A pool in this sense means to place flat-rate bet into the pot, and bet that something is going to happen at a certain time. One of the more mundane examples of a pool to place a clock in the middle of a frozen lake, then let anyone pay a small fee to make bets on when it falls through the melting ice. The sponsoring party makes a little money, and the winning party makes a little money. Everybody wins (except for the losers, of course... and they didn't pay much anyway, and it is all in good fun, after all.)

A dead pool is a rather darker and more demented contest. It usually involves betting on when a -- usually famous -- person is going to die.

This idea was almost custom-made for the Internet generation, and the internet dead pools have been seeing a brisk business. Check out stiffs.com for a hint.

A sample entry would go like this: "I think Linus Torvalds is going to die this year." If he does, you win the pool! You normally make bets on a list of people, and your final placement is the total of your wins.

Dead pools aren't necessarily for people. F*ckedCompany bills itself as the internet startup deadpool. Named in homage to FastCompany (A magazine to tracks the 'internet economy'), it tracks and scores the failings of the internet economy.

The folks at ntk.net have gotten so tired of reporting another winner in their informal dead pool, that they have shortened the whole process down to a shout of "Falco!"

This writeup was updated February 21, 2005.

It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

A Dead Pool is a type of sick and twisted game that has been around for decades, but has become very popular on the Internet. In its most common form, a dead pool is where a group of people each pick a list of names for individuals they think will die during a specified time period. The time period is usually one year (i.e., who will die in 2005), and the list is usually limited to famous people such as actors, musicians, politicians, professional athletes, and other celebrities. Most incarnations of the game define a celebrity death as one which a major news organization (such as the Associated Press, NBC, ABC, CNN, BBC, Washington Post, New York Times, etc) will report on. Death row inmates are not eligible.

Once the game is over, the king and the pawn go back in the same box.

The game is not a wish list, but rather should be based on educated guesses relating to age, health, occupation, and other factors. In other words, you don't pick who you hope will die; you pick people you believe will die. Does your favorite musician like to do a little too much heroin? What about that comedian who's over 100? Isn't there a famous athlete battling a deadly disease? Is the US Army on a rampage against any world leaders? Know a celebrity who likes to play with guns? How about an unlikely young man with a family curse? Any of these could win (or could have won) you the game.

A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.

Typically an organized dead pool will have an entry fee with the winner receiving a lump sum of cash at the end of the game. Obviously, the idea is to score the most points, and there are several points systems in use.

  • Total Count - This type almost always has a set number of entries you can make, and the person who gets has the most deaths wins.
  • Ratio - This type typically allows an unlimited number of entries, but at the end of the contest, the person with the highest ratio of dead vs. living is the winner.
  • Rank/Order - In this version, you get X points if your #1 choice dies, Y points if your #2 choice dies, Z points if your #3 choice dies, etc.
  • Age-Weighted - Coupled with the Total Count or Rank/Order versions, the age at death is weighted into this system to determine your points. Typically, the number of points will be equal to 120 minus the age at death (i.e., you get more points for people who die young).

E2 Dead Pool

No, I'm not suggesting that we start our own dead pool. That's because we already have our own version of the game (however unintentional it may be). I've noticed several examples where, within the hour of a famous death making it to the headlines, a writeup (or multiple writeups) about the famous person gets a C!. In the same manner, if no writeup exists for the celebrity stiff, his obituary is almost immediately created in the form of a new writeup. Quite often, some editor also places a mournful goodbye message as the new chatterbox topic (complete with hard link). Even without these helpful links, when a famous person dies, people want to know more about them and will simply search for and read the writeups. Anyone with a writeup in the dead person's node gets free XP all day long - often undeservingly. Perhaps voters consider it a tribute to the deceased. I've heard this phenomenon referred to in the catbox as Death XP. Please note that I am not trying to say that anyone is doing this because they are looking for cools and XP - it's simply how things work here.

I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather. Not screaming in terror like his passengers.


I believe this "game" is just as tasteless as many of you probably do. I simply wrote it because I was reminded of it by something I read in the chatterbox.


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