Pirates of Congamond Poker Run makes a comeback

By Calla Vassilopoulos - Staff Writer
Suffield - posted Thu., Aug. 22, 2013
Mike Savino sings and plays guitar at Crabby Joe's Bar and Grill on Aug. 17.
Mike Savino sings and plays guitar at Crabby Joe's Bar and Grill on Aug. 17.

Residents from Southwick, Mass., and Suffield filled the deck at Crabby Joe's Bar and Grill for the Pirates of Congamond Poker Run on Aug. 17. The event, hosted by the Citizens Restoring Congamond (CRC), began at Babb's Roller Rink and included four other stops around Congamond's middle lake. 

“It's an awesome organization,” said Pirates of Congamond and CRC member Betty Ayotte. “They do a lot of work and they do a lot of studies on the lake.”

After collecting playing cards at Saunders Boat Livery, Jimmy's Pizza and Louie B's by car, boat, motorcycle, bicycle and foot, participants ended the run at Crabby Joe's, where there were hamburgers, hot dogs, drinks, and live music by Mike Savino. Those who were unable to travel to each location had the opportunity to purchase a full hand at the final stop in Southwick, Mass.

Once the poker players reached Crabby Joe's and received all their cards, they waited in line to hand their five envelopes to CRC volunteers. The organizers opened each envelop one-by-one, while contestants waited to see their hands. The hands were organized by type: five-of-a-kind, royal flush, straight flush, four-of-a-kind, full house, flush, straight, three-of-a-kind, two pair, and a pair.

The poker run offered monetary prizes ranging from $500 to $50 to the highest four hands and t-shirts to the highest 10 hands. John Callahan won first place with a full house, Stacy Coan won second, Donna Germain won third and Patrick Eckley won fourth.

The event was also offering a grand prize of $5,000 to the highest five-of-a-kind, but of the 275 entries, no one received the hand. According to Ayotte, there were enough hands for 312 participants.

There was also a table filled with raffle prizes donated by the participating restaurants, volunteers, and Pirates of Congamond members, a sub-group of the CRC. The table included a beverage dispenser, an afghan, a TV, a DVD player, a toaster oven, a framed painting, a fishing pole, a cooler, grilling utensils and various gift baskets.

The event was the third of its kind hosted by the CRC, the last one being in 2008. According to Ayotte, they gave it a break once the economy began to crash. “Now, people are looking to do something, so we lowered the price of the hands from $50 to $25 and everybody's coming out. It's great,” said Ayotte.

The poker run was created to raise awareness of the CRC and to cover some of the costs required to maintain the lake. Ayotte said that while the towns of Southwick, Mass., and Suffield contribute, the CRC also has to provide funds for up-keep.

“Everything we do, we do it for Lake Congamond,” said Ayotte. “We all live on the water and we want to keep it clean, because we really enjoy it. We wish more people who live on the lakes would come to the CRC meetings and help us.”

Meetings are held at Crabby Joe's the second Tuesday of the month, April through October, at 7:30 p.m.


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