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Biking and Playing – A Guide to Global Poker Runs

POker run
A biker parks his motorcycle amid others on Duval Street Friday, Sept. 19, 2014, in Key West, Fla., during the Key West Poker Run. By nightfall Saturday, Sept. 20, thousands of bikers are expected to have made the trek down the Florida Keys Overseas Highway drawing cards at stops along the island chain to earn the chance to win a new motorcycle while raising funds for the Diabetes Research Institute. The event ends Sunday, Sept. 21. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY (Rob O'Neal/Florida Keys News Bureau/HO)

(Contributed post on poker runs for our North American readers. Photo – WLRN)

Poker and motorcycles might not seem like they combine easily, but across the world, Poker Runs have become something of a phenomenon.

The premise is that biking enthusiasts ride from location to location and upon arrival at a new place, a hand is played. The winner is the participant who has won the hand at the end of the event. Remember, it is one hand that is played, not a whole game.

It’s usually done for charity, with a recent run in Oklahoma benefitting the K-9 program at the Lawton Public Schools Police Department. KSWO reports that the event saw a number of active and former police officers take part, with a similar event held in Virginia courtesy of the Chincoteague Police Department.

In Australia, the longest Poker Run in the world took place in 2015. It spanned 2000km and had a prize of $1200 available to the winner. It attracted over 400 riders and was held in support of the Southern Cross Association, who raise funds and awareness for spina bifida and hydrocephalus, as well as for children’s charities.

Culturally, there are many similarities between poker and bikers. Both bring people and communities together, creating strong bonds through common interests and passions. It’s also much easier to follow both in the digital age, with online content bringing people together even more.

Motorcycle clubs can advertise and promote events on the internet and reach far more people, especially through social media which can target specific interests. Poker is very much the same, with people able to take up the hobby from the comfort of their own home before going to a table, or indeed their motorcycle.

If speed is your thing then there are plenty of quick poker games which help to draw in new players. In a partypoker guide to sit & go tournaments, they note how fast versions of the game are very popular, especially with new players. With speed very much at the core of being a biker, these games are likely to be a great precursor to taking part in a Poker Run.

However you choose to get into poker or biking, the Poker Runs seem to be going from strength to strength. According to Guinness World Records, the largest one ever attracted 1494 participants and raised over $130,000 (166,000 AUD) for children’s charities.

Poker Runs are not simply confined to bikes either, Poker Runs America explains how events have taken place using speedboats too. The event, that includes Chesapeake Bay in the U.S., was such a success it’s been scheduled again for July 2020.

As the interest in such events grows, it’s increasingly likely that those two records, both for number of participants and distance covered, will fall. The events are such a great way to raise money, but also to bring communities and people together who share common interests and goals.

Keep an eye out in 2020 for a Poker Run happening near you.