Dead pool

A dead pool, also known as a death pool, is a game of prediction which involves guessing when someone will die. Sometimes it is a bet where money is involved.[1]

Modern application

In the early 20th century, death pools were popular in dangerous sports such as motorsport, for example the first edition of the Indianapolis 500.[2]


A typical modern dead pool might have players pick out celebrities who they think will die within the year. Most games start on January 1 and run for 12 months, although there are some variations on game length and timing.

In 2000, website Fucked Company claimed to be a "dot-com dead pool" which invited users to predict the next Internet startups to fail during that era's dot com bust.[3] The site itself folded in 2007 after a long history as a target for strategic lawsuits against public participation by companies.[4]

Application in contemporary society

The Dead Pool, the largest in the world,[5] uses NNDB as its source of qualified celebrities, and as arbiter of their life status.

The concept and success strategies are also detailed in a (previously) annual guide called The Dead Pool, written by KQRS-FM radio personality Mike Gelfand and author Mike Wilkinson. KQRS-FM in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota also does an annual on air dead pool contest, where show hosts and listeners will attempt to pick which celebrity will die in that calendar year.

In his AP news article "Some say death pools are in poor taste"[6] (which brought national attention to The Old Blue Eyes Celebrity Death Watch), author Matt Sedensky writes, "Players scour newspapers and Web sites for news on celebrities' health; they rely on tips from insiders; and they consider a public figure's lifestyle, absence of recent appearances and rumors of illness".

A dead pool is a key plot element of the 1988 final installment of the Dirty Harry film series, The Dead Pool. Harry investigates the players, when several people listed in a game of dead pool die in suspicious circumstances.

The Marvel Comics character Deadpool takes his name after escaping from Ajax and Dr. Killebrew, who formed their own dead pool based on which of their experimental subjects would die first.[7] In the 2016 film Deadpool, the character takes his name from a dead pool of mercenaries, himself included, who are regular patrons at his favorite bar.

In the MTV show Teen Wolf, the main plotline of Season 4 revolves around a dead pool specifically targeting the supernaturals of Beacon Hills, which is set up by a mysterious character named The Benefactor.

See also


  1. Matheson, Whitney (July 6, 2004). "Celebrity obsession extends beyond the grave". USA Today. Pop Candy (column). Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  2. Wilson, Phillip B (May 26, 2011). "Even the first Indy 500 race was a spectacle". Indianapolis Star.
  3. Festa, Paul (2002-08-26). "Dot-com dead pool brakes for Ford". CNet News. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  4. Rowan, David (17 September 2000). "The dead list". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  5. Kennedy, Kathleen (February 1, 2008), Who's in your celebrity dead pool?, Maclean, archived from the original on 12 January 2014
  6. Sedensky, Matt (December 29, 2006). "Some say death pools are in poor taste". Herald Tribune.
  7. Truffaut-Wong, Olivia. "How Did 'Deadpool' Get His Name? The Answer Is Way More Obvious Than You'd Think". Bustle. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
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