The real Poker Run

With World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour televised tournaments becoming even more prevalent in the last few years, the sport has now been further ingrained in the consciousness of the public. To a lot of people, poker players like Pius Heinz and Phil Hellmuth have become as recognizable as Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali. The world now has an alternative mental sport to tune in to in between chess events; and poker's popularity does not seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

Further adding to its widespread appeal (or perhaps because of it) is the emergence of a variant of the game that requires players to do so much more than just sit around a game table. Called "poker run", this variation on the basic game has participants compete in a "race" whose primary objective is to come up with a winning poker hand by the end of the run. Players start out with two or three cards, get an additional card for each lap, match them with pre-determined face-up cards, and see what card combos they get after the race.

These runs are traditionally done with modes of transportation such as cars, boats, bicycles, and most prominently, motorcycles. As popular as these wheeled (or hulled) types of poker run events are, perhaps a seemingly simpler yet ultimately more wholesome variation should be in order: a poker run where the participants actually run.

Poker is a mind sport first and foremost; and getting a feel for your opponents (or "gathering intelligence", if you will) is part and parcel of that. Riding on a motorbike with the defeaning roar of engines surrounding you might make that communicating part quite a bit of a challenge. Removing motors out of the equation and running a footrace instead might provide a better playing atmosphere vis-à-vis the poker aspect of the run. You can more easily notice certain actions your opponents do when under heavy physical and/or mental duress. Or you can run alongside them and chat them up in the hopes of getting more reads. On the flipside, you'd have to be careful about how you handle yourself as well. Running can take a lot out of you, and if you are not careful, you could be revealing a bit more than you should to the other runners.

Of course, taking note of your opponents' ticks and tells is ultimately easier on the poker table. That said, there is no denying the added level of challenge and fun that a poker game on foot can bring.

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