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  1. #1

    Default Quicken Loans Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge - The True March Madness?

    I registered for the Quicken Loans Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge.

    I have no illusions about winning but, having an internet business and publications, I study web events AND, with Quicken [Dan Gilbert] involved, it is a Detroit story. Big name billionaire Warren Buffet is in the story too as he is providing the insurance should on the off chance someone actually win and Yahoo is a player. Quicken and Yahoo seemingly pay the insurance, 20 'next best’ brackets awards of $100,000 and reap the benefits.

    For those not aware, one can win a billion dollars if he or she can predict the winners of all games played in the upcoming ‘March Madness’ collegiate basketball championship.

    It is a brilliant if ethically questionable ploy and gamble as there really is no chance anyone will win. Why?

    The odds of winning are 1 in 9 quintillion, if one blindly makes the picks as I will be doing, but allegedly falls to around 1 in 300 billion if one knows the teams well enough and people know that good teams usually win, according to some mathematician I heard. That is still a thousand times greater than the odds of winning a Mega Millions lottery which is ‘only’ 1 in 259 million.

    The bet is further secured by limiting the entrants to 15 million. Many more play the Mega Millions.

    So what do Dan and Warren and Yahoo get?

    To register one has to:
    • have a yahoo account
    • supply an email address which has to be confirmed by login to the Yahoo account
    • supply a cell number to get a confirmation number to be entered after login to the Yahoo account
    • supply a name
    • supply a birth date
    • answer questions about home ownership, if you have a mortgage or intend to get one

    This supplies a treasure trove of loan data to Quicken and new accounts for Yahoo, not to mention the huge free publicity bounce this will generate.

    Warren as always gets the real money, a huge insurance premium.

    I am pretty much outed, have a Yahoo account already, so giving up that info is no big deal and I am not a loan candidate. Any web investigative company could dig that up on me quickly and throw in my social security number and more to boot.

  2. #2
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    Apr 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lowell View Post
    I registered for the Quicken Loans Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge.

    I have no illusions about winning but, having an internet business and publications, I study web events AND, with Quicken [Dan Gilbert] involved, it is a Detroit story. Big name billionaire Warren Buffet is in the story too as he is providing the insurance should on the off chance someone actually win and Yahoo is a player. Quicken and Yahoo seemingly pay the insurance, 20 'next best’ brackets awards of $100,000 and reap the benefits.

    For those not aware, one can win a billion dollars if he or she can predict the winners of all games played in the upcoming ‘March Madness’ collegiate basketball championship.

    It is a brilliant if ethically questionable ploy and gamble as there really is no chance anyone will win. Why?

    The odds of winning are 1 in 9 quintillion, if one blindly makes the picks as I will be doing, but allegedly falls to around 1 in 300 billion if one knows the teams well enough and people know that good teams usually win, according to some mathematician I heard. That is still a thousand times greater than the odds of winning a Mega Millions lottery which is ‘only’ 1 in 259 million.

    The bet is further secured by limiting the entrants to 15 million. Many more play the Mega Millions.

    So what do Dan and Warren and Yahoo get?

    To register one has to:
    • have a yahoo account
    • supply an email address which has to be confirmed by login to the Yahoo account
    • supply a cell number to get a confirmation number to be entered after login to the Yahoo account
    • supply a name
    • supply a birth date
    • answer questions about home ownership, if you have a mortgage or intend to get one

    This supplies a treasure trove of loan data to Quicken and new accounts for Yahoo, not to mention the huge free publicity bounce this will generate.

    Warren as always gets the real money, a huge insurance premium.

    I am pretty much outed, have a Yahoo account already, so giving up that info is no big deal and I am not a loan candidate. Any web investigative company could dig that up on me quickly and throw in my social security number and more to boot.

    Here's some pretty solid analysis:

    http://www.slate.com/articles/sports...src=burger_bar

    My favorite part is where they show you what 1 quintillion pennies looks like next to the Empire State Building, and you can really see how impossible this is. Or actually, it's a picture of what the Empire State Building looks like next to a giant pile of 1 quintillion pennies.

    Another tidbit:

    Another way to think about it: If all 317 million people in the U.S. filled out a bracket at random, you could run the contest for 290 million years, and there’d still be a 99 percent chance that no one had ever won.
    Lastly, God forbid you've got 60 out of 60 right and are about to enter the final 4. Buffet said he would likely offer $10 Million to buy them out of their $1 Billion dollar payout.

    I'd probably take the sure $10 Million rather than the off chance at $1 Billion.

    Pretty ingenious publicity stunt though.

  3. #3

    Default

    Lastly, God forbid you've got 60 out of 60 right and are about to enter the final 4. Buffet said he would likely offer $10 Million to buy them out of their $1 Billion dollar payout.

    I'd probably take the sure $10 Million rather than the off chance at $1 Billion.
    Me too but I would demand it be handed over at lunch with Buffet, Gilbert and Marissa Mayer.

    But if you held out should members of the team you picked to win it all be worried?

    And how much do you think Buffet would up his offer if you if got to the finals?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lowell View Post
    Me too but I would demand it be handed over at lunch with Buffet, Gilbert and Marissa Mayer.

    But if you held out should members of the team you picked to win it all be worried?
    Possibly they should be waiting for the call offering them quite a lot of cash to throw the game., but if you actually were in that situation, there would probably be some pretty serious scrutiny if anything weird happened.

  5. #5
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    Mar 2009
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    The 'simple' odds of winning the challenge are 1 in 2^63. This assumes a 50/50 chance of winning any particular game.

    Once you get to the Final Four with 60 games right, assuming the 50/50 chance per game, you would have a 1 in 8 chance of getting the last three games right.

    No way was I entering the contest, it is an invitation to get bugged by Quicken.

  6. #6
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    I think this is brilliant publicity, but not worth my time to fill out. I think it would be much more interesting if they kept the best 1000 brackets after the first round, the best 100 after the second round, and then allowed people a "buyout" or play on option thereafter, with the level of the buyout going up for each round. It would make it interactive, and allow people to follow the remaining players. Like a game show, they could leave with a good but modest amount after each round, or play on for the big prize. I will be intensely interested in the tournament if MSU goes far, moderately interested if UM goes far, and uninterested if neither do.

  7. #7
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    What's funny is Buffet has often stated he's opposed to games of chance as a financial strategy, which is basically what a lot of the market is, Buffet also underwrote the 2 Pepsi Play For A Billion specials a few years back http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pepsi_B...ar_Sweepstakes

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingJ View Post
    What's funny is Buffet has often stated he's opposed to games of chance as a financial strategy, which is basically what a lot of the market is, Buffet also underwrote the 2 Pepsi Play For A Billion specials a few years back http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pepsi_B...ar_Sweepstakes
    Warren does like publicity. Like the articles that say he lives in his old, modest Omaha house. But his spends most of his time at mansions in CA, FL and a NY penthouse. Nothing wrong with that, he's just not the simple guy people want to think he is. Like supporting health care reform. He owns several insurance businesses. Government mandate requires people to buy a product he sells. Helping the little guy is very, very good for Warren Buffet.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingJ View Post
    What's funny is Buffet has often stated he's opposed to games of chance as a financial strategy, which is basically what a lot of the market is, Buffet also underwrote the 2 Pepsi Play For A Billion specials a few years back http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pepsi_B...ar_Sweepstakes
    As a professional in the investment sector, I can assure that the stock market is not a game of chance.

    If you bought $50,000 of Coca Cola Stock on March 16, 30 years ago in 1984, you would have been entitled to a cash profit-sharing check known as a dividend every year starting in 1986.


    • In 1986 that dividend was $1901, just under 4% of your original investment.
    • By 1994, that annual dividend was over $8500. Now more than 17% of your original investment.
    • By 2004, the annual dividend was $21,895, or 44% of your original investment.
    • And last year, in 2013, the annual dividend was $49,045. Almost the entirety of your original investment.


    This is without any compound interest or anything fancy. This wasn't some brand newfangled technology developed by Wang or Apple. This wasn't trading exotic foreign currency investments on the FOREX. This was just you buying $50,000 worth of Coca Cola -- a company that had been profitable for decades -- putting the stock certificate in your desk drawer, and receiving your profit-sharing checks every year.

    Don't even ask me what the shares of Coke are worth now, because that just distracts from the main point which is...

    ...if you can invest $50,000 today, and 30 years from now, you're receiving $50,000 per year in profit sharing checks, you are going to make a sh*t ton of money.

    In any case, that's how investors look at it. Now day-trading, that stuff that you see on CNBC every day...that's basically like hyper-advanced gambling.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeyinBrooklyn View Post
    Like supporting health care reform. He owns several insurance businesses. Government mandate requires people to buy a product he sells. Helping the little guy is very, very good for Warren Buffet.
    Berkshire Hathaway (Buffett's company) does own a lot of insurers, but if they sell any US health insurance at all, it is a minor part of their business. His insurers primarily do auto, property, casualty, and miscellaneous liability insurance, and reinsurance. General Re, one of the subsidiaries, does provide health reinsurance in the US, but as far as I can tell they don't write any actual health insurance.

  11. #11
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    mwilbert, you are entirely correct that health insurers (and other health care-related entities) are a small portion of the BH investment portfolio. But the point I made and stick by is that the ACA will benefit those holdings he does have (small by his standards; enormous by anyone else's).

    First, his largest investment in health care is in General Re, which for health insurance merely reinsures. But that is still a financial product he sells based on the buying prowess of health insurance companies.

    Second, the following companies, owned at least in part by BH, do directly market health insurance plans: Torchmark, UnitedHealthGroup, WellPoint (the largest BC/BS affiliate in the US)

    Third, the following companies, owned at least in part by BH, sell other health care products and services, which can be expected to sell more as people are required to be insured (and, presumably, will consume more health care products and services): Verisk Analytics, Medical Protective, GlaxoSmithKline, Ingersoll-Rand, Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi-Aventis

    Fourth, companies BH owns will now have the ability, under the ACA, to redirect some of the cost of providing employee health insurance from themselves to US and/or state taxpayers. Walmart, of which BH owns a portion of stock is the largest, but not the only example. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/1...n_2220152.html

    To summarize, Warren Buffet will have more money in his pocket due to the Affordable Care Act. My whole point in the original post I made was just to point out that he isn't the quirky, homespun neighborhood-businessman-made-good that he is often portrayed as. He is a shrewd, ruthless and highly skilled financial planner and business analyst. Which I am not opposed to, I just think he should be seen as Warren Buffet, real man, not Warren Buffet cultivated icon.

    For what it's worth, beyond healthcare, a very large amount of his wealth is derived from financial and insurance services, which benefit immensely and continually from government bond issuance (repaid by taxpayers) and regulatory compliance services. He is a Wall Street master, not a shopkeeper grandpa with fun interest in your basketball bracket.

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