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The Poker Run – How to Plan a Poker Run and Organize Them

Poker runs are the current trend in the motorcycle community, and there is increasing hype for these events as they are a mix of race and fun, allowing the participants to have a sportive and vibrant expedition.

What is a Poker Run?

A poker run is a platform for motorcyclists, amateur riders, and biking enthusiasts, allowing them to take unconventional routes and explore the roads while also raising funds for events, including charity, service, or a cause for welfare held by motorcyclists or vehicle-based organizations. It is patterned based on traditional poker where the dealer hands out the players five or seven cards, and the player with the best hand is declared as the winner. Similarly, instead of being handed out the playing cards, the participants must ride to predetermined locations and acquire the poker chip card. 

In a traditional poker run, the participant is handed out five cards. In some instances, as Texas hold ‘em, the participant is handed out a set of seven cards along with two hole cards, which need to combine with community cards to make the best poker hand. The participants are easily ranked best to least based on online poker hand rankings. The highest form of the category is a hand with a royal flush, next is a straight flush, and the least is being with a pair, which helps decide the best poker hands if nobody has a hand.

However, the rider must be careful in these poker runs. Dealing with the score sheet as the person with the weaker hand or the person who is drawing dead is prone to elimination as others are in for rounds of betting. For this reason, other things are involved in preventing poker from becoming a game of chance and making it a game of skill; the rider is assessed based on performance, and sometimes it is entirely a game of chance because the winner is chosen randomly. There is a chance where a rider can be chosen by paying double the amount of entry fees. 

To organize poker runs, the event leaders and event promoters study the maps to structure the trail and layout the route map, covering a 50-75 mile radius. There are five or seven stops along the route, and the riders follow the predetermined route with given checkpoints. The riders receive a card at each checkpoint and travel to the next location, gradually developing a deck of cards at the ending point with the best hand. 

The event begins when you receive a sample score sheet or a tally sheet at the starting point enlisting the checkpoints, and the rider needs to draw a card at each checkpoint. Typically, there are five checkpoints, and the players draw a card at every checkpoint. The information is recorded on the score sheet, and to simplify the issue, and sometimes people use other things like poker chips or tokens, which are much easier to evaluate from.

What is the Aim of Poker Run?

The poker run aims to bring together bikers and others with similar interests and plan an event of charity or a fund-raiser, which serves a cause and is a great way to meet everyone. People with shared interests, making new friends, understand lots of new points about the game, get the best views about someone from the friends, drawing new opinions about the prizes at different races and various ideas that may help the player win and develop more knowledge about the way to raise money, gain volunteers for the organization and draw motorcycle poker run ideas and prizes with advance planning and design for a successful ride.

And also, there are different types of poker runs which are updated at forums, like Harley Davidson forums pacific, and burnout poker run or poker chip run forum and they give out updates and ideas on how to become best hand and the trick about rankings and hand wins, door prizes and lots of places where the next poker runs take place, the best part about the event are they don’t place any expectation on the rider, nor there is focus on the last card win or the big prize. Still, they allow the rider to have an adventurous ride along a scenic route, which is a great way to relax, explore, and raise money for charity.

How to Organize a Motorcycle Poker Run?

A poker run is not a regular motorcycle rally event. Hence, it requires specific layout tasks that need to be carefully planned and organized at the event. The most important thing is to let people know about your Poker Run, gather volunteers, cross-check the secure way, inspect the pit stops, and inform the radio stations about the event and charity. Layout the rules, donation pots at the starting point, ensure the rider’s protection through providing a detailed route map and make sure that the place is with minimal obstructions and approved by the gambling commission. 

Setting Up a Poker Run

A motorcycle poker run is easy to organize and schedule with minimal people and resources as the ideas are already noted, the execution must be done in a planned way, like:

  1. Gathering people for volunteering and sponsoring the poker run, invitation cards, etc.
  2. Involve them to instruct the players through the poker run, guide them with the stops and location of each stop, a leaflet of door prizes, and a check-in point where a rider receives a playing card. At the end of the route, the cards are turned in and basic game direction.
  3. Establishing stations to note the personal details of the riders, such as their liability insurance and phone number, pin, and more.
  4. One Station with all the resources that need to be collected before starting the ride like ticket sales, route map, message boards, drawing the registrations raffle, providing entry cards, and more.
  5. One station with information like route map, entry fee, fax, a person with riders’ catalog, stops list, card, event guidelines.
  6. One station with cards, pdf form of ticket card, a raffle of the playing card and one more station with security listings, like a nearby bike shop, fax shop, fire stations, schools or school parking lot and money for the door prize and the total sum of times the riders need to stop at checkpoints along the ride and list of prizes.
  7. One station where the riders are informed about the starting point and ending point and the aggregate of card and score sheets that need to be collected at the event, and many people at each checkpoint and the time limit of the ride.
  8. Everyone who helped plan the event needs to focus on the game, know the place to guide the riders through the ride, and stop and record the information on their score sheet card.
  9. People with markers and score sheet cards at the poker run should not raffle the thing as it is considered against gambling laws.
  10. And everyone at the ride should be given a fair chance at the prizes, and the money raised at the ride must be given to the sponsored NGO.

Advertising and sponsorship:

Ensure that you submit all the game details to the local community calendars, TV channels, broadcast stations, etc. at least 2-4 weeks before the D-day.

Revenue sources:

Revenue sources which usually draw net proceeding to the game are:

  1. Sponsorships
  2. 50/50 raffle (50% of raffle to the winner and 50% to the charity)
  3. Donations, Auctions, etc.
  4. Some rides allow riders to draw an extra card(s) at an additional donation for each card collected at the run.

Rules of a Poker Run

The poker run must follow certain rules and regulations such that it doesn’t disobey the gambling laws and the game goes smoothly. Everyone at the run needs to be taken care of, so the planners must ensure there is the availability of medical needs at each stop. They should register their stops and event particulars with the local community heads and commission and obtain one card of liability. If you’re holding a raffle that awards a prize, you need to make sure that you cover the cost of door prizes. Someone must be allotted at all stops to confirm the players’ details again at each stop so that they don’t take a different path of the run. Have them draw the scoresheet card, community card, event card, and other card slots at the beginning and so that they cannot throw in a duplicate card in the poker run.

Likewise, several other things need to be taken care of at the poker run, and usually, in these poker runs, bikers of all kinds ranging from vintage to modern-day sport-bikes participate. The poker run includes all sorts of styles, formats, etc. in the run and drawing new cards in a traditional 5-card draw poker game). As far as keeping it legal (gambling laws), though the run is patterned straight out of the traditional poker, a pure game of chance, there is a game of skill involved. One club may plan a simple game of darts, and another club plans a run with a stop where riders must reach a stop at 30 feet distance in 30 seconds or time check to collect each card.

Poker runs are growing craze and hype in the biking communities because they are not just a typical racing opportunity or mock-up of poker but gives the rider a window to explore new territories like Fashion island in California, New Milton in Hampshire. It has picturesque routes and encourages people to go off-track, where you can meet someone new, discover while combining the joy of poker adds more thrilling elements to the run.

A successful poker run helps in relieving the mainstream sportive attitude in players and organizing fundraisers and helping raise the money for the victims of natural disasters, cancer patients, etc. through the NGO sponsors. For example, the biggest poker run featuring 2,136 motorcyclists has collectively raised a huge amount of funds for the fallen fighter’s foundation.

Upcoming Events of Poker

2020 has many exciting poker run event listings, and poker chip runs for every kind of rider; one of them was Sammy miller’s poker run in New Hampshire. Other poker run affairs that are yet to release their schedule are:

  1. Halloween Poker run and chili cook-off
  2. 4th Annual Travis Brunelle Memorial Poker run
  3. 14th annual Haunted Harley Poker ride
  4. 6th Annual Poker Ride to survive
  5. Vema Savannah 5th Annual Poker Tiny House Run
  6. Florida National Poker Chip Run
  7. SFBMC Dice Poker Run and Celebration
  8. SALEF ‘We ride’ Poker Run
  9. Shoot and Scoot Poker Dice Run
  10. SIFC Road Crew Riding Poker run

Many poker run competitions consist of poker elements and give the riders different options from traditional poker where one person leads the poker run, or an individual from the group collects all the cards of poker while others play. Poker run experience is a mix of  Sport, Adventure, and Fun is a combination that hits all the right chords.

Xiang Han

Xiang Han is a journalist at CapitalBay.News and has hands-on experience in the poker industry. He frequently plays online poker games and serves as a tournament consultant for popular online poker rooms.

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