Game of Thrones Pool: How to Wager on the Final Season With Friends
Photo courtesy of HBO. Pictured: Daenerys Targaryen, Jon Snow
- Collin Wilson explains how to apply the concept of a Calcutta auction to a 'Game of Thrones' betting game.
- It involves bidding on characters and winning a percentage of the prize pool based on what happens in Season 8.
One of the greatest television shows in history is winding down faster than a Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish trial at Winterfell.
The final season of Game of Thrones begins Sunday, April 14. There’s plenty of emotional investment in the show, from the fate of Arya Stark to The Mountain vs. The Hound to the impending Sansa-Tyrion heel turn.
Now there’s a way to become financially invested in the final six episodes: A Calcutta auction.
Gamblers have long participated in Calcutta auctions for March Madness and the Masters; we’re just applying the template to a Game of Thrones sell-off.
The rules are pretty simple:
- A pool of 23 characters are auctioned off to a group of participants and awarded to the highest bidders.
- The character to win one of the categories that we’ll outline below earns a percentage of the total auctioned pot for the winning bidder.
Now grab your co-workers, family members, friends and foes — it’s time to run through the 23 characters and the various categories, then dig into how to award each category and its corresponding percentage of the pot.
HOW TO REWARD EACH CATEGORY
Final Ruler of Westeros (25%)
This category is defined as the person sitting on the Iron Throne as the ruler of Westeros at the conclusion of Season 8. The character to win this title earns 25% of the total auctioned pot for the winning bidder.
Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen have long been favorites, but there are dark horses in the field. For example, last July I wrote about 75-1 odds on Robert Baratheon’s bastard son Gendry having legs.
First to Die (10%)
Is there any hope for the Greyjoy name?
Presumably one member of House Greyjoy will make it through the series to rule the Iron Islands. Yara Greyjoy has long been the favorite, but actress Gemma Whelan confirmed a scheduling clash with having a baby kept her from promotional shoots. Personally, the Greyjoy story should string out to Episode 5 so we can all continue to hear “WHAT IS DEAD MAY NEVER DIE.”
First to say “Winter” (5%)
This is a total crapshoot category.
We can confirm from trailers that Episode 1 is all about the march of Dany and Jon into Winterfell.
The world will be sobbing when Jon and Arya reunite for the first time in almost a decade, but this could be 10-plus different characters.
Additional Strategy: Stark children love to mention the famous words “winter is coming” spoken to them by their late father, Eddard Stark. Spend an extra buck or two in the auction to steal this category when buying a Stark.
First to Have Sex (2.5%/2.5%)
Note: If the first sex of the season is not between two characters included in this auction, 5% will go to a single participant. Sex is defined as an inferred physical love scene. Greyworm and Missandei technically had sex under this rule. Tywin Lannister and Shea did not share a scene, so under this rule they did not.
There are plenty of options in this category.
Tyrion might stop at a brothel in Mole’s Town. Arya and Gendry could reconnect in the first episode. Even Samwell Tarly could attempt to make baby Sam No. 2.
All of my money for this bid centers around two characters: Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister. We have all waited five seasons for the sparks in the bathtub to mean something.
Additional Strategy: Jaime and Brienne are sleepers in plenty of categories, whether it be sex, killing Cersei or even first to die. Be an active bidder with these two.
First/Last to Drink Wine (5% each)
Another crapshoot of a category that will net some of the auction pot.
We can rule out the non-drinkers like Bran Stark, the Night King and Varys. The Hound isn’t picky and would take wine or ale, while Tyrion is the biggest drunk in Westeros.
Let us not kid ourselves, though — this category belongs to only one character. That character was famous enough to show her talents with Jimmy Kimmel.
Additional Strategy: Cersei Lannister’s character is currently pregnant, but that didn’t stop her from drinking wine twice in the official Season 8 trailer.
Pay extra for the current Queen.
Bounty Pool (30%)
There are plenty of “first to perish” props on the open market, but an auction allows you to have a Bounty Pool. The idea is simple enough: If you own a character who kills someone in the pool, you collect a bounty.
Similar to playing poker, knocking someone out of a tournament earns a bounty in Texas Hold’Em. Here are the payouts, in terms of percentage of the total pot paid out for killing each of the following characters:
Kill Jon 4.5%
Kill Dany 4.5%
Kill Cersei 4.5%
Kill Night King 4.5%
Kill Jaime 3%
Kill Arya 3%
Kill Tyrion 3%
Kill Sansa 3%
Important note: If the character does not die, the owner of the character collects the bounty.
Example: If Arya Stark murders Cersei Lannister, then the owner of the youngest lady in the Stark family receives 15% of the Bounty Pool pot. But if Cersei does not die throughout the series, the current Queen’s owner will collect 15%.
Additional Strategy: Although no spoilers have leaked, it is realistic to think all three Lannisters could kill each other in one swoop.
Arya Stark is the clear-cut leader for your bidding action. As mentioned before, she owns a dagger that can kill the Night King. She also has a list of people to murder, including Cersei Lannister.
Winterfell, Kings Landing and the Twins (15%)
Another part of the auction pool that is self explanatory: Who will be the first character shown in these three locations?
The answer to Winterfell will come right out of the gate as Jon and Dany march North on the Kingsroad. Arya and Sansa Stark are the clear-cut favorites for Winterfell, while Cersei Lannister is nested in King’s Landing.
The real question is the Twins, home of the Red Wedding massacre. Scoping out the 25-second mark of the first Season 8 teaser shows a fire and ice clash directly on the Twins.
Additional Strategy: If the final battle truly comes at the Twins, the Night King could be the leader for that site.
My money will again be on Arya Stark. She should be in the fold with Jon Snow through every battle, possibly as a faceless man in a scout role to collect information.
Editor’s note: The opinions on this game is from the individual writer and are based on his research, analysis and perspective.