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#1: An Update and a Plan

Hey, all. It feels like a lifetime ago that I announced the impending launch of Run It Once Poker. I said that we’d be coming soon to provide a viable alternative in the online poker market – one that cares about and believes many of the things that you likely do.

You rallied behind us, you pledged your support, you were ready and waiting to play and, unfortunately, we missed our target.

Today, I’d like to explain why that happened, provide an update on our progress, and discuss one of our core values that I intend to do a better job delivering on.

A poker site should be transparent.

You didn’t hear many updates from me over this past year. There were good reasons for this, and if I had it to do over again I’m not sure what I’d change, but I’m disappointed because I told you the kind of poker site we wanted to be and my infrequent updates gave you reason to doubt we’d follow through.

Transparency is something that was, and still is, missing in online poker. It’s not easy for a large company to be transparent – I’m not criticizing or pointing fingers at other operators. I’m just stating, once again, that we at Run It Once believe very strongly in being as transparent as reasonably possible.

In this update, and especially in the several that will soon follow (more on that later), I’m going to do my best to show you the level of transparency we intend to deliver.

What’s Been Going On?

I know how common software development delays occur. I knew it before we started (though perhaps not as much as I know it now!). Believe it or not, I built a decent cushion into the estimate I was given for my first announcement.

Our software delays weren’t the typical delays that come with the territory. We made some significant missteps early in our software development (I don’t just mean our tech team – I’m as much to blame as anyone) and it set us on a course that’s been very difficult to navigate.

After a change in leadership early last year, our new tech team had to get acquainted with what was handed off to them, evaluate our options, and develop and propose a plan – not a quick process – and in the meantime we continued down the path we were on. Eventually, they came up with a plan they were excited about, but it wouldn’t be an easy choice for us.

One option was to stay the course, where we’d made significant progress but would be faced with slower future development.

The other was to redo several things in a way that allowed for more flexibility and for us to create everything we’d dreamt up, but taking those steps backward meant a much later launch date.

As a new plan was being developed and as we wrestled with our options, I didn’t know what kind of update I could offer you all. So I kept quiet, even once we chose our path, because after my experience with the first announcement, I didn’t want to make any promises that I couldn’t keep.

Our Decision

So, what do you do when you can’t choose between two options?

We didn’t want to push back launch even further, but it’s extremely important to us that we bring all of our ideas to life, so we combined our options into one that we believe gives us the best of both worlds.

We decided to stay on course and deliver part of our offering quickly while also working on changes that will allow much more flexibility in our development process going forward. This meant a sped up launch, but a slightly slower path to our final product.

The result of this is that we will be launching Run It Once Poker in 2 phases.

We’ve come far enough on Phase 1 that we’ve just begun our private beta, which means I’m finally ready to announce a launch window.

Phase 1 – Launching Summer 2018

We didn’t want to launch a subpar version of anything, so, with a long and difficult road ahead, we focused all efforts on our cash game offering.

Our Phase 1 platform will provide cash games that (we think) look and feel great and include some exciting and innovative features.

Tournaments will be added in Phase 2 (more on that below).

We decided on this for a few reasons:

  1. We didn’t want to release anything we aren’t proud of, so launching with unpolished and partial versions of multiple offerings was off the table.
  2. We figured that you’d rather have something from us than to wait much longer for us to offer everything.
  3. We were furthest along on cash games, and even if we hadn’t been, launching with tournaments only would be extremely challenging for a new site fighting for liquidity.

What to Expect from Phase 1

Though Phase 1 includes cash games only and won’t have all of the options and flexibility that will be in our final product (at least not right at launch), we’ve built a product we’re proud of that will deliver on our vision and our values.

A poker site needs to believe in the dream of poker as a career. It shouldn’t cater to professionals over other players, but it must make every policy change with the viability of the dream in mind.

We will set sensible rake for sustainable and beatable games.

It should seek to build a fun and engaging environment that all types of players enjoy playing in.

We’ll be offering a unique cash game experience, focused on fun and on pure, authentic poker.

We will have an innovative player rewards system that I believe will make both pros and recreational players happy. One which will give slightly more rewards to dedicated pros while not leaving recreational players behind, will engage recreational players and pros alike, and will make it impossible for players to leave their rewards unclaimed – a big savings for many poker sites at the expense of uninformed amateurs and aloof pros like me!

A poker site should believe in fairness… It shouldn’t let honest players, professional or recreational, be taken advantage of by others exploiting unenforceable rules. It should seek to put a stop to predatory behavior and to cheating of any kind. It should strive to create as level a playing field as possible.

New problems should be met with creative solutions.

We will protect recreational players by eliminating or severely disincentivizing multiple forms of predatory behavior in many different ways, including some original concepts. As new threats arise, as they inevitably will over time, we’ll find a way to fight back. We have been and will remain dedicated to making Run It Once a level playing field.

We have some fun features and distinct policies that you’ll have to wait to hear about, but I assure you that Run It Once Poker, even in Phase 1, will be different from the rest.

What to Expect from Phase 2

If you like our Phase 1 product, you’ll love what’s coming in Phase 2. (Read this in an announcer voice. My voice won’t work.)

Phase 2 will include:

  • General software enhancements, more user options
  • A distinct SNG offering
  • An innovative Tournament experience
  • An awesome nosebleed stakes offering, with several unique ideas from someone who’s played these games for a long time and thinks he knows what they need!

I just became ready to announce Phase 1, so I’m still a ways away from sharing estimates for Phase 2. You’ll hear from me on that once I have something concrete to tell you.

So, When’s the Next Update?

As I alluded to, I’ll be working to deliver the transparency you were promised.

The Phase 1 details above were left vague for a reason. Between now and our launch, I will be making several posts, each one dedicated to specific policies and features we’ll have at Run It Once Poker.

I’ll share the decisions we made and the concepts we came up with. I’ll explain exactly why we chose certain policies over others and I’ll detail the thought process behind our ideas, because that’s what the poker community deserves from a poker site.

I’ll probably share some designs and other fun stuff along the way!

The online poker landscape has changed since we began building Run It Once Poker. Some operators have made commendable improvements, while others have drifted even further from what we believe online poker should be.

We’re as excited as we’ve ever been to play our part in pushing online poker in the right direction, and we’re doing everything we can to make it worth the wait.