top of page
Abstract Linear Background

Calcutta auction


What is a Calcutta auction?

In simplest terms, it is a way for anyone in the club to "buy" a financial interest in any of the players entered in the Directors Cup. The players are grouped into teams using their Player Ratings to keep overall strength of each team as equal as possible. Each team is auctioned off to the highest bidder. If any player in that team wins the Directors Cup, the owner or syndicate who purchased that team wins the Calcutta pool.


As promised, here are more details of the Calcutta auction which will be held on Monday night prior to the start of the Directors Cup. The Calcutta auction originated in Calcutta (now Kolkata), India, where British colonists used the format to wager on cricket. This auction format transfers easily to any sporting event, and it is commonly used today in golf tournaments and backgammon tournaments. Bettors bid on the 4-man teams competing in the tournament. The highest bidder is said to have bought a team in the Calcutta. The highest bidder now becomes the "Owner" of this 4-person team. Every 4-person team is auctioned, and the money collected is called the Calcutta pool. The Owner of the team whose player wins the Directors Cup collects 100% of the Calcutta pool. 

Responsibilities of a Team Owner
1. Makes cash payment in full to the Calcutta Auctioneer at conclusion of the auction.
2. Keeps track of the fractional ownership of his partners. Some club members will combine their money together to provide themselves with a greater chance of owning the teams they believe have the best chance of winning. They form a “syndicate”. At the most basic level, a syndicate is merely a group of club members working together to improve their chances of buying a team at the auction. In this example of multiple investors who formed a syndicate, an “Owner” is selected who bids for the syndicate.
3. Any player who does not own his own team has the right to “buy back” a 10% financial interest in himself from the Owner of his team. The player buy back requires paying 10% of the final auction price to the team’s Owner. If the player then wins the Directors Cup, he collects 10% of the Calcutta pool from the team Owner.
4. The right of a Player to buy back themselves expires 30 minutes after the auction.
5. Player buy backs must be paid in cash to the Owner immediately.
6. Owner who wins the Calcutta Pool must pay each member of the syndicate (if any) their fractional share of the total Calcutta pool and pay off any player buy backs purchased.

Calcutta Auction Bidding
1. The starting auction price for each team shall start at $50.
2. Bidding increments are $20.
3. There is no maximum Bid.
4. All winning Bids must be paid with cash to the Auctioneer.

Calcutta Auction Start
The Directors Cup auctioneer will start the Calcutta with a “Highest Bidder gets
Choice”. The auctioneer will open the auction at $100 instead of regular $50
starting auction price. Bidding will commence in $20 increments. The Highest
Bidder will get their choice of any 2-player team. This type of auction will jump
start the Calcutta Pool and build excitement. After the first 2-player team is
chosen by the highest bidder, the auction will proceed with random selection of
teams put up for Bid in no particular order.


Calcutta Auction Strategies
Any player can win the Directors Cup. Why? Because a single throw on the dice
can turn absolute victory into sudden defeat. This is the Joy and the Agony of the
game of Backgammon. To maximize your chances of winning, it is a good strategy
to diversify and own 2 or more teams instead of just one team.


If the number of entrants is greater than 16 but less than 32 players, there will be “byes” awarded to some players in the first round of the Championship Flight. Any team that includes a player having a first-round bye is a great team to own because one player on that team will only need to win 4 matches instead of 5 matches to win the Directors Cup.

Speak to other members of the Club and form a buying syndicate. Pooling your
money with others will increase your chances of winning a team or teams at the
auction. The Club will "Zoom" the Calcutta Auction on Monday night to accommodate bids from Club members not able to be at the Calcutta Auction in person. Any successful Zoom auction bidder will use PayPal or Venmo to immediately make payment to secure their winning bid.

If you don’t end up owning the team for which you are a player, make sure you
exercise your “player buy-back” option explained previously.

Lastly, as always, May the Dice be with you!

bottom of page