If you’re a golf fan, you’re watching the Masters this week. If you’re looking to ratchet up your interest level, you might consider entering a Masters pool.
Of course, not every pool is the same, but they typically fall into one of three buckets. With that in mind, we have a few general tips to help you win your pool. (Alright, let’s be realistic: pools.)
One and Done: In this type of pool, you get to pick one player, and then you usually have to pick a winning score.
1. Only three players have ever repeated as Masters champion: Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods. But Dustin Johnson could be the first to win the Masters twice in less than seven months.
2. American-born and foreign-born players have, more or less, alternated as winners of late, but Americans have won the last three. Spieth won in 2015 to end that skid, then Danny Willett started it all over again. Our last four winners were Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed, Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson. So, it’s a bit of a toss up.
3. This is going to be a top-heavy year at the Masters. Sleepers are a BAD pick in one-and-done.
Pick 5 or 6: In this kind of pool, you’ll be asked to pick five or six golfers. In some cases, every golfer counts. In others, just the top three or four. If you have to use players that didn’t make the cut, there’s usually some penalizing score, especially if there’s a points system or the contest is based on each team’s aggregate score.
1. The odds of you picking the top five or six is basically zero. Regardless of whether or not the pool has a salary cap, it’ll help to create groups. Pick two guys you think will win. Pick two guys you think are an absolute lock to make the cut. With your remaining picks, you have some freedom to go either way, trying to identify a winner or a guy who will make the cut. You’re going to need a top three finisher and two guys in the top 15 to have a chance.
Daily fantasy golf: You have a chance to win $1 million this week playing Masters fantasy golf with DraftKings. It costs just $20 to enter, and you can enter multiple times. You’d be a fool not to try it. The concept is similar to Pick 5 or 6 pools. You’ll have a salary cap of $100,000 and need to pick six players to round out your team. The tips are the same: Find two guys who will make the cut, two guys who you think can win and then two fliers.
Calcutta: A Calcutta starts with an auction, where pool participants bid for the rights to a player for the tournament. Depending on the pool, there are typically minimum bids and sometimes maximum prices. Sometimes, there are maximum numbers of players a participant can own in the pool. Then, based on a pre-determined payout schedule or using an algorithm, participants are paid out if they have the winner and/or players finishing usually in the top three.
1. If you’re in a Calcutta, there’s a good chance you know what you’re doing and don’t need our help.
2. It’s important to keep in mind value. Of course, when you’re bidding for that player you really want, you don’t know how much that player’s auction will contribute to the total pool. However, if you have a maximum bid in mind for any one player and can do a little mental math, then you can take a guess at how much the total purse will be. You don’t want to contribute more as a percentage of the total pool for a player than you think a player’s odds are to win. In other words, if you think a player has a 33 percent chance of winning the Masters, you shouldn’t bid them up to over one-third the purse.
3. Set a maximum bid. Leave your wallet in the car.