Once a staple event for performance-boat enthusiasts in the Northeast, the Atlantic City Poker Run is back thanks to the Spartan Powerboat Club. The Garden State-based organization produced its first poker run—the group did organize a fun run to the location in 2019—to the famed Garden State destination last weekend. The event attracted 30 boats and 110-plus participants for the trek from Barnegat Bay Marina in Brick to the Golden Nugget Resort and Casino.
With backing from multiple sponsors including Velocity Boats and Marine Unlimited, the Spartan Powerboat Club pulled off a successful poker run from Barnegat Bay Marina to Atlantic City, N.J., last weekend. Photos courtesy/copyright of the Spartan Powerboat Club.
“The Golden Nugget is a great place to host these events because it is one of the few venues in New Jersey that can accommodate us coming by water with slips and a great hotel with top-notch food,” said Del Flores, the founder of the club. “We had a great group with the most enthusiastic and polite boaters I have ever been around.”
The event attracted several stalwart members of the New Jersey go-fast boating community including Thomas Anselmi, Bob Christie, Pete Mazzo and Tom Toto. A couple of close longtime friends, Anselmi and Christie shared the cockpit of Anselmi’s immaculate Donzi 38 ZRC. Conditions ran from flat and shallow inside—six boats actually ran aground on Barnegat Bay sandbars but were pulled out of the shallows with no incident—to “sporty” according to Flores with “threes, fours and even a few fives” in the Atlantic Ocean
Only one boat broke down in the in open water but made it safely to the final destination.
“Atlantic City was a great run,” said Christie, who owns an MTI 340X but opted to ride with his friend Anselmi. “It was different doing it in someone else’s boat, but fun. Del did a great job. The Spartan Powerboat Club is the real thing.”
Enjoy more images from the Atlantic City event in the slideshow above.
Anselmi was equally delighted with the weekend outing. The Atlantic City event was his first poker run since 2018.
“It was a great event and awesome to run with Bob,” he said. “The ocean was every bit of four to six feet with chop, but the boat ran great and it felt sweet to be back in the saddle.”
Though the tragic death of young Corey Molinari, one of the club’s most enthusiastic members, earlier this month added poignancy and sadness to the Atlantic City Poker Run atmosphere, Flores and company focused on celebrating the life of the beloved Garden State 19-year-old
“I put together a little memorial for Corey to celebrate his life with a bunch of pictures of him in a slideshow with music,” said Flores. “I spoke about him and his family and what a great all-around kid he was—and how much he loved boats.
“We’re all a bunch of tough guys here in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, but when the reel started going and that music started playing there wasn’t a dry eye in the house,” he continued. “I even found myself getting emotional, but that’s OK. Those were tears of joy and celebration for Corey Molinari.”
Next up for the Spartan Powerboat Club is the EZ Boat Fender Hudson River Lunch Run on July 17. Look for coverage on speedothewater.com.
Flanked by Tommy Paliso and Del Flores Hustler Powerboats company owner Joe LoGiudice enjoyed the run—and even had the second-best poker hand.
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