Tales From the Floor-The Super Bowl Pool


This week end was always a big week end on the trading floor.  Why?  The Super Bowl.  Traders are natural gamblers. There were more ways to bet the Super Bowl on the trading floor than in Vegas!

Get a bunch of young macho guys making money hand over fist in what really is a big locker room and you can only imagine what happens.

People used to fill out the square pool with their badge. Then you could find them. Even to this day, I know relatively few actual names of floor traders, but I know their badges. To this day, some people from the floor still call me CR, or “Chris”! I used to tell people that CR stood for “credit”, or credit balance. Never saw a guy on the floor with a DB, but someone probably had one! Certainly our trading accounts did from time to time!

The biggest way was the time honored square pool. There once was a pool that was $10k per square. Winner take all. Guy filled it up in 30 minutes. Other pools were big dollars per square and had a payoff every time the score changed. Some guys could make a couple of hundred thousand on the Super Bowl. During the days of NFC blowouts, everyone would watch until the end-there was a lot of dough riding on that last score.

A few lucky people bought their memberships with Super Bowl winnings. If they bought it pre-IPO, was the best pool they ever won.

In 1989, we had an FBI sting on the floor. The FBI guys got into the pools. Rumor had it that anyone that bought a square got audited that year. The other rumor is that the g-men won one of the pools. Bastards. After that you tended to see less badge symbols on square pools and more actual symbols. The manager of the pool sometimes had a hard time figuring out the Egyptian hieroglyphics when it came pay off time. Guarantee you the guy who won knew-no matter how much whiskey or vodka he had the day before.

There are numerous stories on Super Bowl pools from every trading floor in the US. Maybe they will find their way into the comments. My guess is the Steelers want to control the ball with the run. If you think they can get Mendanhall a bunch of yards and grind it out, bet the Steelers and the under.

I am biased. In Chicago, we hate the Packers.

UPDATE
Bill Bulaga has a rooting interest in the game. He is in the hog pit at CME.
Here is a link to an article on his family.