Northern New York Newspapers
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Tue., Apr. 21
Serving the communities of Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties, New York
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No margin for error

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Once again the entrepreneurial mind has created something that stirs the hearts of many Americans who will remember this winter as an endless monotony of wind-driven snow, sub-zero temperatures and brutal wind chills.

Caught at home because of closed schools, shortened office schedules and lousy roads, Americans now have a chance to double down on March Madness.

Quicken Loans and Warren Buffett are putting up a $1 billion pot for the basketball fan who submits a perfect NCAA Division I basketball bracket.

The winner will have to pick the outcomes of all 63 games.

The odds of picking 63 winners of the annual Division I basketball tournament are said to astronomical. Mr. Buffett himself says, “There are no true odds on something like this. ... Einstein himself could not figure out the odds.”

There are plenty of other mathematicians who are willing to try — but none of them is worth billions of dollars like Mr. Buffett, who has proven time and again that he understands the odds of American business success.

A Wall Street Journal survey put the odds to pick a perfect bracket as low as 1-in-150 million and as high as 1-in-9 trillion.

ESPN has operated such a pool for 16 years without once receiving a perfect bracket.

CBS, which has promoted bracket competition for years, has never had a perfect submission.

But to protect itself, Quicken Loans is buying an insurance policy from Mr. Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, providing Mr. Buffett with the best odds of all.

Mr. Buffett figures Berkshire Hathaway gets paid even if there is no winner.

But if there is a winner, the firm is on the hook for 40 installments of $25 million each or $500 million upfront.

An interesting bet made by a man who understands the concept of 1-in-9 trillion.

And fun and dreams for millions of Americans.

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