Berkshire Hathaway employee's almost-perfect first round nets $100,000

A factory worker in West Virginia fell one game short of winning $1 million in Berkshire Hathaway's NCAA tournament bracket contest.

The company was offering $1 million per year for life to any employee who could pick the first two rounds correctly and a lump sum of $1 million to anyone who accurately predicted the first round.

Berkshire chairman Warren Buffett told ESPN on Tuesday that the winner, who received $100,000 for going the furthest among the 96,108 brackets entered, missed one game out of the first 32. After choosing the first 29 games correctly, he picked Marquette to beat South Carolina. The Gamecocks won on Friday night by 20.

"He told me he almost didn't fill out a bracket, so he wasn't upset," Buffett said. "He told me it will help pay off some of his bills."

The contest was open to the more than 360,000 employees of Buffett's companies that fall under his holding company of Berkshire Hathaway.

The odds of getting all 32 first-round games correct this season was 1 in 3,426, according to FiveThirtyEight.

"The odds are that we'll eventually give away that $1 million," said Buffett, who added that he will hold the contest for a third straight year in 2018. "We like doing it because we often act as separate companies and this brings us all together."

Getting that $1 million per year for life by picking the first two rounds correctly might never happen, though. The odds this year? 1 in 1,943,573.

Even if it happens, there is plenty of money to go around.

Buffett is the second-richest person in the world with a net worth of $76 billion, according to Forbes. Berkshire Hathaway stock (Class A shares) is the most expensive in the world, currently trading at more than $250,000 per share.