No. 2: Know the law
Can you get arrested for running an office pool? This really is the million dollar question. Unfortunately, the answer, as always, remains wishy-washy.
In almost every place in the country, it's illegal to wager money on the tournament. And there is a documented case in 2002 of an AT&T manager getting arrested for taking a 10 percent cut ($3,000) in a large pool. He crossed a line by making money in exchange for running the pool.
But it's like speeding, and spending $15 is like going 5 mph over the speed limit. It's a matter of practicality and authorities aren't going to crack down on these. Even huge companies like Boeing have OK'd the pools, as long they aren't disruptive to work.
In fact, it's your company you should probably be more concerned with as a policy that frowns on office pools of any kind may put you on the HR radar.
So if you do gamble, let the winner(s) take all and try not to use three reams of office paper printing brackets.
No. 1: Details, details
How should you score and how about that pay out?
Well, there are a million ways to score the games. One recommended is the "Fibonacci" method, named after a famous mathematician. To conduct it, give one point for each game in round one, two for round two, three for Sweet 16 matchups, five for Elite Eight action, eight for the Final Four games, and 13 for the championship bout.
It's been argued that this method provides a nice balance without too much weight on the final game.
For the dough, make it sensible: 50 percent for first place, 33 percent for second, and 17 percent for third. You want to keep as many people in the action as long as possible.
Obviously, set the buy-in at an appropriate level for your peers and, remember, the lower the buy-in, the less waves you'll create (good), but less invested people means, well, less invested people (bad).
Have a ball!