Offshore powerboat races and poker runs are a winning combination. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
You could make a case—and a pretty compelling one—that the Florida Powerboat Club’s Key West Poker Run is the most successful event of its kind. The run, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, routinely attracts 150 boats for the better part of a week to the nation’s southernmost city. And now and then, the party stops just long enough for the poker runners to catch some powerboat racing action courtesy of Super Boat International, which runs its Key West Offshore World Championships concurrently—though not in conjunction—with the poker run.
How much the poker run benefits the racing or the racing benefits the poker run is an argument for the organizers of each. What can’t be argued is that both benefit Key West in general and Duval Street in particular.
Also without question, both benefit the respective and even collective participants and fans of each activity. It doesn’t matter if a poker run boat owner never catches a single lap of the SBI races on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday or if an offshore racer doesn’t spend a minute wandering the FPC Poker Run Village. Blending poker run enthusiasts, offshore racers and the fans of both—all members of the same performance-boating family—in a small town for a week creates synergy.