A ‘full boat’: Cardsharks kayak Onset Bay

Jun 25, 2023

When playing a round of poker with Onset Bay as the cardroom, speed is inconsequential to the hand gathered during the paddle.

“If speed counts, I’ll be the last one,” said Carol Sadeck, who explored the bay with her husband Michael on Sunday, June 25 for the Onset Bay Association’s Annual Kayak Poker Run.

Thirty-six kayakers gathered at Shell Point to display their skills in water cutting and cards.

Well, not all of the participants displayed both.

“I actually looked online to see what good poker hands are,” said Laurie Benson.

Although Benson was a novice when it came to poker, she displayed her kayaking skills when quickly cruising the bay while collecting cards from the three dealers stationed throughout the water.

Wareham Free Library Director and longstanding host of the event Patrick Marshall demonstrated his years of experience by performing multiple kayak rolls, which requires the kayaker to submerge themselves in the water.

Marshall has been hosting the kayak poker run since it began in 2005 and he has become well-suited with Onset Bay.

“Truly, Onset is one of the coolest places to paddle around,” said Marshall. “You get out and you get to look over the whole bay, and that’s a sight you don’t get to see from the land.”

Even though many of the participants were more interested in kayaking than poker, they became competitive when it came to the prize categories of the best hand, worst hand, or slowest trek.

Tim Govoni was awarded for having the best hand, consisting of four-of-a-kind jacks.

“I paddled real slow and let everything happen in front of me,” Govoni said about his poker strategy.

The worst hand was awarded to Lynn Sousa, who had an ace-high and a whole lot of nothing else.

The winners of the best hand and second best hand were awarded cash prizes of $100 and $50, respectively, but the pair decided to donate most of the jackpot back to the Onset Bay Association.