Run It Once

Run It Once to Reward Poker Streamers

In Phil Galfond’s first update about the progress of his Run It Once (RUI) online poker room, he said the goal was to launch in summer of 2018. Seeing as we are now at Thanksgiving, it is clear that said date was an overpromise, but as we await the magical day that I am not allowed to play at Run It Once (being in the States), we will just have to be content with Galfond’s updates. And hey, they are quality updates, giving us some insight into the thinking of Galfond and his team. In the latest one, Galfond addresses how Run It Once will reward poker streamers.

Phil Galfond RunItOnce Poker“I started out with the dream of wanting to play WSOP tournaments on TV, then moved on to wanting to compete with the best players in the highest stakes of online cash games,” Galfond says. “Eventually, this dream of starting a poker site became my focus.”

“In recent years, a new type of poker dream has emerged – that of the poker streamer.”

Twitch streamers can make money in a few ways, such as via viewer donations, viewer subscriptions, sponsorships, and ad revenue. What Galfond wants to do is further reward poker streamers for specifically streaming their play on Run It Once. I suppose this would essentially be a form of a sponsorship and Galfond even says that his site may still “strike deals with individual streamers,” but the idea is to get as many players onboard as possible.

According to Galfond, the program being implemented isn’t even his idea. His team came up with one, but then he ran it by Run It Once pro Elías Gutierrez, who had a better one, so Galfond ran with it.

Galfond summarizes the program with a series of questions:

  • What if anyone who wanted to support Run It Once could stream and be rewarded for it?
  • What if we could help them along at each stage – walk them through setting up and getting started, promoting them as they grow, and continuing to push them with increasing rewards?
  • What if we could guide a new generation of streamers towards achieving this type of poker dream?
  • The answer is: That would be pretty cool.

The More One Streams, The More One Gets

Run It Once is going to reward poker streamers based on how much “watch time” they generate, defined as the number of cumulative hours of streaming their viewers consume. For example, if someone streams themselves playing poker at Run It Once for five hours and averages ten viewers, that’s 50 hours of watch time.

The “streamR” program, as it’s called*, has four tiers. Those who get 200 hours of watch time in a month make it to Level 1 and receive 50 percent rakeback. Level 2 and 75 percent rakeback hits at 1,200 hours a month, while Level 3 is for 8,000 hours and earns a streamer 100 percent rakeback. Level 3 streamers will effectively play for free.

The fourth level, called Team RIO, is for the most prolific streamers, those who attract 20,000 hours of watch time per month. These dedicated folks will receive 110 percent rakeback “and more.”

“Some of this ‘more’ won’t be added until after launch,” Galfond writes. “We need to see how launch goes, and we need to run the program for a little while to gather some information. We’ll definitely include some additional benefits here, but we wanted to avoid the risk of way underestimating an uncapped expense (this offer is open to anyone) before we have any real data.”

It sounds like players won’t be required to stream Run It Once games exclusively, as Galfond writes, “There are some requirements regarding minimum time streaming with our tables showing, as well as a few others, but we’ll share all of the precise requirements and additional benefits on our website in the near future.”

One would assume, though, that Run It Once will have to be featured heavily.

Not the Primary Reward System

Galfond has received some criticism for this streamR program in the poker community, mainly because some people took it to mean that other rewards would be severely limited because of the high rakeback offered for streamers. Galfond has responded to this, clarifying:

This program was created after, and on top of, our normal rake and rewards plans, which I’ll be sharing in my next post. Nobody will be getting less rakeback than they otherwise would have because of it.

Put another way: The money given back to streamRs doesn’t come out of our rewards “budget” – It comes out of our marketing budget, just like traditional sponsorship deals with streamers on other sites.

It will certainly be interesting to see what these normal rewards are going to be, especially considering how Run It Once is being bill as very much player-centric.

*I wonder when the trend of eliminating the “e” in a word ending in “er” will conclude. It’s like the “x” prefix of the 2010’s.


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