March Madness: $1 billion prize for perfect bracket, Warren Buffett’s challenge nearly impossible

By Matthew Orso (
on Mar 17, 2014 10:31 AM EDT
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A chance to make $1 billion by filling out a bracket? Is that a smart move?

BONUS: March Madness bracket guide

As most know by know Warren Buffett, world renowned billionaire, has offered up $1 billion to whoever can perfectly predict the upcoming NCAA Tournament. The bracket, which is free and can be filled out by anyone, must predict the winner of each game played throughout the tournament.

“While there is no simple path to success, it sure doesn’t get much easier than filling out a bracket online,” said Buffett. “To quote a commercial from one of my companies, I’d dare say it’s so easy to enter that even a caveman can do it.”


Well, if earning $1 billion was so easy that a caveman can do it, then everyone entering would become a billionaire. To put it as a baseball comparison, everyone entering would be worth more than Alex Rodriguez. The truth (easily understood) is that the odds of winning are as close to none as possible. In fact, Chris Case of USA Today did some research and found that the odds of one person winning the “Basketball Jackpot” stands at 9.2 quintillion to one.

"You have a better chance of hitting four holes-in-one in a single round of golf,” said Chase.

ESPN has been doing their own tournament bracket for years (13 to be exact).  No one has ever come close to filling out “the perfect bracket.” John Diver, who works for ESPN, said in January that it is “near to impossible” for someone to pick out the perfect bracket.

So does that mean it isn't even worth the time? Should anyone waste their time filling out the bracket?

"There are no true odds on something like this," said Buffett. "Einstein himself could not figure out the odds."

I've read a lot of article saying entering this challenge is a waste of time. Maybe it is a waste of time. But I call it a “fun waste of time.” Entering Warren Buffett's challenge is like competing in any other fantasy league. It can be a giant waste of time, unless you happen to win. Then it was completely worth the time.

I plan on entering myself. Do I think I can win? Nope, there is barely any scenario where I can see myself winning Buffett's challenge. But keep in mind I used the word “barely.” In any mind, there is always the hint of imagination and wonder. I'm sure everyone has wondered at least once in their lives “what would I do with a million dollars?”

Well subtract the "m" and add a "b". I wonder what I would do with a billion dollars? Well personally, I would donate half to charity. Then I would take care of my family and buy myself Yankees' season tickets. It is the wonder and mystic of the mind that makes a person want to enter a contest like this one. The possibilities of the future and those desires held by our own hearts and minds are what make us human. I don't mean to get all “spiritual” but I believe this situation is all reward and no risk.

There is no entry fee. There is no contract. Heck, Buffett himself admitted he would offer someone $100 million if he/she made it through to the final four. I'd drop the bet and take the $100 million. If there's nothing to lose (besides five minutes of time due to the sign up process) then I say go for it. A police officer, who worked with my father for many years, once said “you got to be in it to win it.”

Am I going to win “it?” No way is that going to happen. Am I going to enter “it?” Yes I am. You can bet $1 billion on it.

Are you going to enter the challenge? Let us know why or why not in the comments below!

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