1000 Islands Kingston Poker Run 2023

1000 Islands Kingston Poker Run 2023 Apr 17, 2024
1000 Islands poker run

Story by Jarrett Matthews

Photos by Norm Rosen & Fast Loud Photography

The 2023 1000 Islands Poker Run was another fever-pitch weekend on the Poker Runs of America Tour. The air crackled with excitement as nearly 100 of the world’s most beautiful and magnificent offshore boats converge on the city of Kingston. 

As many of the participants and thousands of visitors filled the restaurants, bars, and anywhere you ever wanted to go. The 1000 Islands Can-Am Poker Run is known as the largest waterfront event of the summer and it is where each year both Americans and Canadians go head-to-head, battling it out on the mighty St. Lawrence River, all seeking the best poker hand. 

This is not a race, it is a game of chance, where only the boat or boater with the best poker hand is declared the winner. SPEED has no bearing on these bragging rights. After organizing and running over 300 events since the conception of our Poker Runs, I have never seen so much new artillery, along with various engine configurations, from outboards to inboards. 

In these 300+ events, Poker Runs of America and Power Boating Canada has run on almost every body of water in the United States and Canada, in cities and villages, entertaining literally thousands upon thousands of boating enthusiast in such areas as Lake Michigan, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, Lake Superior, Lake Huron, along with some major events in New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, North Carolina, South Carolina, Sarasota, Toronto, Montreal and even the Caribbean. We’ve run events in all these areas, but nothing meets the beauty and serenity of the 1000 Islands region. 

This year’s events kicked off on Friday, Aug 4th and Saturday, Aug 5th, in the City of Kingston put a different sizzle on this year’s event. Electricity was the theme of this year’s spectacle as so many builders and manufacturers are designing electric boats these days. We named it “Electric Avenue”, which is only going to get bigger and better in the Downtown of Kingston. It included incredible electric boats from sponsors like Voltari. BMW Kingston was out in full force, displaying their magnificent BMW models of both gas and electric. Even Hyundai with their electric automobile, along with other sponsors like Birch Point Marina and Krytiuk Motorsports, supplying some of the biggest power in the whole event.

Mercury Marine showcased an overwhelming amount of outboard power throughout the event, plus they even gave away an inflatable boat and motor to the first place winner. Other sponsors heavily contributed such as Velocity Powerboats, MYCO Trailers who builds some of the biggest trailers in the world for offshore boats and for the Navy, STAX Marine from Brockville with their Donzi lineup, Birch Point Performance, K-Rock Kingston, and Fountain Powerboats. It was amazing to see the glitter that surrounded the street at night.

Our charity of choice this year at the live auction was Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox, and Addington. Hosting such an event isn’t easy. It takes months of planning, hours of meetings and over 80 local volunteers from the 1000 Islands region to host such a large event. 

To raise the excitement level , the outdoor jumbo theatre screen, known as speed-zone theatre, showcased video highlights of the weekend’s event captured by the 1000 Islands Helicopters Tours, Fast Loud Photography, as well as SkyStream’s drones. What was even more exciting was the award ceremony held under the stars opposite the big screen with the assistance of the City of Kingston and DBIA, Tourism Kingston. Winning participants were projected larger than life on the jumbotron for the whole crowd to see. 

Friday night was a hit, especially with the BLU Martini Bar and Grill hosting the drivers to a meet and greet evening, entertained with live music and delicious appetizers. 

It all started Saturday morning with the breakfast and drivers meeting at the Kingston Delta Hotel. After the driver’s meeting, the event kicked off with our pace boats bringing the participants up to speed in front of Confederation Basin. As they headed East, their first card stop was at The Landing in Ivy Lea and then on under the Canadian Bridge, passing Rockport, heading to the wonderful Moose McGuire’s Pub and Grill for a delectable lunch on the water. Blockhouse Island and the City of Brockville provided the docks for the participants to tie up while stopping for a bite to eat. 

Then it was back Westerly to Kingston Harbour, with a stop at the Gananoque Boat Museum for card number four, and from there it was “hammer down” all the way to Kingston to pick up card number five. Dinner was at the Four Points Hotel where drivers were treated to a fancy meal and refreshments. After dinner, the participants made their way outside to the jumbo screen for the award presentations in front of the crowd. 

First place went to long-time poker runner, Andy McNeely, driving his Nor-Tech to victory with a “10-High Flush”. The winners received a cash-prize, as well as a Mercury inflatable boat and engine, a transmission job by Hubert Marine, a car generator that can power an entire house, electric jack by Barker Manufacturing, a gift certificate for a complimentary Poker Runs event, a Moose McGuire’s gift certificate, a two-night stay at the Delta Hotel in Kingston, gift certificate for the Lonestar, Kawartha Propellers gift certificate, and a two-night stay at the Frontenac Hotel. 

Second place went to Bob and Connie Ackley, in their 35’ Fountain “Fountasy” with a “Nine-high Straight”.

Third place went to probably one of the longest-tenured poker runners, John Landry and his grandson Kyle Landry, on their 36’ Cigarette with a “Three of a Kind”.  

Special thanks go out to our Logistics and Safety Director Dave Bodner, our Marshall Boat Captain and Coordinator Kingston’s Matt Irvine, our MC’s for the card unveiling Dave Turnbull and Bob Ackley, Treasure Island marina for letting us use their launch ramps, the BIA, Confederation Basin, the local Kingston Police and Fire Department, Brockville Marina, and Kouris Helicopter.  

First Place Dsc7098w
First place: (L-R) Mercury Marine’s Andres Nunez presents to Mr. and Mrs. Andy McNeely,
39’ Nor-Tech. CARDS: 2 2 10 8 3

Click here to see more photos from the 2023 1000 Islands Poker Run


2023 Sponsors 

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