So your motorcycle club wants to sponsor a

Poker Run


Read an article about "Fund Ride" Planning
that appeared in Wing World Magazine

Over the past years we have been asked a number of times for "pointers" on planning a successful Poker Run. Below are some thoughts that we have come up with as guidelines for preparing for and running a successful charity ride. If you have other thoughts that would be beneficial please contact us so we can add your successes for others to consider.


Depending on what you have laid out in funds for food, prizes, and the like, bad weather might have you losing money rather than making money!



You want to have a 50/50 raffle when they sign up (so you make extra ,money); [50% of the take on the raffle goes to the winner drawn, and 50% goes to the club.]

You want to have a "guess the mileage for a buck" game where you have a graph full of mileage numbers and for a buck some one can buy a square. Then the person who bought the square closest to the actual mileage wins $20.

You want to plan for food and (soft) drinks afterwards... and that is the place where you can sell more 50/50 chances before the drawing.

Also either at the beginning or the end, have a table where they can buy an extra card to try and improve their hand (for a Poker Ride).

If they brought money with them you want to try to get it out of them!!!


Figure a route between 90-120 miles. Try to make your route all right hand turns... they are safer. With right hand turns the riders don't have to cross traffic (like when you turn left). When they register (and sign a ride release) have them draw a playing card. On their registration form make places at the bottom for your people to write in 6 different cards. So on the top of the form are name, address, blah, blah, blah, and on the bottom of the form are 6 blank playing cards. So when they register, they reach into the bag and pull out a card... the person there rights in one of the blank cards what it is and initials it.

Some rides I have been on keep everyone together and leave as one large group. I don't think this is the best way to go. Have registration from 9-11:00 (for example) and as people come in with groups, let them leave. They can follow your directions and do the route at their own speed. BUT on the directions tell them a time that food and prizes will be given out at the end. So if they stop for sight-seeing or whatever, they know when to be back. Add some time into the route so those that leave at 11:00 am have time to enjoy the ride before having to be at the end (which can be the same place as the beginning or a different location).

On the directions have emergency telephone numbers. These can be someone's cell or if you are using the same place for start and finish like a fire station, business, or civic club building, that works too.

Figure three stops along the route. Try to have the stops (close to) evenly placed. Also have them where the people can go the bathroom and maybe buy a coffee, candy bar or something. Other fire stations are usually good and many times they are near a convenience store or donut shop, etc. (Try not to use bar rooms).

At each stop the people draw another card and the workers write down the number. So you need playing cards and workers at each stop. Also paper bags to put the cards in and something to write with. Tell your workers to bring something to occupy them during the lulls. (Playing solitaire with the cards all day may become a little stale!)

At the end of the ride, the riders draw their final card (and buy and extra one) so they may have up to six different cards. [One visitor to the web page said they participated in a ride that at the last stop all the cards of the deck were on a board and you were given a dart to shoot at the board to get your last card!]


Have someone who is not involved with the planning run the route following your directions before the ride. This is to make sure that your directions make sense and they are right! I once was on a Poker Ride that the third of fourth turn said "LEFT" and it should have said "RIGHT." That makes for unhappy people who paid to come to your ride.

Ride the route one or two days before the poker run to ensure that construction didn't begin and you don't know about it. There should be no surprises for any of the riders on the day of the ride.

Have some one who will ride the route after the last participant has left (to sweep the route). As he or she makes each stop the people working the stops pick up and go with him. This tells your people they can head to where the food is and it also will find any participants who broke down.

Which brings up another point; have access to a trailer or truck that can retrieve broken down participants. Now we all hear jokes about HD's breaking down, but one year on the way to Americade, myself and another Red Knight broke down... and we both have Goldwings!!! (That was a long week of joking by our HD riding members).


Have coffee and donuts waiting for them at the registration point.


You want the riders to come back for your next event, so try to have prizes for many people. Solicit door prizes from area businesses and get your members to get door prizes; hats, t-shirts, oil, gift certificates, what ever you can get. When they register, have the two halves of a raffle ticket stapled to the registration. Take one half and place it in a coffee can for a drawing later. The other ticket is their "meal ticket" and also their door prize ticket.

After everyone has left the registration point, start drawing numbers from the coffee can and start stapling them to the door prizes. You can also make a display board that lists the winning numbers and the corresponding prize. Then as people finish the ride they check in and while they are waiting for others to return they can check out the door prize table to see if their ticket has won anything.

The other option for door prizes is draw the winning tickets after everyone has returned from the ride. This can be very time consuming.

Try to get a few "special" door prizes and hold them for a "public drawing." We always seemed to have a couple very gaudy, frilly, things from Fredricks of Hollywood that they could never sell. Then while we were awarding the poker prizes, 50/50 drawing, mileage guess, etc, we would also have a special drawing and make the person open it in front of the crowd... lot's of laughs.

Parking Lot etiquette. Is there room for everyone to park (safely)? Have a bunch of kick stand blocks made up and thrown around. This helps for both gravel lots and lots with fresh asphalt.

And if they have fun, they'll be back.


It's tough to guess how much food. For a few years we did pasta, but ended up with lots of leftovers. We had the most success with burgers and hot dogs. Get a few grills working. After you have an idea of how many people came to the ride, send some one out to buy the meat and rolls. You can have members make desserts... and make a big tossed salad (Garbage bag salad). Sodas for drinks.



The registration forms have a lot of information available on them. Specifically, who was there and what their address is. This becomes the basis for next year's mailing.


I know there are probably things I have forgotten. If you can think of anything that may help someone in their planning a charity ride, let me know and we'll post it hear as well.


Good Luck!