How To Run An Amazing Race Office Pool
This page outlines the key ingredients to running a successful Amazing Race Pool. Of course, we hope that you host your pool on Fun Office Pools.com, but you can run this pool manually with an excel spreadsheet if you want. For general tips on running an Office Pool, see How to Run An Office Pool on this site.
Caution! With Amazing Race it is possible to find out who was eliminated each show via spoilers on the internet since it is a taped show. Survivor has this same problem. We highly suggest you only invite people into your pool who will not use this information. We also highly recommend you avoid looking for the information on line - it will completely ruin one of the best Reality TV shows (5 straight emmys!) for you. Note: Dancing with the Stars and American Idol do not have this problem as their elimination shows are live.
Why do an Amazing Race Office Pool?
Simply - it makes the show that much more interesting to watch. If you care about who gets eliminated or who completes the detour first, it really makes the show exciting. It's a great way to play along, and it makes for great water cooler discussions the next day.
Scoring Points in an Amazing Race Office Pool
The purpose of the pool is to score the most points. We've found three methods of scoring points that work well:
- Race Order
- Bonus Questions
- Overall Winner
The big event in Amazing Race is who finishes last each week. The first place team usually gets a prize, so the teams strive for first, but there's no real difference between finishing 5th or 6th, so some teams will not hustle at the end if they know they are safe. We've run TAR (The Amazing Race) pools since the second season. Our two favorite ways to score are:
- Predict the order of finish from 1st to last
- Predict who finishes last
We used to do the former, with 2 points given to the 1st place team, 5 points for the last place team, and 1 point for each place in between. Feedback from the participants showed they really only cared about the last place teams and found ranking the teams from 1st to last became tedious. Our latest pools have involved assigning confidence points to the team or teams you think will finish last. Each week you have a set number of points to distribute among the remaining teams. If your team finishes last, you get those points. This is the way the pool on Fun Office Pools.com - Amazing Race Pool is implemented. You have 25 points each week to assign to the team you think will be last. This adds more strategy than the previous method - do you put all 25 on one team or split your points up? Additionally - it's much simpler to do - and since you have to do this every week, it is much less tedious than the other method.
On the show finale - we double the points to 50 and on this show, you're predicting who wins - not who is last.
One complication on finishing last is the non-elimination legs. What do you do then? The obvious two choices are score no points or score the points for the team that showed up last (but was not eliminated). Fun Office Pools.com has chosen to do the latter - you get the points for predicting the last place team, not just for eliminated teams. This makes sure that each leg scores points, and our general philosophy is that more points are more fun than less points.
Another complication is the two part show - where the leg is not finished during the first show. Our solution on Fun Office Pools.com is to score only when legs are completed. So a show that does not complete a leg is not scored until the leg is done.
In addition to assigning points to the team you think will be last, each week we like to ask some bonus questions. Typical bonus questions, worth 2-5 points each, are:
- Will the roadblock or the detour occur first?
- Which team member (for instance, Rob or Amber) performs the roadblock?
- Which team finishes first this week?
Typically if the answer has a few choices (roadblock/detour or yes/no), we make it worth 2 points. If there are a lot of possible answers (which team finishes first), we make it worth 5 points.
Bonus questions add a lot of flavor to the pool and give you more opportunities to score points. We think a pool with lots of points are more fun than those where points are scarce.
If you are creating your own bonus questions, the one caution we'll give you is you need to think hard about all the outcomes. You may use the question about which team member will perform the Roadblock and on this leg no Roadblock occurs. We try and provide all possible outcomes - so in this example, your choices would be Rob, Amber, or no Roadblock this leg. However, sometimes you just can't predict what curveball CBS will throw at you - so have a method to invalidate a bonus question if an unexpected outcome occurs.
The final method of scoring points is for predicting the Overall Winner of the Race. We ask everyone to predict which team will be the overall winner, and if you're right, in Fun Office Pool's Amazing Race Pool you'll get 50 points. If they finish 2nd or 3rd, you get 30 or 10 points, respectively. You could simplify this and just give 50 points to the winner, but we think it should be worth something to predict a final three team.
Are the Points Balanced?
When we set up a pool, one of our philosophies is to keep people interested - so we often increase the points on the last leg as mentioned above. Additionally, the Overall Winner is worth a lot of points. Our goal is to keep most people in the game up till the last show.
Keeping Really Bad Predictors Interested
One other strategy we use to keep everyone interested is to award a small prize to the person who scores the least number of points. This way, halfway through the season when your overall winner pick is already out and you're too far behind to see a way to win, you can start intentionally picking poorly. It's harder than you think! This only works if your pool has Default Picks for people who don't get their picks in -- otherwise, they would just stop picking to get 0 points each week. It's a good addition to the pool and makes it more fun for everyone, especially those who get off to a poor start.
Hopefully these tips will help you run a successful Amazing Race Office Pool. The basic principles outlined here are all implemented at Fun Office Pools.com. Set up your pool there - it's free and fun!
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