By Sean McNulty

Most college basketball fans have participated in a March Madness pool at some point in their lives – whether it is with classmates, colleagues or friends, it is pretty much the same process. If you have never set up and run your own March Madness pool, rest assured that it is a simple process.

Keep reading to learn all of the ins and outs of setting up your March Madness pool as we walk you through the process.

Find your pool and set your entry fee

The first step to take is to find your pool – if you do not already have a pool or want to start your own, start reaching out to the people you know who you think might be interested. You should also have a clear limit of how many brackets each person can complete in the pool. Some people will only want to enter pools in which entrants can complete one or two brackets, because it means that there will be a very clear winner.

When you reach out to people, you should already have an entry fee in mind – then you will be able to tailor your list of invitees accordingly. Of course, you do not need an entry fee, and depending on your state regulations, you may not be permitted to charge an entry fee. However, if you are legally able to charge an entry fee, betting on March Madness using a site like World Sports Network can make the process more exciting and fun, and there is a lot more to be gained from having a strong bracket.

Get your brackets ready

Once you have confirmed your pool, the next step is easy enough – you just need to print out the blank brackets using one of the many different templates online, and then distribute them. Alternatively, there are a number of digital platforms that can be used, in which participants in a pool fill out their pools together online.

After distributing your brackets, either in person or digitally, have everyone fill out their brackets. Just in case there is a tie, you can also ask every person to write down their estimate of what the total number of points scored in the championship will be.

Identify a scoring system for the pool

There are several different ways to score pools but there is one method that most people are familiar with, so it is used the most often. In the most standard scoring method, in Round 64, everyone receives one point for each of their correct teams that wins one of the 32 games. In Round 32, players win two points for choosing winners of the 16 games, in Round 16 they win four points per winning team, in Round 8 they win six points per winning team, in the Final Four, they win 10 points for each winning team, and finally, in the Championship Games, they win 16 points.

Typically, the National Champion will determine the pool winner, as sufficient points have been accrued throughout the three weeks of the tournament.

Keep tabs on all of the points

As the manager and organizer of the pool, it is also your responsibility to monitor the games and take note of all the winners. You can do this by hand or use a digital platform to do it for you. Depending on the energy of the pool, some pool organizers tally the collected points after every round and announce it to the group, whereas others wait until the exciting conclusion. It really is up to you, and  how you want to proceed with your pool.

You have a winner!

At the end of the tournament, after tabulating all of the points, you should have a winner. Depending on the type of pool you have, you will then be able to distribute the winnings. If you have a small pool with a handful of friends, you may want to opt for a winner-takes-all payout. However, if your pool has about 30 or more people playing, you may want to instead distribute the pot more evenly.

One alternative distribution method, for example, could be that the winner could take 70% of the pot, the runner-up could take 20%, and the third-place finisher could take the remaining 10% of the pot. This way, the winnings are distributed a little more evenly and it makes everyone slightly more competitive. However you decide to distribute the pot, make sure that you settle on a method before everyone pays their entry fee, and that everyone knows the rules before they play.

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