Bicycle poker runs? An interesting twist on a benefit ride.

Bicycle poker runs in recent years are transforming the way people look at cycling. While the Tour de France and the yellow jersey defined competitive cycling in the past couple of decades, more and more new people, especially non-enthusiasts, are becoming interested in participating in benefit rides through poker runs. The mass appeal of these races, which basically requires any type of bicycle and the simple knowledge of basic poker hands, makes poker runs an instant hit in cities and towns across the United States and around the world.
When cycling is combined with poker
The standard bicycle poker run found in many races across the US and elsewhere works like this: at the start of a predetermined route, each cyclist is given a score card that must be filled in as they pass by five or seven pit stops. In each of these stops, participants must randomly draw a playing card, which should be recorded on the score card. The cyclist with the best five- or seven-card poker hand at the finish line will be proclaimed the winner.
A melting pot of professionals and amateurs
Bicycle poker runs have attracted professional card sharks and cyclists. Former partypoker presenter Tony G and World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth had previously pedaled their way to a poker run during the sidelines of a World Poker Tour (WPT) event, while BMX rider Matt Kelty has been showing his card prowess in celebrity poker tournaments. But a bicycle poker run’s appeal lies not with a few big names that grace the road race, but the throngs of non-professional poker players and cyclists who participate in these events. A racer may ride with any type of bicycle s/he has, be it a cyclo-cross, a mountain bike or a hybrid. Conversely, one doesn’t have to be an expert in bluffing and placing bets to join; only basic knowledge of poker hands from a single pair to royal flush is needed in the race.

Pedaling for a cause
One important aspect of bicycle poker runs is its objective of supporting charitable causes. These races are usually organized by bicycle clubs and advocacy groups as fundraisers in support of their chosen causes, such as treatment for cancer patients, maintenance of animal shelters, protection of human rights and the like. Thanks to the popularity of poker runs, a global initiative called the “World Bicycle Relief” was established to generate funds for bicycle advocacy in the far-flung areas of the world.