Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge Opens: Up Your Odds of Winning With Warren Buffett's Secret

With the NCAA tournament brackets finalized, the Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge is open. Learn from Warren Buffett.

Mar 17, 2014 at 2:00PM

Over the weekend the NCAA Tournament brackets were finalized, which means the Quicken Loans Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge has opened. In case you've been living under a rock, the Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge is a contest, backed by Warren Buffett, that will pay anyone who can pick a perfect bracket a billion dollars. Read on and I'll explain how to up your odds of winning with the secret Warren Buffett has used to make billions.

Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge
To win the Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge, you must pick a perfect NCAA bracket. This is a near-impossible feat: ESPN's John Diver has said no one has come close to a perfect bracket in the network's 13-year history of running a NCAA tournament bracket.

As such, some naysayers argue you shouldn't even play:

  • Slate: "Don't Be a Sucker: You Shouldn't Take Warren Buffet's $1 Billion Bracket Challenge"
  • USA Today: "Why you won't win March Madness billion-dollar bracket"
  • The Washington Post: Why you won't win a billion dollars with Warren Buffett's bracket challenge

The articles all correctly point out that winning is all but impossible, with Buffett putting the odds at 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 -- that's one in 9 quintillion. The odds are further stacked because the contest is limited to 15 million entrants, each allowed only one entry.

While there likely will be no Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge winner, there are 20 "consolation" prizes of $100,000. So what is Warren Buffett's secret?

Warren Buffett's secret
One of the reasons Warren Buffett became a billionaire is that he seized opportunity when he saw it and was patient when he did not. As Buffett puts it:

You do things when the opportunities come along. I've had periods in my life when I've had a bundle of ideas come along, and I've had long dry spells. If I get an idea next week, I'll do something. If not, I won't do a damn thing.

Lottery players frequently say you need to play to have any shot of winning. But most people are smart enough to know that the lottery is a sucker's game, as you pay a hefty sum for terrible odds.

The opportunity presented by the Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge is that it's free to play; you just need to spend a few minutes filling out a bracket. With 20 first prizes and the contest limited to 15 million people, your odds of winning $100,000 are one in 750,000.


Source: PA Lottery.

Free lottery ticket
People who play the lottery pay money for a similar opportunity, and they get worse odds. For example, the Pennsylvania Lottery's "$100,000 SuperCa$h" scratch-off costs $5 per entry and gives you one-in-a-million odds of winning $100,000. That's worse odds than the Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge, and it costs you $5.

In this case, seizing the opportunity is just like finding a $5 scratch-off ticket. To have any shot of winning, you have to pick it up off the ground. It takes minimal time and effort, and you have a real opportunity to win $100,000. Sometimes seizing the opportunity really is that simple.

Seize the opportunity
Through the years, Warren Buffett has offered up his simple yet power wisdom to shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway that attend his annual meeting. Now you can tap into the best of Warren Buffett's wisdom in a new special report from The Motley Fool. Click here now for a free copy of this invaluable report.

Dan Dzombak can be found on Twitter @DanDzombak or on his Facebook page, DanDzombak. He enjoys picking up dollars off the ground.Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

©1995-2014 The Motley Fool. All rights reserved. | Privacy/Legal Information

Compare Brokers