Stanley Cup Playoffs Start Soon, FREE Hockey Playoffs Pool Now Open

This year marks the ninth consecutive year of our Hockey Playoffs Pool, celebrating the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and also known as therapy-distraction for Toronto Maple Leafs fans who otherwise didn’t have a team to cheer for (most years, and officially this year again as of last night).

It was a tough call whether to re-up the pool for another year because of a few competing issues. First, I’m doing a fair bit of travelling the next few weeks, which could limit my ability to update the pool in a timely fashion.

Second, thanks to the smashing success of our March Madness Survivor pools, our payment provider is no longer an option to collect your entry fees. That’s a downer.

We’ve been doing this for nine years without issue, and now they don’t want to service us any more. No worries about the March Madness pool winners, because everyone is getting paid. There isn’t really anything we can do about losing them except find an alternative payment method, and that is not possible in time for the hockey pool.

Lastly, the NHL changed the format of the playoffs with the divisions instead of the traditional 1 vs. 8, 2 vs. 7 and then highest vs. lowest for each subsequent round to the Stanley Cup Finals. That caused some extra work instead of just turning the pool over from last season, which I wasn’t sure I’d have time to do, but fortunately I did manage to figure this out without too much trouble.

Wow, after all that maybe we should take a break from the hockey pool for a year. . . Nah! Its up! Its open! This year our Hockey Playoffs Pool is FREE to enter. I’ve included a modest prize of some cash and t-shirts from my website Fantasy Throwdown for the winners.

Simply login to your existing MOP account, or new members register an account, and then go to the Hockey Playoffs Pool to join. Limit one entry per person.

The game format is the same as in the past. Pick the teams to win every series, pick how many games it will take them to win each series, and pick any 5 players (maximum 1 player per team) to score points for goals and assists.

I’m hoping even with the lower prize pool we still have a good turnout like last year. Hey, it is free, so why not? Even tell some buddies to join and then each throw in some cash to compete for supremacy amongst your group. Maybe I’ll try that with my beer league hockey team.

As mentioned, updates may be sporadic for the first couple weeks, but there shouldn’t be any series winners declared in that time.

The deadline to join is Friday April 18 at 7:30 Eastern, which is when I’m estimating the second game of the earliest series will start. You can edit your picks as often as you like up to the deadline. Thanks, and good luck!

Original March Madness Survivor Sold Out In Record Time… Introducing MM II and III

Wow, I did not expect that. While entries started coming in pretty good from the time I opened the original March Madness Survivor Pool late last week through the weekend, I didn’t send the sign up newsletter until this morning. It went out about 10:00am Eastern. A little after 3:00pm, the pool was sold out. That has never happened before, but it is a clear sign people love our take on NCAA Men’s Basketball!

What to do, what to do? Soon after the first pool hit the maximum entries I already started receiving notes from people asking about a second pool. Okay, it cost me a bunch of sleep, but a second and third pool are now available! Introducing…

To join the free pool, make sure you are logged in, and click the join button on the results page. This will take you to the opening round picks form. Submit your pick, and you are in that pool. We are offering a cool $150 prize to the winner of the free entry pool. Yes – free!

For those who already signed up for the original $20 pool, if you’d like to transfer a pair of your entries to the $40 pool, then let me know and we’ll get it worked out. Then if there are those out there who really prefer the $20 level, some spots may still open up. Stay tuned to the website, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook, for the latest updates.

If you enjoy playing in the March Madness Survivor Pool, or any of the other pools we run all year, then please lend a hand supporting the cause to keep this website operating. Here are some examples how you can help. Thanks, and good luck in each of the three March Madness Survivor Pools. It is going to be a wild week ahead!

March Madness Survivor Pool Open, Four Year Results Graph

In terms of being crowned the most popular pool we offer, our annual March Madness Survivor Pool has some tough competition every year against our Football Survivor Pool, and this year in particular versus the World Cup. However, it is safe to say this is the most anticipated pool by many of our members.

This pool is great for both diehard college basketball fans and bandwagon fans who get caught up in the excitement of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. The unique format keeps people coming back, and whether you’ve ever heard of Murray State or Virginia Commonwealth, or know where to find Marquette or Butler on a map, everyone has a chance to take home top prize, while not being overwhelmed filling in a full traditional bracket.

A little luck to avoid the upsets never hurts, as there will surely be upsets along the way. You need to plan ahead because there is a good chance someone is going to run the table and pick the Final Four and Championship game winners. Its happened three of the past four years. Could it be you this year?

My strategy is get out of the opening weekend unscathed without using too many top seeds. Then check out the carnage in the rest of the pool, re-group and strategize to the end. That opening weekend is four rounds of the pool and of course easier said than done to stay alive. Here is a graph showing how the entries dropped off in our March Madness Survivor Pool since 2010:

Results from our annual March Madness Survivor Pool (2010-2013)

Results from our annual March Madness Survivor Pool (2010-2013)

The deadline to join the pool is opening tipoff next Thursday, March 20th. The play-in games are not included. Selection Sunday is this Sunday, so the schedule will be added late Sunday or Monday, after which time people can make their picks for the opening two rounds, Thursday and Friday. There is a cap on the number of entries in the pool, so it is a good idea to join now and reserve your spot.

Pick one team to win and you advance. If they lose, you’re out. Easy! (Well…) Exciting! (Definitely!) Good luck!