Warren Buffet, the billionaire investor and insurance tycoon, is looking for the world's greatest college basketball expert. If that's you, Buffet will hand you a prize of $1 billion.
Just in case you missed that, it was "billion" with a "b." And what do you have to do, NCAA hoops aficionados, for Warren Buffet to make you a billionaire overnight?
Well, it's simple really. Just make a 100 percent accurate bracket for the NCAA "March Madness" Division One Men's Basketball Championship, The New York Daily News reports today.
Wait, before you get too excited, let's make sure we understand what's required. Warren Buffet doesn't just want you to pick the winner of the tournament, or even who will get to the Final Four. No, to get your grubby little paws on Buffet's billion bucks, you must correctly predict the winner of every single game in the tournament, which opens March 18.
Just to put that into perspective, the odds of picking all 63 games correctly are, shall we say, long. In fact, according to National Public Radio, they are 1 in 4,294,967,296.
For the numerically challenged, that's greater than one in four billion. Let's put that in perspective. If every single person in the world's 10 most populated countries filled out a bracket — and every person made different predictions — there could still be no winner of the contest.
Oddswise, you're better off playing the Powerball lottery, where the odds are a walk-in-the-park 1 in 175,223,510.
And of course, you can always buy as many Powerball tickets as you want, or can afford. Entries in the Warren Buffet-backed basketball contest are strictly limited to one per household.
On the other hand, there's really nothing anyone can do to increase the chances of a given Powerball number coming up, except buy more tickets. But predicting basketball games is a skill. While even the most learned of college basketball sages would find it basically impossible to predict 63 consecutive games correctly in this or any competition, knowing a little something about the sport could at least increase your chances somewhat.
"There are no true odds on something like this," said Warren Buffet today. "Einstein himself could not figure out the odds."
The contest is actually sponsored by Quicken loans, but the Warren Buffet-owned Berkshire Hathaway is the insurance company that will have to pay out the prize money if anyone scores a slam dunk 63-for-63 in the contest.
If there is a winner, that lucky guy or gal can take the money in a single, lump-sum of $500 million, or collect the whole billion over 40 years, in payments of $25 million per year. Those figures are before Uncle Sam gets his hands on any of it, of course.
But even if Buffet had to pay the billion bucks out of his own pocket, he would still have more money left over than the gross domestic product of many of the world's countries. According to Forbes, Buffet is worth a mindblowing $58.5 billion, making him the fourth-richest human being in the world and the second-richest in the United States.
Here's one last catch to the contest. The deadline for entry is midnight Eastern Time on March 19. But that very night, the final "First Four" games will be played. In the "First Four" round, eight teams compete for the last four openings in the 64-team tournament bracket.
The good news is, those four games are not part of the contest. The bad news is, unless you wait until the very last moment to enter the Warren Buffet billion dollar basketball contest, you won't even know which teams are playing in the 2014 edition of March Madness. Good luck, everyone!