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Fourth Time A Charm For Erie Poker Run

For Anthony Scioli and his family of poker-run supporters, the fourth annual Erie Poker Run was—far and away—the best to date. That’s because, despite a nasty weather forecast for the area from Erie, Pa., to Dunkirk, N.Y., Lake Erie actually behaved.

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For the first time in the event’s history, glassy water greeted the participants in the Erie Poker Run yesterday. Photos courtesy Jeff Helmkamp/Jeff Helmkamp Photography.

“It was glass,” said Scioli. “From my perspective in the photo helicopter, I could set the reflections of the boat paintjobs in the water.”

Of the 20-plus registered boats, more than a dozen headed out yesterday and only one broke down—before it reached the channel to the lake beyond the Sheraton Bayfront Hotel, the event’s host venue. The remainder of the fleet made it to the lunch stop in Dunkirk and then returned to Erie.

While weather was a concern among the participants thanks to the forecast, it never really materialized, according to Scioli, who founded Elite Poker Runs, LLC, four years ago.

“It rained a little on Friday,” he said. “Four boats stayed on the trailers and didn’t make it on the run.”

Scioli paused, then chuckled. “To be honest, I think a few people saw the forecast and hit it pretty hard Friday night. Our only real delay was on Saturday morning because we didn’t have boats in the water.”

For more action from Saturday’s Erie Poker Run, check out the slideshow above.

During lunch, a front moved in and had everyone understandably concerned about the return trip, Scioli said.

“When we were leaving lunch it looked like there was a fog bank over the lake, but it was really a rainstorm,” he said. “But if you ran a mile offshore, it was clear. We didn’t get more than a minute of rain.”

The event raised $2,550 for the Erie-based Children’s Advocacy Center. On that theme, Dylan Morgan, the son of upcoming 1,000 Islands Charity Poker Run co-organizer Jeff Morgan, had the best poker hand. Born in late May, Vincenzo Mark Diorio, the son of participant Vinnie Diorio and Danielle Tindale, earned the informal “Youngest Participant” award.

Scioli, who has considered stepping back from poker-run organizing, went home encouraged.

“The Sheraton couldn’t been more accommodating,” he said. “That the thing about Erie, the city is so on board with us. I told everyone, ‘Bring just one person with you next year and this event will be fantastic.’ I think everyone left safe and happy, and at the end of the day that is all I care about. Dave Scotto (of Canada-based Team Gotta Go) is boatless right now, and he even brought his entire crew to the dinner Saturday night.

“It was great,” he added. “I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but it was good enough to make me want to do it again.”

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