year we are going to allow participants to pick a "lock of the week" that will be worth more points if correct (they lose points if incorrect). This will add a little strategy and will keep things fresh. We are also tinkering with have partners. The point being, don't be afraid to try new rules and ideas because you never know what will be a hit.
If you follow these ten guidelines you should have a great NFL office pool experience.
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