Why playing poker on two-wheels is becoming a trend in the country
Germany prides itself on many things: its grand castles, towering ice-capped mountains, and its top-of-the-line automobiles. But one aspect that’s often overlooked in this country is its people’s love for poker. And thanks to their passion for the card game, Germans follow poker wherever it can be played – be it in casinos, in pubs, and even on the road.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that the country which produced partypoker flag bearer Marvin Rettenmaier – the first and only back-to-back champion of the World Poker Tour (WPT) – has joined the craze of playing poker while racing. These ingenious races called “poker runs” are a huge hit in many parts of the world, and are now beginning to take Germany by storm. A poker run is a competition where participants must collect playing cards along the race course, where the one with the best 5-card hand at the finish line will be declared the best poker runner. Many runs in Germany have been navigated through motorcycles, speedboats and skis, but bicycles pose a strong potential to become the most widely-used mode of racing in poker runs across the country.
Germany’s reputation as a bicycle-loving country has been reinforced by government ordinances and investments to make its cities and towns friendly to two-wheel pedal pushers. For one, Berlin is regarded as one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world, thanks to its policies such as a lenient “no helmet” policy for bikers, and its extensive network of bike lanes across the German capital. Other German cities like Greifswald in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Münster in North Rhine-Westphalia have a bicycle share rate of above 40 percent vis-a-vis other modes of transportation in these urban centres. Indeed, cycling is already part and parcel of the German way of life.
With a fertile ground to play the popular card game on two wheels, Germans are starting to organise their own bicycle poker runs. For instance, the 2012 Ride the Alps Poker Run was a 270-kilometer long distance race that traversed the mountainous terrain of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Bavaria. The race route was especially difficult due to the resort town’s elevation of 1,400 meters above sea level – a race that’s only suited for professional mountain bikers. For those who simply want to jump on the bandwagon, free-for-all poker runs are now being slated by cycling clubs in Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt.
The emergence of bicycle poker runs in Germany is an indication of both the passion of its people for poker and the peaking interest of its citizens to cycling. With more races being held across the country, it’s only a matter of time before Germany becomes the hotbed of two-wheel poker runs in Europe.