#6: From Stream to River

So far, my posts here have focused on features and policies at Run It Once Poker. Much like those posts, I’ll get into our ideas and our thought process, but today I’ll be mixing it up and discussing a specific rewards program that I’m excited to share with you. In my next post, I’m going to discuss our primary rewards program, so if this one doesn’t interest you, don’t worry!

As you know by now, we at Run It Once are very passionate about preserving the poker dream – it’s the reason we started Run It Once Poker in the first place.

If you have a personal poker dream, whether you are living it or not, it may have changed over time. Game offerings and their availability come and go, as might your interests in one poker variant or the next.

I’ve experienced this ever-shifting landscape over the past 15 years, and it was the same way before my time, when games like Limit Hold’em and 7-Card Stud took turns being the poker world’s game of choice.

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. 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.

The poker streamer shares his or her poker journey with the world, amasses fans and followers, and earns a living partially, or in some cases entirely, through sponsorship and/or affiliate deals, as well as additional revenue directly from Twitch or YouTube.

If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “maybe I should start streaming” … this post is for you.

Run It Once and Streaming

We’ve always known that in one way or another, streaming would be a focus for us.

Though we will still keep open the traditional route of striking deals with individual streamers, we knew that if we were going to break into the world of poker streaming on the scale we wanted to – no… on the scale we needed to – we would have to get more of the poker community involved.

We’ve been fortunate to have the support of the poker community, especially through all of the bumps in the road over the past couple of years with development delays. With so many of you out there wanting to support us, the goal of finding ways to reward you for it is always on our minds.

I hope that, for some of you, this is the first step towards achieving your poker dream.

So, we went to work trying to come up with some sort of creative promotion that could get a lot of the community involved in streaming on Run It Once Poker.

After plenty of brainstorming and back and forth, we finally settled on an idea we liked – one that gave streamers the chance to compete for some cool rewards.

Once we locked down the basics of the promotion, my first thought was to run it by Run It Once pro, Elías Gutierrez, who has plenty of experience in the world of poker video content, streaming included. Elías, like many of you, has been rooting for RIO Poker to succeed, and he had previously volunteered some great ideas and intelligent thoughts on operating a poker site, so I knew he would be happy to discuss this with me.

He read through our idea and said it looked good and he would help however he could. A day or two later, he asked me, “what do you think about this idea instead?”

His idea was better.

Not only was Elías’ idea great, but it fit in perfectly with what Run It Once Poker is all about: Creating a level playing field, valuing all types of players, and supporting the poker dream.

After a lot of research and a little tweaking here and there, Elías’ idea became Run It Once Poker’s plan.

The Dream

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.

At its core, the program is quite simple: Stream Run It Once Poker and get extra Rakeback. A lot of extra Rakeback.

How much rakeback are we talking here?

The percentage varies based on what kind of success you have as a streamer, but for some players, we’ll be going all the way up to 100%.

Actually, that’s not entirely accurate, because at the very highest level we’ll be crossing over the 100% line and paying you to play.

First, Let’s Get on the Same Page (FAQ)

Qualification for each level will be primarily based on your total watch time per month, and you’ll primarily be rewarded, as I mentioned, with net (extra) rakeback.

What is Watch Time?

Watch time is simply the number of hours of your stream that have been watched by someone, with all viewers added together. If you stream today for 4 hours with 10 average viewers, your watch time for that stream is 40 hours.

If you did that 10 times in a month, you’d have 400 hours of watch time for that month.

This allows us to reward popular streamers putting in fewer hours as well as streamers with a small following who dedicate a lot of their time to streaming.

If you’re supporting us, you’re part of the team, and we want to help you grow your audience.

What is Net Rakeback?

I haven’t announced our plans for rake and rewards yet (and this is NOT our primary rewards system), so announcing additional rakeback may sound hard to explain. Fortunately, I don’t think it is? Let’s try…

Net rake is what you actually pay in rake, after taking into account your rakeback/rewards. I like to think of it as ‘true rake’.

A couple of examples:

  • If you pay €90 in rake and receive €10 in rakeback, your net rake paid is €80.
  • If you pay €150 in rake and receive €70 in rakeback, your net rake paid is also €80.

In either case, if we gave you an additional 25% net rakeback, you’d get an extra €20 (25% of the €80).

If you qualified for 100% net rakeback, you’d get back the full €80 and have played rake-free.

Got it?

Good. Now we can move on.

Become a streamR

We’re introducing a 4 level program. We call everyone who qualifies for any of our levels a streamR.

As a streamR, you’ll be given guidance, tools, and you’ll be featured on the Run It Once Poker website along with a link to your channel.

If you’re supporting us, you’re part of the team, and we want to help you grow your audience.

Starting to stream isn’t easy, and growing a following is a slow process. There is a snowball effect, and we don’t want you to be discouraged in the early going and give up hope just as you’re about to get that ball moving.

We want to reward those of you putting in the effort, helping to spread the word about Run It Once Poker, as soon as we can, so it was extremely important to us that we make Level 1 very achievable.

Level 1

I believe that anyone who plays a decent amount of poker can achieve Level 1 status if they try hard enough.

To qualify, you need 200 hours of watch time per month. That means, for example, if you stream 25 hours a week with your mom and brother watching – you’ve made it (and have a very supportive family).

As a more realistic example, with 8 average viewers, you’d need to stream 25 hours a month (just 6 hours a week) to qualify.

You can do the math from there, but it gets silly with some higher viewership numbers.

If you try hard, you will achieve this. For some of you, it won’t even require much effort.

If you’ve been debating streaming but haven’t because the potential payoff is too far away, you’re exactly who we’re doing this for.

Level 1 Rewards

If you’re thinking that low requirements for Level 1 mean low rewards for Level 1, let me stop you right there.

While I think that 10% or 15% rakeback would be more than enough of a reason for many out there to stream Run It Once, especially if they already want to play on and support our site, we believe…

*don’t say it, Phil. It’s dumb.*

we believe that MORE

*Pivot. Say something else.*


*oh no*


*stop it*




I’m sorry, I really couldn’t help it. Level 1 gets 50%.

Levels 2 and Up

As mentioned, it’s important to us that people can get started and become a part of our team, but our higher levels are progressively more challenging to reach.

Here is a breakdown of each level, the watch time it takes to qualify and the rewards we’ll be giving.

You’ll notice that the “Team RIO” row says “& More.”

Some of this “more” won’t be added until after launch. 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.

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.

Wrapping up

For everyone reading who’s just decided to stream some RIO Poker, and especially those of you who would have already, I’m glad we found a way to show our appreciation, and I hope that, for some of you, this is the first step towards achieving your poker dream.

If you want to support us but aren’t interested in streaming, that’s ok! We’ll be sharing details of other rewards programs in the future.

As always, we’ll have a discussion on this post over in the Run It Once forums. Please hop in with any feedback, suggestions, or questions, or just to say hi!