If you’ve never heard of a Poker Run, prepare to be blown away by this pastime that is sweeping the globe. You don’t need to have any kind of poker skills or even understand poker strategy to be successful at a poker run. While it is not a race, speed can certainly help you in some events.
- What Is A Poker Run Boat Race Game
- What Is A Poker Run Boat Race Results
- What Is A Poker Run Boat Race Entries
What is a Poker Run? A poker run is an event where normally participants travel to 5 to 7 stops to collect a playing card at each location. The event is timed and the team or player with the best poker hand using all 5 cards wins the event. Boats, motorcycles, or bicycles are typically used in a poker run.
Black Pearl Racing, A boat that has been recently campaigned on numerous fun runs and poker runs won the P3 class at Clear water over the weekend. Complete with a full stereo, coolers, and cup holders, not only did the 38 ft. Fountain win, they dominated the rest of the fleet. What is a Poker Run? A poker run is an event where normally participants travel to 5 to 7 stops to collect a playing card at each location. The event is timed and the team or player with the best poker hand using all 5 cards wins the event. Boats, motorcycles, or bicycles are typically used in a poker run.
If you are still unclear, we will break it down further, show you what great fun this experience can be, and offer you tips for hosting your very own Poker Run event. It is not as complicated as it sounds but could be adrenaline rush or event-hook that you’ve been looking for.
Poker Run Details
To show you a hands-on example of whata Poker Run is, check out this event on Eventbrite.Located in Ohio in the Summer of 2020, the Poker Run event is 76miles of biking to be held between two cities.
The goal is to go to the end and back, stopping at bars and fun spots along the way to collect your cards.
“The most popular poker runs thus far have been motorcycle runs, but the format has spread to boats, planes, bicycles and just about any other form of transport you can think of. There’s no reason why you can’t make your event a poker walk, rather than a poker run.” – SDWR
If you are picturing the ‘Amazing Race,’ television show now, you’re not wrong. But also not right.
Imagine this race without the realimportance of arriving first. Even the group that arrives last,could still have the best poker hand. This is the purpose of thegame, which is precisely why it is not a race.
In fact, having the best hand will be a matter of luck, but that is why this event is so enjoyable for all ages.
The organizers will usually boast a small fee to join because they are often fundraisers for charitable causes. This is an affordable way to give back to a cause, race around getting drinks and snacks along the way and enjoy some family/friend bonding with your group.
Rules of a Poker Run
The rules will always be up to the hostof the game. So oftentimes, these are adaptable to each player,event, or goal of the host.
Some ideas for rules to get startedare:
- You will purchase your scoring card at the first stop, and this will be your entrance into the competition. (This money 100% goes back to the XYZ Foundation to help with XYZ)
- You will get a stamp on your hand for each stop your scorecard that represents the card you’ve drawn.
- Players must stop at each stop for a stamp, or they are automatically disqualified.
- All stops must be completed within 6 hours (or however long you prefer). You must reach the final stop by 6:00 p.m. or you are disqualified.
- Once you’ve reached the last stop, you will have the opportunity to pay extra to draw another card.
- You will submit your scoring card and the best 5 (if you’ve paid extra for a 6th) will be marked as your group’s ‘hand.’
- The group with the best hand of cards at the end, wins!
Standard card measurement techniques will be used to determine the group with the best hand. You are looking for great hands in poker such as:
- Two-Pair- Just as it sounds, you have 2 different pairs in your hand. Common.
- Trips– You hold three cards of the same number. Fairly common
- Straight- 5 cards in a row. Somewhat rare.
- Flush- All the same suit. Somewhat rare.
- Full house- 3 of a kind and a pair. For example, 99955 is a full house. Rare.
- 4 of a kind- 4 cards with the same number. Very rare.
- Straight flush- 5 cards in a row with the same suit. Extremely rare.
- A royal flush- An Ace high straight and flush. The rarest hand of all.
How LongDoes a Poker Run Last?
The example linked above only gives you between 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to bike over 75 miles. The creator of each Poker run will always establish the rules, but they often do not exceed a weekend.
Poker Runs are often annual events that will be completed within the span of one to two days. Sometimes it is a Saturday/Sunday event, but a winning team will be selected fairly quickly given the extreme tasks they are asked to complete.
As a Poker Run host, you want to be sure that all contestants can reach the final destination by the specified time and the specified means of transportation, without being disqualified for tardiness. Test the race yourself and be certain you are giving your contestants enough time.
How Many Decks of Cards are Needed for Poker Run?
You will only need one full deck forthe poker run because any more than this and contestants will receiveduplicates.
You will need a standard 52-card deck to play poker run, and do not want more contestants/stops than there are cards.
For example, if you had 15 contestants and 15 stops, there would not be enough cards for each contestant to grab 1 card per stop.
In this case, you could break up the contestants into smaller groups. So 4 groups with 5 stops would work perfectly!
Reasons to Host a Poker Run
The number of Poker Run challenges is on the rise as people discover how brilliantly fun these events can be.
You can host a poker run for thepurposes of:
- Raising money for a great cause or charitable intentions
- Bringing attention to your new business with something fun and unique
- Hosting an event that most people have never been to
- Having a wedding shower, bachelorette party, or any kind of event that you just want to add a unique activity too.
Get creative because essentially any event can benefit from the addition of a Poker Run challenge!
How to HostYour Own Poker Run?
The steps to hosting your own Poker Runevent include but are not limited to:
- Determine the purpose of your Poker Run Event. If it is charitable, a list that blatantly on any invitations or promotion that you do for the event. Always tag related hashtags for your cause, including things like #poker #challenge #gamblers #lasvegas #games #charity #giveback #XYZcharityname, etc.
- Search Engine Optimization and marketing will need to be broad yet specific enough to draw in your ideal audience and participants.
- Gather the 3-10 local businesses that you want to work with for your event. You will have to go around and ask these establishments if they would want to partner with you for this event.
- Describe to the business that like a pub crawl or any other event, it is free for them to be apart of, may make them money while people stop in for beers/food, and their business’s name will be advertised as a sponsor on your Poker Run Event list. It is a great promotion for them and asks if they would be interested in sponsoring you or giving a small cut to the charity you are working on behalf of.
- Do not pressure businesses to donate because all you really need is their excitement and involvement to want to help. Explain that they will be responsible for groups coming in to draw a card. Each business will have to stamp or write out *in pen to not be changeable* the card that each team has drawn.
- Once you’ve promoted your event, have registered players that want to be apart of, and the businesses all lined up for them to stop at, now figure out your prize.
- Once the games have begun, be sure that each team knows the time of where they need to start, and the end-time of where they need to be by the last-stop.
- Be sure that each team has a Tally and Rule Sheet that you can leave at the first stop. The first stop’s employees can be responsible for giving each team their tally sheet, as well as their single stamp for this stop. They will use this tally sheet to get their stamps at each subsequent stop.
- You will have determined beforehand what the transportation will look like for your particular event. Popular Poker Racing styles are by car, motorcycles, planes, speedboat, adding tightropes or ziplines into the mix, etc.
For example, if you wanted your audience to be along the water, find businesses along the water to make it a boat-race. Think deeply about what mechanism of commute will align with your theme. Be creative because you can host this along a popular street of bars, along an entire beach, or across a whole town.
Regardless of the transportation method and distance, be certain that your teams can make it from point A to point B in the time you’ve allotted.
Final Tips for Hosting Your Poker Run
I recommend getting a waterproof deck of playing cards. Here is a cool looking deck, found on Amazon, that will work perfectly.
Or, just find one themed for your activity. For example, if your poker run is for bikers you may want to get something a bit edgy. Here is one that my biker dad absolutely loves.
It does not matter who gets there first. This is not a race. As long as each team arrives within the allotted time, they are all playing on an equal playing field.
This is not a race, because just like poker, it comes down to luck. It all comes down to which team has the best hand at the end. It is the luck of the draw.
Be sure the prize is decent enough toentice people but not so expensive that you’ve lost money for yourinitial purpose/fundraising/charity. Your audience will understandthat funds need to go towards those that need it most. Find a prizethat is enjoyable but not costly or eating up your profits fordonations.
A pro-tip is to ask each business thatyou work with if they have anything, they would be willing to offerup in exchange for the advertisement and promotion you are bringingtheir business by advertising them as a sponsor for your great cause.
This could be things like, ‘Free beer at our bar for a month, up to 5 beers per week included,’ or promotions like this that won’t cost the bar too much. Do not pressure your businesses to donate, but if they are willing to, it can be the start of a great partnership for future Poker Runs. Perhaps what the businesses offer up to you will be a wonderful enough prize and no funds will be eaten from your donation-profits.
Whether you are hosting, competing, or just watching the festivities, poker runs are a delight for the entire family. Bring the kiddos out, enjoy races on the water and land, and prepare to experience an amazing race as you’ve never seen before.
If you are ready to run, here’s the list of Poker Run Events in America. Are you lucky enough for the challenge?
Is a poker run considered gambling? A poker run is not gambling since there is no traditional buy-in and the prize is generally not a cash award. However, be sure to check your local state laws to make sure poker runs are legal in your area.
Is a full house better than a flush? Yes, a full house beats a flush. The hand rankings in order are high card, pair, two pair, three of a kind, a straight, a flush, a full house, four of a kind, a straight flush, a royal flush.
Decades ago, motorcycle rally organizers were looking for something to make their events more compelling for participants. The novelty of simply getting together a large group for a long ride had worn off. Organizers needed a bigger and better hook.
But what if, they surmised, the long ride had several stops and at each stop participants picked up a playing card before riding to the next one—all with the goal of coming away with best five-card stud poker hand in the group? And what if the holder of that hand—or the top three holders of the top three hands—came away with some kind of prize?
Would that add to enhance the fun of the rally? The answer was a definitive yes and the popularity of motorcycle rallies with poker-run format skyrocketed. So it was only natural they would find their way into the go-fast powerboating world, and that was exactly what happened in the early 1990s when Canadian Bill Taylor founded Poker Runs America and launched a series of events. By the end of the decade, Stu Jones, another Canadian who had immigrated to the United States, founded the Florida Powerboat Club, which launched its own series of poker runs.
Though Poker Runs America still exists and produces events, their popularity and attraction have faded. The Florida Powerboat Club is still thriving, though—as you’d guess from the name of the outfit—all of its poker runs are in the Sunshine State. But the larger poker-run growth segment of the last 20 years by far has come from local, volunteer organizers who produce events to raise money for worthy causes. From the three-year-old 1,000 Islands Charity Poker Run in Upstate New York to the Boyne Thunder Poker Run, which will celebrate its 17th anniversary, one-off events are the hottest tickets in the poker-run world.
Poker-run newbies come with plenty of questions, as they should. What follows are the five most common queries from poker run novices—and the most simple and basic answers.
Poker Runs: Frequently Asked Questions
Is my boat big enough for a poker run?
What Is A Poker Run Boat Race Game
A quick review of a website covering the high-performance powerboating world (such a speedonthewater.com, as a good example), would lead you to believe that if your boat isn’t at least 30 feet long it has no business in a poker run. And while there are a lot of the boats much bigger than that at most poker runs, smaller vessels are more than welcome at most events.
That said, shorter runs in protected water are a better fit for smaller-boat owners. The Florida Powerboat Club’s Key West Poker Run, for example, covers 200 miles, a portion of which is in the open Atlantic Ocean. For a 20-foot sportboat, that likely would be much too tall of an order. But the relatively short Old Hickory Poker Run, which is moving from Nashville to Chattanooga this year, on the Tennessee River would be ideal.
Is my boat fast enough for a poker run?
No matter what kind of powerboat you own, the answer is yes because poker runs are not races and were never intended to be. The more you get into the events, the more you’ll hear organizers emphasize this. Historically speaking, bad things happen when people start racing in poker runs. If you want to race, buy an offshore raceboat built for the job and join a circuit with the requisite safety assets for racing. Poker runs are social events on open public waterways. They are not races.
How much does it cost to enter a poker run?
Poker-run entry fees vary greatly from event to event depending on location, amenities and more. But expect to pay anything from $100 to $800 to enter. If you participate in a destination poker run where the fleet travels to a location and stays there overnight (or multiple nights) lodging and dock fees will be separate from your entry fee.
Is drinking allowed during a poker run?
All reputable poker run organizers strictly prohibit captains from consuming alcoholic beverages while the run is underway. That means captains are not allow to drink at lunch or fuel stops—“just one beer” is one too many, and if the offending party is caught in the act he or she will be booted from the event, and likely all future events, by the organizer.
As for passengers, they are generally allowed to consume alcoholic beverages outside of their vessels, meaning at the lunch stop. But as a captain, you absolutely have the right to tell your passengers not to drink—and it’s a solid strategy in the event something goes wrong during the day—during the event. As the person at the helm and responsible for the safety of everyone on board, the last thing you need is an inebriated passenger when it comes time to dock, much less respond to an on-water incident if needed.
What Is A Poker Run Boat Race Results
Something else worth noting? Reputable poker-run organizers will require you to show your title and your current insurance policy when you register for their events. And while that can seem like “a hassle,” you should far and fast away from any organizer who does not ask for these documents, as that organizer likely is running an insured event.
Just one more thing: Wearing personal flotation deviceswhile underway is mandatory for all captains and passengers at all properly insured poker runs. If a poker run you’re considering has no such requirement, find another event to support.
Finding a Poker Run Near Me
At present, there is no master list of domestic poker runs. Here again, a search on an online portal such as speedonthewater.com or offshoreonly.com would prove useful. But here’s a quick list of 10 of the most popular poker runs in the United States:
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What Is A Poker Run Boat Race Entries
Editor's Note: All photos by Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.