This article is part of our Survivor series.
Last year, we detailed the optimal Survivor pool strategy, which gives those who grasp it a significant edge. We don't have room to rehash all of it here, but the key points were:
Pick one team to win outright each week. If you are correct, you move on to the next week. If you're wrong – and the team loses – you're out. The last man standing is the winner. But there's one catch: You can't use the same team twice.
While the short-term goal in Survivor is to survive, the only way to actually win is to survive while everyone else perishes. It is not enough to make it through Week 12 if 80 percent of your pool is standing right there with you. Your $10 entry in a 100-person pool would have an "equity value" of only $12.50 ($1,000/80) if 79 others are still alive, too.
So, while the Vegas odds can tell you how likely it is the team you're considering will win, they cannot tell you how much that win is worth to you.
Wait, aren't all wins worth the same because they mean you survived to the subsequent week? No, they're not, because making it to Week 2 with 50 people left is worth a lot more ($1000/50 = $20) than making it to Week 2 with 80 people left ($12.50.)
In other words, you have to consider not merely whether the team you're picking is likely to win in a