One of the largest, lengthiest and liveliest poker runs in the country is taking place in the swamps of Louisiana in less than six weeks. The 25th annual Tickfaw 200 Poker Run returns to Blood River Landing in Springfield, La., on May 4-5, and larger-than-life marina owner Joey Fontenot can’t wait for the boats and trailers to start filing in.
“It’s Vegas rules now—what happens at Blood River Landing, stays at Blood River Landing,” Fontenot said with a ragin’ Cajun cackle. “It’s going to be one hell of a party in the swamp, ya know?
“We’ve added some longer stops this year so you’re gonna have to run 200 miles,” he added. “You’ll probably need both days to get through the poker run.”
With eight stops to hit, poker runners can start at noon on Friday from anywhere on the run and must have completed ID badges turned in to the Blood River Landing Fun House by 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. The special Tickfaw 200 ID badges—each one represents a hand (you can get as many as you like for a $200 donation)—will be punched with unique hole-punch at each stop. The run crosses seven waterways, including the Blind River, Blood River, Lake Pontchartrain and Tickfaw River.
Fontenot, who allows participants to bring their RVs and stay on the Blood River Landing property for free, said the event also includes a festive blessing of the boats by a local priest on Saturday at noon. The marina has live music from the Allison Collins Band on tap for Thursday, Friday and Saturday night.
There’s also a “chicken-drop” on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Riverside Bar in Madisonville, La. Proceeds from the poker run, which was founded by the late Charlie Albert, aka Crazy Charlie, benefits the local Police and Fire & Rescue departments.
“Last year we raised almost $8,000 for police boats and some of the local dive teams,” Fontenot said. “We try to put all the money we raise back to the river. If it wasn’t for the water, we wouldn’t have any of this.”