So You Want To Run A March Madness Bracket Pool?


So You Want To Run A March Madness Bracket Pool?

March Madness is weeks’ worth of certified chaos. There are Cinderella stories, early top-seed washouts and team-centric storylines that make the event one of the highlights on the sports calendar.

To truly enjoy March Madness, however, many Georgia residents feel they must participate in a bracket pool – and sometimes that means taking it upon yourself to run it.

Never run a March Madness bracket before? No worries – PlayGeorgia has you covered with steps to get started, along with some additional twists to add more intrigue.

At the moment, March Madness 2023 bracket pools are the best betting options for Georgians. With the likely failure of legalizing online sports betting in Georgia in this year’s legislative session, Georgians will have to wait until at least next year to see any possible gambling expansion.

Rally the troops

Successful bracket pools require strong participation, so before even heading to your platform of choice to create your pool, make sure you have enough interested players.

Reach out to potential participants to see whether they’re interested in joining your pool – group chats, office email listservs and Twitter followers make good participant pools to draw from. Motivational insults might serve you well in this case to convince any of your buddies who are on the fence.

Once you have your desired number of players, confirm and let the group know they’ll receive an email notification to begin filling out their March Madness bracket.

Choose your platform

There’s a bevy of March Madness bracket platforms, with different features and interfaces. Choose the one you feel suits your group best – or one you’re most comfortable with. After setting up your account, create the pool group. ESPN, CBS, Yahoo and Fox Sports are the more popular options.

You can also go the old-fashioned and more time-consuming route of having your friends print their own bracket, fill it out, take a picture and send it to you in a text. If you’re comfortable dissecting the inevitable chicken scratch you will receive, you can get around creating yet another website login you’re bound to forget in a month. This approach will probably annoy some of your tech-savvy friends but please the older players who still write down all their email accounts on a legal pad.

Decide on an entry fee

This is pure preference, but many March Madness pools involve entry fees and payouts to the winner. Discuss appropriate entry fees with the group of players and create a deadline to collect them. Be clear on the payment method – cash in person or digital. Make sure that your entry fee makes sense with the number of players you have in the bracket pool. If you have a small group, a higher entry fee would ensure the winner gets a decent payout.

Bottom line, though: this should be discussed and agreed upon upfront and in advance of the NCAA tournament starting. The last thing you want is for players to bail due to an entry fee dispute.

Again, be prepared for the less tech-savvy to struggle with digital cash transfer apps, and be ready to place a few phone calls to help them set up accounts.

Settle on scoring

The standard scoring method increases points per game as the rounds advance. For example:

In the opening round of 64 teams, one point would be awarded for each correct game picked. For the second round of games, players who pick the winning team would receive two points – and so on, and so forth.

Some brackets award the same point value throughout, but this is a mistake as it does not privilege the difficulty of picking consecutive correct winners.

The national championship game should be the deciding game for your bracket pool, so allot it the appropriate point value. When using the double-points-by-round scoring method, the national championship would be worth 16 points.

Some bracket pools over-inflate the national championship game value, guaranteeing that picking the national champion is required to win the contest. This should be avoided.

Get your bracket in before the first tip

For online bracket pools, participants must submit their final entry before the tip-off of the first game Thursday.

Some bracket pool runners now award points for the First Four games. This can put a time crunch on your participants who get their brackets on Sunday and have two days to complete them.

Bracketology doesn’t reward the slackers and forgetful. Make sure you’ve got your completed bracket in before the official start of March Madness, whether that’s the First Four round or the first round.

Added intrigue

Along with any potential winnings, adding some creative props and stakes to your bracket pool can make a great time even better. Here’s a list of a few to consider:

  • Enhanced points for biggest upset: reward risky pool players by adding higher point value for upsets picked.
  • Penalty payout for lowest score: add higher monetary stakes for the player with the lowest total score at the end of the tournament.
  • Cinderella Final Four: should a participant succeed in sending a 12-seed or lower to the Final Four, award bonus points for the round.
  • Home cookin’: This is PlayGeorgia, after all, and with only one team from the state in the tournament, reward players with an extra point on picks for Kennesaw State.

The First Four games of the NCAA tournament begin Tuesday night, with play-ins for the final four spots in the official March Madness bracket. You still have time to put the calls out to interested parties to participate in a pool. It is the only way to fully enjoy the beautiful chaos that is March Madness.