Poker Runs: A Fun ATV Event with a Twist

Owning an ATV is a great hobby, and heading off to meets is a super way to show off your vehicle to other enthusiasts.

Every week across the US, ATV owners get together to race, perform and compare their equipment. They customize and tune, share ideas, and generally have a lot of fun in doing so. It is an engaging and involving hobby, but it is key to engage in a variety of events in order to get the most from your passion.

If you simply turned up at the same events with the same people every year, eventually things might get stale. A great way to maximize your enjoyment is to try different events or even organize your own. You might find it tough to put something together on the scale of The Best in the Desert 250, but staging a poker run within a current event or off your own back, will add a new twist to your hobby.

But what is a poker run? According to, a poker run is an event that usually takes place on motorized vehicles and charges an entry fee. Competitors then race between stages, usually five, collecting a playing card each time they arrive at a checkpoint. Usually, those checkpoints are several miles apart, occasionally as many as 50 miles, to allow for plenty of traveling. Once you complete the course, the winner is the person with the best poker hand.

They are a great charity fundraiser and are usually held for motorcycle riders and motorboat owners. However, ATV poker runs are becoming very popular indeed, and it is certainly worth considering for your next event. Not only will you raise money for a good cause of your choice, but you can have lots of fun at the same time.

You will need a basic grasp of poker, but that aspect is all about luck rather than judgment. In real poker, how you play the cards matters, with explaining that luck is only a contributing factor. There is no real skill in the poker aspect in a poker run, only in your driving. So learn to accept if you get a bum hand there is usually nothing you can do. If you want to add an element of skill, consider this twist – for every ten riders, have just nine cards available. That way, the quickest 90% through each stage will get a card, the slowest 10% will not. That might introduce an element of skill in racing. You could also offer the top 10% through each stage the chance to burn a card and get another, introducing an element of poker skill. If you wanted to be really ambitious, you could award perks for the best custom job, oddest vehicle, or best single moment of driving to enhance the poker aspect of the event further.

After that, a good course will be essential, and a selection of volunteers operating checkpoints and handing out cards. You will also need participants, and that is where the fun really starts. You might organize a poker run between you and a few ATV-owning friends or through a local club. You might be a bit more ambitious, look to the current Guinness World Record of 1,494 participants for a motorcycle poker run and aim for that. On that occasion, $130,000 was raised for a great cause, a remarkable total that also saw huge numbers of people have a lot of fun.

Always remember that the key to a good poker run is having fun and doing something for a good cause. Most importantly, perhaps, you do it all on your customized ATV with groups of like-minded people. What a great way to spend a day or weekend!

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