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Looking for Some ATV Fun? Try a Poker Run!


Spending time on your ATV zipping through woods and fields is always a blast, but there are plenty of ways you can add some twists to mix it up a bit and add some more fun and excitement.

So if you’re looking to try something new, grab some of your ATV pals and try out a poker run!

What is a poker run and how does it work?

A poker run is a type of event in which participants need to visit five or seven checkpoints, where they draw a playing card. The object is to have the best poker hand when the run is complete—the winner is completely based on chance.

Each participant will be provided with the locations of these checkpoints and, if necessary, a map to help them find their way. Some poker runs can be spread out over a pretty sizeable area, which can make a map necessary.

The person or organization putting together the poker run must make sure each checkpoint has volunteers. In addition to handing out cards, volunteers might also have snacks, water or other items to hand out to participants who pass by their area.

There are a lot of variants on the poker run. This is an event that can be done on ATV, motorcycle, boat, snowmobile, horseback or even on foot. You can organize this event yourself with a few friends, or you can participate in a large-scale poker run put together by organizations or clubs in your area.

In many cases, admission for the larger-scale events goes to benefit a selected charity, and there may be prizes handed out for participants. But the prize usually isn’t the draw for these events—remember that most of them are raising money for charity, so they’re focused on getting as much as they can to put toward their chosen cause. The real prize is the experience of the event itself and the ability to get out and zip through the country.

poker run map
Riders collect a playing card at each checkpoint. The best poker hand at the end wins!

It’s not a race—it’s an experience

Some people are hesitant to participate in poker runs, because the name might make it sound like you’re on a race. While the event usually does have a time limit, individual participants will not be timed.

Think of it as more of an organized ride or event than an actual race. You’re under no rush to finish first, especially when you consider the quality of your hand will be entirely based on the luck of the draw.

When the event is organized well, it’s also a great excuse to get out and explore some great roads and sights, either by yourself or with friends. It’s common for people to come from all over to public poker runs, so many participants will be exploring the area’s countryside for the very first time.

Giving it a shot

So now that you know all about poker runs, it’s time for you to give one a try yourself!

You can perform a simple Google search to see if there are any poker runs in your area. You might also be interested in organizing one yourself. If you take on a DIY poker run, you’ll want to start small—limit it to a group of friends and family in an area you know well. Make sure you have permission to use all of the lands you intend to use as part of the run; do not cross over into private property, and make sure you alert parks or other publicly owned land about your intention to hold a run.

Poker runs are a blast, and a great way to add an extra bit of excitement when you’re out exploring the outdoors. So don’t wait any longer — give it a try as soon as you have the opportunity!

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