Issue # 25.6 “25 Years: The Prizes”


Wednesday, April 22, 2020  **HAPPY 50th EARTH DAY**
[ 1-Entries | 2-Teams  | 3-Confs  | 4-Charities  | 5-Payments ]

Bob G is all-time earner with $1,120  but Robinson C and Darryn B are only two-time champs

The Winners

SAFER-AT-HOME W/REQUIRED FACE COVERING, CA (smt)- While a lot of American citizens will receive up to $1200 from the Federal government (and the rich getting some as well), a good number of us middle class folks won’t, and so we hope to win in the pool (not this year though).  While our largest pot was $1780, what was the largest prize an individual could win?  So here is another 25 Year retrospective, this time on the various HWCI NCAA prizes.

Prize Distribution

As stated in the last issue, 100% of each entry fee (including ours) goes into prizes.  Always has, always will.  So if there are 100 entries, then there will be $1,000 doled out.  I started doing an update on prizes but started getting into how intricate the payments worked and when I was done, wrote more than 1,900 words, so this was split up (Payments and Prizes).  So we’ve had 2,365 total entries over 25 years which means we have doled out $23,650 ($940.60 avg). 

While we started off with just 3 prizes in ’95 (1st/2nd/3rd) we have expanded over the years to as many as 8 prizes in ’17 (1st-7th, Bonus).  We added a 4th place prize in ’98 if we got 25 or more entries and Scott H (1 year/1 entry, 1 prize/$20 total winnings) won the first 4th place prize ($20).  We added a $40 Bonus Prize in ’03 and Scott T (25/42, 5/$630) won the first Bonus.  We added a 5th place prize in ’08 if we got 100 or more entries and Jeff H (16/16, 3/$340) won the first 5th place prize ($60).  We added a 6th place prize in ’11 if we got 125 or more entries and Charles D (1 0/28, 1/$60) won the first 4th place prize ($60) with his 2nd entry.   We added a 7th place prize in ’17 if we got 165 or more but have only hit that once (’17).  Alex K (3/4, 1/$60) won the first 7th place prize ($60).

We never thought the pool would be as big as it today which is why the 5th place prize never really crossed our minds until we hit the magic 100 entry milestone.  So while there were 75 entries in between 4th and 5th (25:100), we quickly added another prize 25 entries later (100:125).  When we jumped 29 entries from 149 to 178, it was so big that another prize seemed warranted, though we were hesitant.  But we decided to add the 7th place prize to get the top 7 prizes back up to over 4% of the total entries (7/165 4.2%).  We may not add an 8th until we hit 200 (8/200 4%) but we shall see.  We have dipped below that 165 entry mark for the last two years.  That “4%” has been keeping an average of 75% of the entries still alive after the first weekend which is good.  We don’t want too few top prize spots that too many entries are eliminated and skip the Sweet 16 but we want some stress and mortality.  We do have outliers such as the upset-heavy ’18 pool where 51.9% of the 156 entries were eliminated (’cause a lot of favorites lost including #1 Virginia losing to #16 UMBC) and the mostly chalk ’09 pool where just 7.0% of the 114 entries were eliminated.

There have been 136 total prizes won by 96 different entries (88 people).  A quite healthy 24.1% (88/365) of all people have won something which I’m quite proud of because I like spreading the wealth and no one person has dominated.  Each person is allowed to enter up to 3 times.  Scott T has won the most times with 5 prizes ($630) including winning the pool in ’02.  He has submitted 42 total entries over 25 years.  His first entry has won 4 times (25 yrs, 4/$540), tying David F (25/26, 4/$490) for the most wins for an entry.  Including Scott T, a total of 7 people have won on at least two different entries.  Eric F is the only person to win on 3 different entries (1st entry in ’14, 2nd in ’17, and 3rd in ’19; 9/15, 3/$620).  Blakely H (10/28, 2/$315) is the only person to win on his/her 3rd entry twice.  Mike W (4/12, 1/$170) and Ron E (12/28, 1/$320) are the only others to win on his/her 3rd entry.  Dual and triple entries are quite common but no one has won a prize twice in the same year.  Yet.

Twenty-three (23) people have won in their very first pool, including the first 3 winners in our first pool.  9 of those just played in one pool.  The last first-pool winners were in ’18 when Janette H (1/1, 1/$220) and Billy T (2/2, 1/$165) won 3rd and 4th, respectively.  Except for our first year and in ’18, the only other times we had at least 2 first-time winners in the same year was ’96 (3), ’98, ’99, and ’02.  There have only been 3 other first-pool winners (besides ’18) in the last decade (Nicholas S ’12 (8/12, 2/$210), Randy E ’14 (5/15, 1/$195), and Mike W ’15).  Janette H has won the most money in his/her first try ($220) but Jason S in ’96(6/6, 2/$145), Anna C in ’98 (1/1, 1/$150), and Lisa F in ’99 (4/4, 2/$330) all won the pool in their first try (excepting our first year when everyone was a first-timer and Fernando B (21/23, 2/$100) won).

Three times every winner was a first-time winner but the last time it happened was in ’05 with the others being our first two pools (’95, ’96).  Four times every winner was a repeat winner but the last time that happened was in ’08 (the other three times were in ’97, ’06, and ’07).  In ’95, our first three prizes was just $70, $30, and $20.   In ’15, the 6th place prize was $80 which was more than the 1st place prize in ’95.

It took Vi P 19 tries to win her first prize in ’19 (19/19, 1/$40), Man V 17 tries to win his first prize in ’15 (20/20, 1/$125), Rob C (16/17, 1/$170) 16 tries to win his first prize in ’19, and Andy F (22/22, 3/$297.50) 15 tries before winning in ’12.  Of those who have won, Gareth M (20/22, 1/$60) has not won in 19 years (last in ’99), Scott T has not won in 16 years (’03), and Quang P (13/13, 1/$100) and Robby D (15/15, 1/$40) have not won in 11 years (last in ’03 and ’05, respectively). 

2019 Tiebreakers

Last year we had our first-ever tiebreaker for 1st place with Tom J (7/11, 1/$645) edging Carl S (5/7, 1/$330) with the lower total points in final point differential (PD) of 22 points (vs 27).  The overtime where 26 points were scored cost Carl S $315.  We also had a tie for 3rd and 6th (leaving 2 people with nothing) that was broken via the tiebreaker.  3 tiebreakers for the top money spots.  Four (of 7 prizes) if you include the Bonus, which Vi P won that tiebreaker.  That is the most tiebreakers used to break money spot ties ever (we had 3 in ’08 (6 prizes) breaking up ties for 2nd, 4th, and Bonus).  The total points in final tiebreaker was instituted in ’96 to minimize split prizes.  We have had two ties however.  In ’12, Andy F and Megan J (3/3, 1/$32.50) were tied for the last money spot for 6th place but couldn’t let one go home with nothing, so they tied as both were off by 10 points.  It’s also the only split in the cents range as each got 32 dollars and 50 cents and the first time we had 8 money spots.  In ’15, both Jonathon P (6/6, 1/$20) and Nicholas S (8/12, 2/$210) had the ACC with 17 wins and both were off the total points in final by a point to split the Bonus.  Each won $20 which was our lowest payout since ’98 when Scott H won the first 4th place prize worth $20 at the time (in ’95 we paid out $20 for 3rd place).

Our largest single payout was $690 in ’17 won by Greg Z (6/9, 1/$690) when we had a record 178 entries.  While we tried to keep the top payout under a mythical $600, it broke through that barrier in ’15 when $640 was won by Darryn B (18/26, 2/$920) who became our second 2-time pool champion (’03).  The first two-time winner was Robinson C (19/54, 3/$805) winning on his first entry in ’01 and his second entry in ’05.  But our all-time prize money leader is Bob G (21/36, 3/$1,120) who finished 2nd in ’08 ($220), 2nd in 12 ($280), and won the pool in ’18 ($620).

The average money per money slot is $161.85 (23,650/136) with ’19 averaging a high of $231.43 per winner (7 winners) and our first pool in ’95 averaging the lowest ($40 (3 winners)).  The past 5 years have averaged more than $200 per winner. 

Prize Slots

   Tids & Bits – …the years referenced refer to the NCAA tournament year (e.g., 1995-96 season is ’96)… the 2,365 entries have been submitted by 1,868 people… the 94.6 avg entries per year have been submitted by an average of 74.7 people per year… 11 people have won prizes 3 times… 33 people have won at least two prizes… no one has won at least twice on 2 or 3 different entries… no one won the Bonus in ’05 and ’06 as no one got the Winningest Conference correct (and had to redistribute the $40 back to the top 4 prizes which was a pain) so we added a Bonus2 competition (total points in final) if no one got the Winningest Conference, ensuring someone wins the Bonus every year… because multiple entries doesn’t help you that much, only 19.5% of all entries have won a prize (96/493)… the closest finishes with nearly a person winning twice was in ’13 when Blakeley H finished 2nd and 9th (2 points off 6th place money spot), ’18 when Ron E finished 2nd and 8th (three points off the 6th)… Scott T has lost a 6th place prize tiebreaker (’16), lost a 5th place prize tiebreaker (’10), and finished 4th in ’95, each time finishing one off the money spot and netting a nutmeg… Gareth M was the first person to win money despite not picking the correct champion (UConn) (’97 and ’98 don’t count since no one picked the correct champion) (’99)… Fernando B was the first person to pick the correct champion (Syracuse) and finish out of the money by those winners who didn’t pick the correct champion (5th in ’03)… we have had 8 payouts three times (’12 1st-5th, two 6th, Bonus; ’15 1st-6th, two Bonus; and ’17 1st-7th, Bonus)… the top payout reached $100 in ’96 ($110), $200 in ’01 ($280), $300 and $400 in ’02 ($400), and $500 in ’16 ($500)… the first tiebreaker for a money spot was in ’98 when Scott H edged Mike B for the last money spot of 4th (PD of 1 vs 11)… we also look at adding an 8th place money spot when it makes sense to make it $60 (as our first 5th, 6th, and 7th place prizes were) because it has to be more than the Bonus… when we had this naive notion of keeping the individual prize under $600, there were some initial thoughts of adding another $40 Bonus, possibly an upset-weighted (where UMBC’s upset would have net you 32 points (2 pts x 16 seed) vs the normal 2 (2 pts x 1 seed) if Virginia would have won) 1st weekend contest using the same bracket entry… in ’02 the 4th place prize matched the 1st place prize in ’95 while in ’09 the 5th place prize matched it… 5 of the 7 ’19 winners were 1st time winners… if you excluded the Bonus winners, then 27 (instead of 33) have won multiple times and 79 (instead of 88) have won one of the top prizes… the first time we hit $200 per winner was in ’02 (exactly $200.00 (800/4)) and have hit that 8 times (’02, ’05, ’06, ’15-’19)… with more tests available (4.47 million tested), USA is up to 840,897  confirmed COVID-19 cases with 46,640 deaths as governors plan to slowly re-open… Stay safe!

The good news is 2020 won’t be the 17th straight year I win nothing… that will have to wait until 2021…

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