Monday, January 1, 2007

Everything You Need to Know

How Do I Sign Up?
What Qualifies as a Celebrity?
How Do Points Work?
What Happens During the Year?
How Will I Know If One of My Celebrities Died?
No Cost!

Welcome to Death Pool 2008!

Yes it's still the fall, but it's never too early to start planning for next year's Death Pool. To capture the bling and to drink from the glory of the Death Cup (yes, there really is a trophy), you must consider the three PR's: 1. Prepare, 2. Prognosticate, and 3. Pray. Use these months to brush up on your diseases and comb your health watches. This time next year you'll be happy you did.


DP 2007 featured a record 30 teams. Through October 2007, several teams remain in competition to make a last-quarter leap at the coveted Cup. As we look toward 2008, we hope to continue our rapid expansion. This celebration of life is an open invitation with plenty of hors d’ouvres to go around.


How does it work? We’re glad you asked.

You submit a list of 20 celebrities – plus three alternates - that you believe will die during the 2008 calendar year. The deadline for submission is Sunday, December 9 at 1 p.m. Mark it down on your calendar so you don't forget. By turning in your list in advance of the New Year, this will grant the Commissioner's Council (CC) enough time to check on all celebrity picks. Yes, we will be watching you, so choose wisely.

We’re asking for three alternates with your list in case one of your 20 dies between December 9 and the end of 2007. We’ll recruit from the top of your alternates list to replace your fallen soldier. In addition, in case one or more of your picks has been rejected due to failure to meet necessary eligibility qualifications*, we will also then take names from your alternates list. If you require more than three alternates, we will contact you privately to make you aware of the situation.

Be sure, also, to name your squad, and include an easily identifiable shortened name, nickname, or initials by which your friends can recognize you. We will post all team rosters to the death pool blog (see: “What happens during the year?” section for more information) on New Year’s Day, but will not post full names. Therefore, when choosing your shorthand nickname, please make sure that you pick something that either describes or defines you to others. (When in doubt, we recommend using initials.)

*The CC retains all rights to determine eligibility.

How Do I Sign Up?

All it takes is an email before the deadline with a list of the 23 celebrities – the top 20 being your preferred roster and the other three as designated alternates. Please include your team name and nickname at the top. The list should be sent in any readable format to

What Qualifies as a Celebrity?

This is perhaps the hardest aspect of the entire competition. In short, it's someone who is famous in his/her own right for his/her accomplishments during his/her life, and not only famous because of his/her death. We understand that this is extraordinarily difficult to predict while the person is still living, so here are some helpful tips.

People who do not count:

People on death row, unless they die from some other malady such as starvation, suicide or homicide. Those with impending death sentences are deemed too predictable;

People famous for being the oldest living person in a state, country, continent, planet or galaxy;

People famous only on a local level. Obituaries must run inside the mainstream media. Local politicians will not count unless they have made a name for themselves in a larger arena prior to 2008.

Animals. You may not take Murray from "Mad About You.”

Concepts or trends. Disco already died. Communism, terrorism and other "isms" must be left off.

If a terrorist or someone else is announced to have died in another year, but the announcement takes place in 2008, we go by the announcement. For example, if Jimmy Hoffa's body is discovered in 2008, he WILL count.

You may not attempt an act of murder in order to help your chances of winning DP 2008. Also, you may not donate organs to keep someone from the pool alive. If you perform either of these acts, you will be immediately disqualified from competition and all of your deaths for the year will be declared null and void. Use whatever resources you have to your advantage, as long as you are neither the direct cause of death nor continuation of life.

How Do Points Work?

The points system we have utilized in the past greatly rewards those who have taken the more obscure picks that pan out. Multiple participants will be selecting the same celebrities. For every participant who has that person, the value of the celebrity goes down. For instance, there were 30 teams in DP 2007. Former mayor of Jerusalem Teddy Kollek, who died in January 2007, was on only one roster. That team was awarded the maximum value. Had a second team chosen Kollek too, Kollek’s individual value would have been reduced to 15 points (30/2). Lady Bird Johnson, however, was chosen by 10 teams, rendering her worth 30/10, or 3 points, when she passed on.

The only exception to this formula is the amount of points allotted to a "solo shot" (a death picked by only one person). In order to keep the point totals from being skewed by multiple solo shots, we've limited the maximum. For example, this past year (30 teams), a solo shot was worth 20 points. For 2008, we’ll adjust the maximum point total according to the number of participants who sign up. You’ll be informed on January 1st what this year’s scoring system is, including the maximum points total allotted to solo shots.

Note: Percentage points will always be rounded to the hundredth place in order to maximize chaos and fun.

What Happens During the Year?

During the year, the CC will contact you with breaking news to announce when points are awarded. Updated DP Score Sheets will be sent out indicating who died. We encourage you to monitor your rosters from time to time and to inform us if you hear news we haven’t yet reported.

DP 2008 need not be a "set it and forget it" experience. Our goal is to run the most active – and interactive – DP possible. To that end, The Commissioner's Council will be maintaining a blog at which we hope will be a one-stop source of limitless information. The blog will include links to team rosters, updated standings, as well as celebrity birthdays, interest-worthy stories, inside looks at rosters and strategy, and up-to-the-minute health updates and death notices.

Feel free to bookmark the blog or subscribe to it through our RSS feed. It is also a place for you to use our comments section to post feedback, jokes, comments, and general idiocy. Take a look around; by all means, use it as a resource when preparing for DP 2008. The water's always warm in this pool.

We assure you that DP 2008 takes privacy concerns very seriously, and anonymity will be protected in our blogging efforts. Your name will never appear anywhere on the site. Rosters will be posted, but will identify you only through your team name and nickname/shortened name/initials that are included with your roster.

How Will I Know if One of My Celebrities Dies?

The Commissioner's Council will do their absolute best to monitor all chosen celebrities. However, we strongly encourage each participant to periodically "manage" his/her own roster to make sure that a death hasn't fallen through the cracks. If you come across a death announcement or pertinent news item of someone from your roster, feel free to pass it along to This partnership will enable us to better serve you.

I'm Game. How Much Does it Cost?

DP is 100% gluten – and money – free.


What we need from you by the December 9 deadline:
1. Your roster of 20 celebrities along with three alternates
2. Your team name
3. Your nickname (to appear with your roster on the blog; if left blank we will use your initials)

Feel free to pass this literature along to others who might be interested in signing up. All it takes is an email in late 2007, and they're in. Please remember that DP 2008 is not sick, twisted or morbid; it's a religion.

In the immortal words of Ricky Martin:

"Here we go! Ale, Ale Ale! Go, go, go! Ale, Ale Ale!
Arriba va! El mundo esta de pie. Go, Go, Gol!! Ale, Ale, Ale…
Reach for the cup of life. 'Cause your name is on it!"

--The Commish

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