Given that his business model hinges on producing poker runs, Florida Powerboat Club president Stu Jones has had a more-than-challenging year. Just two of the five events he had planned from January to present have actually happened. Two have been postponed and rescheduled, while one—the Pompano Beach, Fla., club’s Bimini, Bahamas Rendezvous—has been outright cancelled. While Jones and company still plan on producing the Key West Poker Run in early November, its fate is anything but certain.
The Emerald Coast Poker Run will be third event of the 2020 Florida Powerboat Club season. Photo copyright of the Florida Powerboat Club/speedonthewater.com.
So Jones is understandably excited that his Emerald Coast Powerboat Week Poker Run, scheduled for August 12-16 in Destin, Fla., has the greenlight with 65 boats registered. Jones said there is “no chance” of the event being cancelled.
“We are getting a last-minute wave of boats but I don’t expect it to get to more than 75 teams,” he said, then chuckled. “We have been jumping through hoops of burning fire that are barely wide enough for me to fit through to make it happen. There have been many, many challenges, mostly that nobody wants to host parties.
“We just have to let people know that they are on their own for Thursday and Friday night and they’re going to have to figure it out,” he continued. “Luckily, I was able to book the Destin Fort Walton Beach Convention Center for the Saturday night party. They will be able to accommodate us with all COVID-19 safety guidelines in place.”
Jones is expecting 300 participants for the Saturday night celebration at the convention center. The venue can accommodate more than 2,000 people.
“We are using open areas for buffets, our silent auction and our poker-card tables,” said Jones. “They did a very nice layout for us. I think it’ll work great.”