The Kushel Switcheroo and Your Football Box-Pool

switcherooI have gone to many Superbowl parties where the guests enter a football box-pool. The entrants buy “boxes” in a 10 x 10 grid, consisting of 100 boxes (combinations) in total. The entrants write their name in the boxes they purchase. The numbers used in the grid are chosen at random so each participant has an equal chance of receiving a favorable combination or possibly one that had little chance of being a winner.

Winners are determined by the score at the end of each quarter. For example if at the end of the first quarter the score is the Giants 7 and the Patriots 3 the winning combination is Giants 7 – Patriots 3. If you happen to have the opposite set of numbers: Patriots 7 – Giants 3 box, you are out of luck.

If at the end of the half the score is 20-6 in favor of the Giants the last digit is used so the winnings Box is (Giants 0 Patriots 6). The 7-3 combination and this 0-6 combination would be excellent boxes to have been assigned in the random drawing. This is because most football scoring takes place in increments of 7 and 3,

If one has the box Giants 5 Patriots 2 in the box-pool or some other strange set of numbers  it would be rare you would stand a chance. Both teams would need to have been involved in an aberrational scoring sequence that might include a 2 point safety, a 2 point conversion or a missed extra point.

The winner of one quarter often repeats by winning multiple quarters. This occurs when no scoring takes place in a quarter or if one teams scores 10 points. When 10 points are scored a previous total of 16 becomes a 26 keeping the number 6 (the last digit ) part of a winning box. A person who has a box that is a surefire loser, will not be in contention during any of the quarters. They will lose interest in the box-pool, and possibly the game itself. 

Since everyone is there to have fun there are a number of ways to mix things up so that a losing hand in one quarter might show promise in a different quarter. One way to do this is to randomly re-pick the numbers each quarter, essentially starting over by placing a new set of numbers across the top and side of the 10 x 10 grid. Although this works, it means that twenty numbers be pulled from a hat (or from a deck of cards choosing from an ace through a ten). Doing this four times is a chore for the person running the pool and is not always followed by the participants.

One Sunday when my buddies and I got together to watch Sunday Night Football in the men’s locker room of a golf club. I suggested that we slide the numbers over once each quarter. For example lets assume the numbers                                                                             for the Giants are:              8   1   6    2   3   9   0   5   4   7                                                             for the Patriots are:            1   9   4    6   0   3   5   7   8   2

            8    1    6   2   3   9   0   5   4    7         Giants                                                                           1|                                                                                                                                                       9|                          x                                                                                                                             4|                               x                                                                                                                         6|                                    x                                                                                                                   0|                                         x                                                                                                               3|                                                                                                                                                         5|                                                                                                                                                         7|                                                                                                                                                         8|                                                                                                                                                         2|                                                                                                                                                     Patriots

Assuming the participant had a box of 2-9 in the first quarter, they would slide the numbers 1 box to the right and 1 down, giving them a second quarter box that would create a 3-4 combination. In the third quarter it would be 9-6 and for the fourth quarter   0-0.  This would create needed variation for each quarter.

When I suggested this idea to Mr. N who runs our pool he balked at the idea saying it was too complicated. But a few weeks later he warmed up to my creation and actually tried it. Most of the men in the room were confused, Some complained because they were used to the regular way of doing things and couldn’t follow something new. Those who would have won if the boxes had remained fixed, were extremely vocal in their opposition.

Each week Mr. N Emails a humorous recap of the events of the evening and announces who won each quarter. Mr. N’s Email is necessary because some of the men leave at half-time and want to know how it all worked out. He even includes pictures of anyone who might have fallen asleep in their chair while watching the game. In his recap he referenced my name in the Email and gave me credit for the concept..

The following week Mr. G ran the box-pool in Mr. N’s absence. He too used my technique and in his recap email referred to it as the “Kushel Variation.”

The next week Mr. N was back and continued to use my technique. It was becoming a staple of our weekly box pool. In his recap, Mr. N coined a name that would live on in the annals of football history. He referred to my method as the “Kushel Switcheroo.” The name stuck and it has been called that ever since.

Incredibly grateful, I thanked Mr. N for his acknowledgment and for giving me credit by generously stamping my name onto the methodology. However, I did register a small complaint. I told him that since we are sliding the numbers over, it might be more accurate to refer to it as the “Kushel Slideroo.”

Mr. N did not change the name but after a few weeks found my method difficult to implement and explain to any participants unfamiliar with the process. So Mr. N created his own variation. Each quarter he decided to vary things in a simpler manner by adding the number one to the box combination. So the 2-9 combination becomes 3-0 in the second quarter, 4-1 in the third quarter, and a horrible 5-2 combination in quarter number four.

I told him that I liked my Slideroo concept better because it added a higher degree of randomization to the process. I proposed doing a switcheroo on the name Switcheroo by changing it to Slideroo and changing the technique back to my original way of doing things. But, Mr. N, who rules the box-pool with an iron fist, told me he would stick with adding a 1 to each quarter because it was easier to administer and easier for the men to know the boxes they had each evening.

For the last few years the box-pool has been run in this manner. Every quarter the numbers switch with the addition of the number one. So I guess the name Switcheroo really fits what we have.

At last year’s Super Bowl party Mr. N  announced the box-pool to a crowd in excess of 100 people. He  proclaimed we would be utilizing the “Kushel Switcheroo.” Many sets of eyes focused on me as I smiled and basked in the glory. I wanted to say: “Bring back the ‘Slideroo,’ ” but I bit my tongue.


P.S. Do you like the Slideroo as a way of adding variation? Do you like the Switcheroo which consists of adding the number 1 during each quarter? How about a fresh set of numbers each quarter? Or do you believe in the traditional box-pool where you keep the same box for all four quarters?

Please reply and let me know.

4 thoughts on “The Kushel Switcheroo and Your Football Box-Pool



    1. CashKushel Post author

      Way to go Michael. No worries on the taxes because you have lost more than you won. Gambling losses are deductible to the extent of gambling winnings.
      Come on Mr. N – how about some love for Michael when he finally wins a box.
      Thanks Michael for commenting on the Kushel Switcheroo.

  2. Ryan Gotschall

    I like the randomization of both the slideroo and the complete reset of numbers each quarter. Adding one to the scores after each quarter seems to be a more controlled way of varying the boxes; it seems as though this “swicheroo” reduces the chances of one person drawing terrible numbers throughout the entire game (since, for example, if you started with 2 and 5, then the next quarter you would have 3 and 6).

    I suppose I understand how the switcheroo would reduce frustration among participants (since it’s easier to follow), but it isn’t as interesting of a change, and it isn’t necessarily fairer. The slideroo and the complete reset approaches are random, and so each box has an equal chance of drawing competitive numbers.

    Maybe I’ll enter a pool for this year’s Superbowl. Thanks!


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