It’s that March Madness time of year again, which can only mean two things: watching your favorite NCAA Division I teams duke it out for the championship title and betting for a chance to win big in March Madness Pools. 

Statistics say there’s about a 1 in 120.2 billion chance of making the perfect bet. So, we’ll leave betting up to you. But what Braid lacks in prediction prowess, it makes up for in March Madness pools. 

Use Braid, and you’ll make some impressive shots of your own, from getting your family, friends, or coworkers involved to collecting cash-free betting entries to quick and easy payouts. 

We’ll show you how to do all this and more. So, keep reading to become the ultimate playmaker with your own March Madness pools.


  • How does a March Madness pool work? 
  • What you need to know about Selection Sunday, seeds, and brackets 
  • March Madness schedule  
  • What is a March Madness bracket pool?
  • Are March Madness pools legal?  
  • How to set up your March Madness bracket pool with Braid 
  • How to collect money with Pool Links 
  • 2 simple payout structures for March Madness 
  • How does March Madness pool payout?

How does a March Madness pool work? 

March Madness pools are a form of sports betting for the NCAA Division I basketball tournament that takes place every March and April. 

With March Madness, you don’t bet on one game like you would during the Super Bowl. Instead, you bet on 68 teams who compete in seven rounds. 

What you need to know about Selection Sunday, seeds, and brackets

If you’re new to the Big Dance, as this tournament is called, here’s a brief overview so you feel more confident about March Madness pools and betting. 

Selection Sunday

There are approximately 350 college basketball teams in the U.S. Who gets to compete during March Madness? 

Every year, a Selection Committee reveals the 68 teams that will compete on “Selection Sunday.”

32 teams get automatic entry for winning their conference championships with automatic bids. The committee picks the remaining 36 teams using at-large bids. These are reserved for teams that didn’t win their conferences but still impressed the committee and won a spot in the NCAA Tournament. 


Before teams play a single game, the Selection Committee ranks them. This ranking is the team’s “seed.” 

Initially, teams are ranked 1 through 68. Based on their seed, the four lowest-ranked automatic bid teams play against the four lowest-ranked at-large teams in a round called the “First Four.”

The remaining 64 teams are divided into four regions (East, West, Midwest, and South), with 16 teams in each. 

Each team is ranked from 1 to 16, and these seed rankings determine team matchups for the rest of the tournament.

Does it sound like a lot to keep track of? That’s what brackets are for. 


Brackets shows the team matchups based on seed rankings. When you fill out your bracket, you predict who you think will win each of these games.

Some people fill out brackets through online platforms, like ESPN. But if you want to keep it simple with family, friends, or coworkers, you can easily download and print bracket forms online. Everyone fills out two copies of their bracket, and they keep one copy for their records and submit the other to you to keep track of bets throughout the tournament. 

Everyone must pick a winning team for every game when completing the bracket. But it doesn’t have to be stressful. 

You can bet on higher-seed teams. Or, put money on historically successful teams. Some people even bet on which mascots will get into fights. 

There's no right way to fill out brackets. Just be sure everyone completes and hands them in before the First Four game.

March Madness schedule 

The tournament sticks to the same schedule every year.  As you can see, there are many games to bet on!

  • First Four: As we know by now, the First Four is when the 4 lowest-ranked automatic bid teams play against the 4 lowest-ranked at-large teams. 4 teams get eliminated, and you’re left with the remaining field of 64 teams. 
  • First Round: Here, 64 teams are split into 4 regions, with 16 teams each. Those regions are seeded from 1 to 16. The top teams play the bottom teams. For example, 1st and 16th; 2nd and 15th, etc. 
  • Second Round: 32 teams compete in the Second Round and 16 teams go on to the next one. 
  • Sweet 16: Here, 16 teams compete, and the winners of each game advance to the Elite Eight.
  • Elite Eight: This is the regional championship when 4 winning teams advance to the Final Four.
  • Final Four: During the penultimate round, only 4 teams compete, and the winners advance to the national championship.
  • NCAA championship game: The 2 semifinal victors play to win the championship.

Before the First Four kicks off, remember to: 

  • Fill out your bracket and collect everyone else’s, and
  • Set up your March Madness Pool so everyone can place their bets and contribute to the pool in time.

Ready to set up your March Madness Pool? Learn how to get started here.

What is a March Madness bracket pool?

A March Madness bracket pool is where everyone in your group contributes their entry fee or betting entry. The lower the entry fee, the more likely people are to participate. This also ensures that the winners come away with an enticing prize. Some pools price entry fees between $10 and $20. 

Braid does not provide legal advice. So, please research sports betting laws online to understand your state’s legislature. Braid reserves the right to terminate a money pool if it violates our terms and conditions. 

How to set up your March Madness bracket pool with Braid

Braid Pools only take a couple of minutes to set up and use. Just follow these three steps and you’re good to go.

  1. Download Braid. It’s free to use. 
  2. Start a pool. Pick an avatar, name, and color. You can change these later on if you want. 
  3. Verify your identity. (Braid is required to do this by our bank partner.) We only ask a few quick questions and it only takes a few minutes. 

Now that you have your pool set up, follow these five steps to set up your Pool Link to effortlessly collect betting entries.

  1. Create your Pool Link by selecting “Collect $”. From there, give your Pool Link a name, description, and image. You can preview it before you share it. 
  2. Set the amount for contributors to pay to make it easier on everyone. 
  3. Customize your Pool Link so people know exactly what it’s for when they receive it. 
  4. Share your Pool Link via text, email, social media, QR codes, and more to collect money. Contributors don't need a Braid account to contribute.
  5. Contributors can pay into the pool for free by debit card. They can also pay into the pool by credit card for a 3% fee. 

Braid Pools are ideal for March Madness because it’s inclusive: everyone can contribute without a Braid account. Plus, you can manage everyone’s betting entries and payout winners from the same pool.

Start collecting money for your March Madness pools! Click here to get started.

2 simple payout structures for March Madness

Before you see how easy it is to payout winners from your Braid Pool, consider these pool payout structures. One of them might be perfect for your group. 

1. This first payout structure is based on the number of pool participants.

Table showing example payout structures

2. This second payout structure is based on points earned from each round. The person with the most points at the end of the tournament wins. You can also have 2nd and 3rd place winners.


How does March Madness pool payout?

Once everyone has submitted their final brackets and contributed to the pool, sit back and watch some amazing basketball.  When it comes time to payout the lucky winners, here’s what you do:

Use Money Links: To send money to non-Braid users, Braid generates a link for them to claim the money in the form of Braid Cash. To share the Money Link, copy and send it via text, email, etc. Feel free to add a custom message and remind them that the link expires in 14 days. 

Try Instant Send: If winners prefer to receive their winnings differently, use Instant Send. This transfers pool money to your bank account in minutes for a small convenience fee. From there, you can give people their cash award. 

March Madness will be here soon and Braid is the easiest way to set up your March Madness Pools. With one pool, you can easily collect everyone’s betting entries and award payouts to the lucky winners.