No one said organizing—much less profiting from—poker runs is easy, and no one knows that better than Anthony Scioli of Buffalo, N.Y. After five years of producing poker-runs that were well-received but attracted small groups and were less-than-profitable, the Elite Poker Runs LLC founder had not decided by the end of 2019 if he would return as an organizer.
The Erie Poker Run saw the best conditions in its five-year history in 2019. Photos courtesy/copyright Jeff Helmkamp/J Helmkamp Photography.
The good news for Scioli and his loyal group of supporters? The Erie, Pa., and Mentor, Ohio, poker runs are back for 2020 and registration opened yesterday. At issue for Scioli was corporate sponsorship, and with Empire Landscaping and Snow Removal and American Custom Marine backing the Erie event, and Carver Financial, Ruff Neon, J.T. Concrete and Excalibur Auto Body behind the Mentor happening, he decided devote himself to another poker-run series.
“I’d like to have 40-plus boats in Erie and Mentor,” he said. “That’s my goal this year.
Set for June 26-27 and based out of its longstanding Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel host venue, the Erie run costs $350 for the boat and captain, $150 per crew member and $100 per slip at Wolverine Marina in the Erie Basin.
“For Erie, we are adding a car poker-run starting Friday morning from Buffalo and ending at the host hotel in Erie,” said Scioli. “We’re doing this to build on the excitement McLaren Boston brought with its vehicles last year and increasing exposure. I already have guys commented to bringing their boats and cars.”
After a one-year hiatus, the Mentor Poker Run is returning to its Mentor Harbor Yacht Club headquarters July 24-25. Registration fees for the Mentor run, which Scioli has described as his “most family friendly” event, are the same as those for Erie.
Rather than planning anything “official” for the Friday night before each poker run, Scioli is leaving that evening open for his guests to explore the local nightlife on their own or in groups.
The Mentor Poker Run is Scioli’s most family-oriented event.
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