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Side Pools--New Ideas

Posted By: phil simborg
Date: Monday, 27 January 2014, at 9:17 p.m.

I think we're seeing fewer and fewer people getting into the side pools at major tournament, especially in the Open Division. Why? Because unless you are one of the top players, it's not a smart bet, that's why. Backgammon isn't handicapped, and why should I bet an extra $200 against, say, Mochy when it costs him the same $200 and he is "slightly" more favored to make money on this bet.

But I like action, and so do most people who play in the Open division of major tournaments. So here are three possible ideas for side pools that I think would interest me, and others. Why have more side pools? More action for the players; with a 10 percent rake a little more money for the tournament promoter (we should want those guys to make some money so they will have the incentive to keep running great events).

Idea No. 1. A side pool strictly for non-giants (not in the top 32 on the current Giant's list).

Idea No. 2. A side pool for non-giants who beat giants. Anyone who is not in the top 32 can get in this pool, and whoever beats the most Giants in the Main and Consolation (7 point matches or longer) gets the pool.

Idea No. 3. A reverse side pool. Put in $100 and you get nothing back if you cash, and everyone else splits what's left. (Obviously, this is like a hedge, or insurance).

I would gladly get in all three pools for $100 each--giving the tournament director a total of $30 and giving me some more action.

Of course, none of the above do anything for the Giants, as they are not eligible for No. 1 or 2 and No. 3 would be a bad bet for them, but in total, I think there would be a lot more money going into pools and it would be more fun for us non-32 Giants. There would still be a main pool that Giants can get into, but mostly that pool would be a bet against other Giants. So yes, that would hurt their return on the side pools...but that's not all bad as they get to play and compete for the main pool of money without a handicap.

As several have said in other posts, most people don't like new ideas or change, so I don't expect people to warm up to these ideas and start using them, but if enough people agree and if some tournament director will try this and it is well-received, that is how new ideas become accepted.

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