Let's be honest, gambling makes everything more fun. Even things that are already fun like going to a B's game with your buds can be enhanced by a few friendly wagers. The next time you are at a game or even just watching it at home or at your favorite watering hole, try enhancing your game watching experience by placing a few bets with your friends. The following are a few of my favorite hockey betting games:
Guess The Goal Scorer
This is a pretty simple game that you can play with a group of your friends the next time you go to a game. Before the game starts each person pitches in a certain predetermined amount (we will say $5 for the sake of this example). Make sure you get the money up front to avoid your scumbag friend that claims to not have cash on him. Sorry, it's the same rules as the Bunny Ranch: No cash = No play. Now, each person gets to select the player they think will score the first goal for the team you are rooting for. You can think of creative ways to decide who gets to select when. You can do it so each person gets just one player or multiple players. Only one person can select a player (no duplicates). If it is a small group, I recommend choosing 2 players each. If the first goal by your team is not scored by a player chosen, the money stays in the pot and carries over to the next goal. Now, each player has to pay another $5 and is given the opportunity to change their selection. Make sure the least drunk member of your party keeps track of who has who to avoid false claims by your aforementioned scumbag friend who tries to collect after an Andrew Ference goal. Once the pot has been cleared, simply re-ante and re-pick. It's a fun game for everyone. Note: you might get weird stares when yelling out "That's my guy! Give me my $6!" after Michael Ryder nets a goal.
Power Play Roulette
This game is similar to the "Pass The Cup" game played in the stands at baseball games. First take an empty plastic beer cup (those shouldn't be hard to find) and have each person in your group throw in a set amount into the cup. The person sitting furtherest to the left starts out with the cup. If the team that goes on the power play first scores during that power play, that person wins the money in the cup. If they don't score, the person who was holding the cup throws in the set amount and passes the cup to his or her right and so on. Once someone wins the money, each person re-antes and the cup is passed to the next person.
3 Star Gazing
Before the game starts, each person throws in a set amount and picks who they think the 3 Stars of The Game will be. They will pick who they think will be the 1st Star, 2nd Star, and 3rd Star. You get one point for each player you selected that was named a star (regardless of order). You will also get a bonus for each one you get in the right order: 1 point for the 3rd Star, 2 points for 2nd Star , and 3 points for 1st Star. You also get 3 bonus points for getting all three players, even if you didn't have the order right So, if you have it perfect, you will have 12 points. The person with the most points wins the pot. Tie goes to the person that correctly guessed the higher star. If both people guessed the same star, the pot is split. You got all of that? OK, good.
Betting Beers on Youth Hockey
That last one probably just confused the hell of you, so let's go with something a little easier. Don't judge me, but I love betting on the youth hockey games that a lot of teams have between periods. You know, the ones with 30 kids on the ice at the same time to play a 5 minute game? Half the time, this game is more exciting than the one you shelled out $75 to watch. My friends and I usually bet a beer on the outcome of these games. The key to this wager is simple math. There is hardly ever an even amount of kids and they don't want little Timmy to be to be left out, so they let everyone play. Make sure to do a quick count and pick the team with the extra kid. If there is an even amount of players, go with the team that has the kid that looks like he is 30 and has a pituitary issue. This same kid is usually the kid that takes this little scrimmage way too seriously and doesn't know his own strength yet. Bank on that little oaf to start roughing kids up in front of the net and popping home a garbage goal. That 1-0 lead will almost always hold up in this game, unless some jerk coach or goofy mascot decides to screw with the integrity of the game by throwing an extra puck or two on the ice.
At Home or Bar:
Just because you didn't score tickets to the big game doesn't mean you have to miss out on the fun. Most of the games above can be played at home or at the bar as well. You can also try out these fun TV wagering games:
New England hockey fans are swept up in Jack Bingo, but you could really do this with any announcer that has catch phrases.
Count the "Eh?s", "Y'Knows", and Nicknames
You may want a DVR for this game. Towards the end of each period the broadcast team will usually announce a player that will be interviewed between periods. Each person will throw in an set amount and make a prediction of how many times a player will utter an "eh?", "y'know" or refer to a teammate or opponent by his unoriginal hockey nickname (ex: Thorts, Savvy, Bergy etc.). The closest without going over wins.
This is just a sampling. There are countless wagers you can make while watching hockey to enhance your experience. Be creative and have fun with it. If you have any other ideas for friendly wagers, post them in the comments section.