Why You’ll Never Win a Billion Dollars in Buffett’s Bracket Challenge

Would you love taking a cool billion dollars from Warren Buffett, one of the richest men in the entire world? You’ll even have crazy bragging rights.

The only problem is that it’s never going to happen.

Quicken Loans and Warren Buffett have paired up and created an enjoyable twist to the NCAA bracket: by correctly picking the winner of every game in the men’s tournament, you will win $1 billion in the Quicken Loans Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge. Create an account at Yahoo and you can become one of the first 15 million contestants to enter the tournament. Sit back and enjoy the basketball games, and then inevitably wait for your bracket to get busted.

Would you like to know the odds of Berkshire Hathaway’s insurance company paying out for a perfect bracket? It’s actually 9.2 quintillion-to-1. So there is certainly a chance at winning this promotion, but it’s quite slim.

A DePaul University math professor named Jeffrey Bergen mentioned to USA Today that the odds will slightly improve to “one in 128 billion if you know something about college basketball.”

Warren Buffett really enjoys this kind of thing. He batted against Bob Gibson, caddied for Tiger Woods and he has even advised LeBron James. Not only that, he is a rabid fan of Nebraska and Creighton. He’s having such a good time with this that he even told Rick Reilly of ESPN that he had written the policy himself. “I just sat right in that chair,” he mentioned while in his office, “and I did the calculations. Took me about 10 or 15 minutes. I hope I did it right.”

The odds are that he did. It’s likely that he’s also quite aware that with over 30 million entries into ESPN’s competition, no one has ever completed a perfect bracket since 1998. If it looks like this is a slam dunk for Quicken and Buffett, it’s likely that it is. Quicken is going to award the 20 most accurate brackets with $100,000 each.

You cannot win if you do not play. Remember, there is always a possibility that on April 7, it is possible that somebody could be vying for the billion dollars. Buffett also considered that. “I think they should put us on a split screen TV. And on every shot, every free throw, they’d show us, and one of us won’t be happy.”

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