After years of struggling with its former venue, the Florida Powerboat Club switched up things for its 2018 Tampa Bay Poker Run and moved to a downtown location—the Marriott Waterside Hotel—with plenty of dock space and easy access to thriving nightlife. A success by the accounts of most participants and FPC president Stu Jones, the event attracted 44 boats, one of the largest fleets in its history.
This year’s event, which is set for March 21-24 and is returning to the Marriott location, already has 37 boats registered. Jones said he expects the run to top 40 entries.
“The Downtown Tampa venue is still appealing to us for its abundance of hotels, dining, entertainment and docking at the Tampa Convention Center,” said Jones. “We probably lost a few boats to the MTI owners event, which is happening the same weekend. Nonetheless, our key manufacturers are making a good showing. Deep Impact, Midnight Express and Nor-Tech all will have good representation.
“And evidently, a lot of Skater catamaran owners are into this run,” he added. “We are approaching nine registered Skater for this event.”
Early arrivals to the event can participate in a casual lunch run on Friday in advance of Saturday’s poker run. A destination for the Friday outing has not yet been announced.
As usual, the FPC has parties scheduled throughout the weekend.
“Thursday night will be American Social and Friday night will be at the brand’new Harpoon Harry’s, which is right downtown,” said Jones. “Saturday night will be Jacksons Bistro, where we will complete our awards party by 10 p.m. Then the party venue converts to a nightclub open to the public. It should be a lot of fun.”