Poker on the water

Jun 29, 2019

About 45 paddlers hit the waters of the Onset Bay on Saturday morning for the Annual Kayak Poker Run - a lively gathering of all vessels that can be rowed, paddled or sculled.

During the game,  kayak and canoe enthusiasts visited five checkpoints where they collected “poker cards.” The round-trip paddle route started at Shell Point Beach and traveled past Agawam Beach, Wickets Island, and Stash’s Restaurant.  

After the last paddler completed the route, participants dug into steaming pizza from Marc Anthony's. 

The prizes were also hot. The winner of the best hand was awarded $100. Second place received $50 and the third $25. Participants also earned prizes for random categories including ‘worst poker hand,’ ‘the darkest sunglasses,’ and ‘who drove the furthest.’

Last year one of the returning paddlers, Karen Rearick, won a drybag for having the closest birthday to the event. She celebrated her 50th birthday three days prior to the competition. 

Another attendee, Lee Gamache, has been an avid kayaker for 15 years and said she didn't care about “winning or losing” and instead joined the event to ‘have fun with other kayakers.”

Now in its nineteenth year, the Annual Kayak Poker Run has a growing number of participants, according to one of the organizers, Patrick Marshall. The first competition, which originally carried the name of ‘Sea Inn-Side Onset’ only had 10 paddlers. 

“It’s a chance for families to get out on the water and see Onset from a different perspective,” said Marshall. “We have a group of people that have been here pretty much for all of the events, but every year there is a group of new people that join us.”