Survivor Pool Strategy

A strategy to help you outwit, outplay, and outlast your Survivor pool

There are all kinds of games that you can play with football as the backdrop. Fantasy football is the King of the Hill, but it is not the only game in town. Office pools are all over the place with varying formats -- picking every game-winner either against the spread or by ranking each game on a point scale (also known as a confidence pool). Another favorite game that is not quite as common but that has been around for quite a while is the Eliminator or Survivor pool.

The reality television show "Survivor" has been for more than 30 seasons, and the premise has been the same since the beginning -- Outwit, Outplay, Outlast. The concept is pretty simple and has been around for ages -- last man (or woman) standing wins. That is the idea behind Eliminator or Survivor pools -- everyone is on the same footing when the season starts, and all you have to do is to pick one team to win their game that given week. If you are right, you move on to the next week, but if they lose -- you are eliminated from the pool. The other trick is that once you pick a given team, you cannot use them again the rest of the way, making it progressively harder to find that winning team each week.

Variations on this theme do exist, including pools where you can "buy back in" after one misstep and also the inverted method where you have to pick a team that will lose that week instead of win. All of them are valid ways to play, but for simplicity, I am going to focus on the simplest version here -- win or go home every week. Also for ease of description, I will simply call this contest a Survivor pool.

So now that we have the concept understood, let's start talking about some strategy. That's why we are playing these contests, right? We play to win the game, the pool, and hopefully the big prize. I completely understand that, and I wanted to write this article for everyone interested in not just playing in these contests but for those of you who want to be alive and kicking as we start the Christmas season. With many years under my belt playing these types of contests, it is time to share what I have learned and hopefully help you on the way to the winner's circle. This article will go over general strategy, and later on this summer, I will be writing my preliminary plan and roadmap to winning a Survivor pool contest for 2018. In addition, Footballguys will also be holding a staff Survivor pool contest this year (just like last year), complete with some commentary from yours truly amongst other contributors and you can follow our progress.

Enough is enough -- time to get down to business. Let's talk about how to win a Survivor pool.


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