How do I divide prize money in the fairest way?
April 24, 2008 12:58 PM   Subscribe

Arrr. There may be Quizzo booty to divide, but I want to do it fairly. This is more math than I can handle.

My friends and I have been involved with a Quizzo (i.e. team trivia in a bar) tournament over the last six weeks, and, unless we majorly screw up in the next three showings, we are pretty much guaranteed a spot for the tenth and final round (which is limited to the top 3 teams overall).

The guy running this tournament opted not to put a cap on the number of people on a team, which means that while our team of 6 or 7 has been doing really, really well, we keep getting creamed by this team that regularly has 12 or more people. Thus, for the final night I'm pondering calling in all favors I can muster to get my friends out so we have an even better chance of winning the whole thing.

The finals also involve cash prizes of a as-yet-undisclosed sum. So far I have a spreadsheet, recording who showed up each week, as initially I was thinking to split the winnings (assuming we win, of course) proportionately, with one point for every week a person showed up. For example, let's say Person A showed up for 5 out of the 10 weeks, and the other six people showed up for 8 out of the 10 weeks. That would mean Person A would get roughly 9% of the final haul (5/53 = 9%), while everyone else would get roughly 15% (8/53 = 15%). It's not the most elegant solution ever, but it seemed to be the fairest approach.

Anyway, here's the problem: if we do have a few extra people show up for the finals, I'm not really sure how to fit them in to the division of the prize winnings. Should I just include them in the above equation? Buy them a beer? If you were one of the last-weekers, what would seem fair to you? What if you were someone who had faithfully showed up all ten weeks?

(Note: since the first prize for the last six weeks has been $50, I'm pretty sure that the finals prizes will be more than that. But damn, it would be high-larious if it weren't, in which case I'm quibbling over, like, five bucks.)
posted by shiu mai baby to Grab Bag (11 answers total)
Provide the text you wrote in email form to your ORIGINAL teammates. See what they say. It affects them, and you shouldn't decide on something (even though it seems as if you're the leader) without consulting them.

Good luck!
posted by hal_c_on at 1:02 PM on April 24, 2008

I'd bribe them with beer. That prize money means more to you and the regulars than it means to them. They're in it for a good time and to do you a favor, not for the money. :)
posted by reebear at 1:04 PM on April 24, 2008

Best answer: If I were setting this up, I would just tell the few extra people that they are being brought in as a special case, that they'll get a few free beers each night off the core group, and they'll have fun but they won't share in the prize money that the core group has been showing up regularly for.

However, you should also cover their entry fee if there is one during the finals. I would be annoyed if friends expected me to pay an entry fee and not partake in the winnings.

Whatever you do, clear it with the core group and just in case the winnings are significant don't bring in a bunch of extra players under different terms for each (i.e. some get a share of cash, some get beer, some get the fee comped). It's bound to cause problems if one extra person gets 50 bucks and another gets a couple of beers.
posted by Science! at 1:08 PM on April 24, 2008 [2 favorites]

Definitely bribe with beer. If they're the kind of friends who demand a share of the prize for showing up once, what kind of friends are they?
posted by pmbuko at 1:24 PM on April 24, 2008

I would just discuss it with the core group first, then make sure the ringers fully understand the terms before they agree to play.

So you and the group will have to ask yourselves "how bad do we want to win this (in terms of how much of the winnings do we want to let ringers have)". Enough to buy them all beers? Cool. People like beer. I'm sure you'll get some people to come. Enough that you'll give them a share, though less than the core group's, of the winnings? That might be more persuasive. Enough to give them an equal share based on number of matches attended? Then you'll surely find plenty of people. Just make sure all parties know and agree to the terms beforehand. Hopefully there won't be any holdouts in the core group of people. I guess it'd be best to discuss "what constitutes our consensus" before deciding too. Options lade out, then majority vote? Options discussed, compromises made for a unanimous vote?

The direction I'm going with this, you may need to buy a copy of Roberts Rules of Order. I guess a proportional share of the cost for that can be deducted from each players winning, provided a majority vote, after any alterations to the rules of order are voted on and implemented.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 1:29 PM on April 24, 2008

Best answer: Just do beer.

Doing the math - lets say you had 7 people there for 9 weeks, and 15 for the final week. That's a total of 78 points. For the guys who show up for the final week, there's only going to be getting 1/78th of the prize money anyway. Unless the prize money is greater than $2000 or so, you're going to at best break even on beer anyway (depending on how much these guys drink)
posted by cgg at 1:37 PM on April 24, 2008

Maybe sweeten the beer with $1 for every correct answer they contribute.
posted by amtho at 1:52 PM on April 24, 2008

I'd say the easy-going thing to do would be to put all prize money toward beer. Buy everyone who's there on the last night a pitcher if you win and celebrate. It's a trivia game. You know, for fun. Not a job.

Unless, of course, the money means as much to you and your teammates as the winning itself. Me, I'd be happier if the bar put my name on a plaque or trophy or something, rather than giving me money. Something I could show someone later when we happened to be there. Hell, I'd probably end up giving away more beer recruiting players and celebrating than the prize money would pay for. All in fun.

That's just me, though.
posted by ctmf at 7:40 PM on April 24, 2008

If it were me, I'd buy two beers for every ringer I brought in, paid for out of the pre-distribution winnings, and if we lost they'd have to buy their own beer.
posted by davejay at 10:34 PM on April 24, 2008

I think it's tough to answer this question with no idea of how much prize money we are talking about, but here is my thoughts

If it's me, and the prize money is small, like a couple hundred bucks, I say you hand it to back to the tavern owner, and tell him to just give you and friends a tab in that amount.

If it's closer to $1000, I say you buy a beer for the ENTIRE BAR then divide any left over funds between your core team

if it's more than $2000, you buy the entire bar a couple rounds, split the rest with your core team.

In my mind, this kind of windfall is just "good time money" and should be treated as such

Good luck
posted by Mr_Chips at 5:26 AM on April 25, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone, for the answer. While I love the idea of buying the bar tab, the truth is that the pub is kind of far away for everyone but our core group, so the chances of our extra members being able to take advantage of that are minimal, at best. Also, the bar closes shortly after Quizzo is over, so much as I'd love to hang out and drink ourselves silly on the spoils, I think management might object. Heh.

I was surprised but happy to see that the buy-em-a-beer-or-three seems to be the opinion. It's what I was thinking as well, so I'm glad to know I wasn't as far off the mark of acceptability as I worried I might be. There isn't an entry fee, so that part is easy, at least.

I definitely should echo ctmf's sentiment -- for me, it's about triumphing uber alles in the end. Bragging rights last me a hell of a lot longer than the $20 I might win.
posted by shiu mai baby at 6:33 AM on April 25, 2008

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