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#8: A Poker Site

Over two years ago, I announced our plans to launch Run It Once Poker, and I shared my beliefs about what a poker site should be.

That post may have included an estimated launch window that we slightly overshot, but beyond that, I’m proud to say that we’ve been building a site that stands up to those beliefs.

Over the past several months, I’ve been sharing details of our features and policies with you through posts like this one.

In #1: An Update and A Plan, I discussed the development hurdles we’d faced and our plans moving forward, explaining the reasoning behind our decisions.

In #2: Laying the Groundwork, I shared some of the ideas we’d implemented as we worked towards creating a poker site with a level playing field – one that is fair to all players, strives to make practical, enforceable rules that won’t leave the honest players at a disadvantage, and addresses industry problems with creative solutions.

I talked about our approach to a streamlined user experience in #3: Just Play, and went into great detail about things I believe to be misunderstood, by many, about the casual player.  I discussed how we’ll curb predatory behavior and discourage the incessant edge-seeking that can ruin the fun for all players.

#4: Decisions, Decisions is where I first decided to ask for help from the community, opening up several site decisions to a public vote. We continue to seek community input through beta testing, forum threads, and social media, and I can’t thank you enough for the invaluable feedback you’ve provided.

I mixed things up in my 5th post, #5: Phil Plays, discussing our progress as I played a session on our poker client. We’d been delayed once again, and I felt it was important to be transparent, to show you how far we’d come and explain what still remained as you continued to wait patiently.

A new rewards program, one that we decided on only recently, was detailed in #6: From Stream to River.  Several years ago, I knew the importance of valuing the enthusiast for spreading the word, across different mediums, about their favorite site, but we only recently decided how to reward one of the most important segments of these players: the poker streamer.  I’m thrilled that we were able to act on our new idea, and I’m excited for our best supporters to play for free (or better)!

My most recent post, #7: Rake and Rewards, covered arguably the most important topic when it comes to poker.  I shared our primary rewards program, one which makes us one of the only sites to value all players equally with those rewards. In addition to another creative solution to enhance user experience and deter the predatory behavior of botting, I shared our pricing plans, and how they relate to our belief in what is fair and the viability of the poker dream.  

Moving Forward

The reactions from the community to the ideas and plans I’ve shared with you, along with the responses from our beta testers, have been inspiring.

I’ve been anxiously waiting, for years now, to unveil Run It Once Poker, and I’m excited to tell you that my wait is finally over.

In just 7 short months, all of our efforts will finally come to —- just kidding 🙂

Ladies and gentlemen, set your calendars for…


The Launch of Run It Once Poker

You heard me correctly – this Wednesday, February 6th, 2019, we’ll be opening our games to the public.

We’ll be in “Public Beta” until we view our platform as nearly flawless. You may encounter the occasional hiccup here and there as we continue to work out the kinks, add features, and make other improvements, but we’re proud of what we’ve built and we think you’re going to really enjoy playing on it.

I can’t express how excited I am to see this project come to life.  Support from the community has been overwhelming, and I’m so glad that I don’t have to ask you to wait any longer.

Your Support

Your enthusiasm for Run It Once Poker has taken us this far, and if we can deliver everything we plan to, your passion will help us grow into the company we’ve dreamt of becoming.

For an online poker app, the first few days after launch are critical.

Traffic can be limited.  Some players wait to hear about the games.  Some struggle to figure out a deposit method or can only get their money online a little bit at a time.  Most are in no rush and just haven’t gotten around to signing up.

The risk we face is that some players show up in their first few days, but not enough to create desirable levels of liquidity.  If that happens, the players who do show up see limited games, leave with a bad first impression, and may decide not to come back.

Clearing this hurdle could mean a lot for the trajectory of Run It Once Poker.  In these early days, when the player base is smaller, every single person has an impact.

Over the past two years, so, so many of you have asked me what you can do to help make Run It Once Poker a success.

I thanked you for your support… and I waited.

I didn’t ask anything of you – not because I’m a saint, but because I knew how much we would need you later on.

“Later on” is this Wednesday, and I’m here to ask if you still want to help.

If you want to help propel Run It Once Poker towards our goal of becoming a lasting positive force in the online poker world, and towards more quickly developing innovative, problem-solving ideas, here is what I’ll ask of you:

1) Play One Hand

I’m not asking you to move all of your play to Run It Once, or even to move 5% of it there.  All I’m asking is that you don’t wait. Play one hand, this Wednesday, on Run It Once Poker.

Are you a 200NL player who grinds 60 hours a week on PokerStars and thinks that’s the best option for you?  Then keep doing that – no problem! But if you can take a few minutes to sign up, deposit €10, and splash around on one table of 10NL while you watch TV, you could really help us.

Are you a recreational player who usually plays on PartyPoker?  If you’d be willing, sign up for an account, deposit whatever you want, and try us out for a couple of minutes.  If you prefer it over there, cash your money out and head right back – no problem!

That’s it. Just one hand or more, and I’ll be grateful.

2) Share One Impression

I would never ask you to say something you don’t mean, so all I ask is that you share your thoughts on Run It Once Poker somewhere.

If you like what we’re doing with Run It Once Poker, tell someone.  If you don’t like what we’ve built, tell us how we can improve.

If you play a few hands and you enjoy it, consider posting about it somewhere – share a screenshot or a video.  If you play a few hands and you don’t like it, share your experience – tell us what we can do to make it better.

One short message, anywhere, to anyone, will mean something.

That’s it. You’re done. Thank you!

If you love playing on Run It Once – awesome! That’s exactly what we were hoping for. Keep playing as much as you’d like.

If you want to engage in a conversation about us on a poker forum, social media, or with friends – fantastic!  I can’t wait to read people’s reactions.

If you want to take advantage of our streamR program and earn a lot of extra rakeback, please do!  (For you early streamRs especially, I’d love to help you grow your following and qualify for higher tiers. I’ll be in touch when time permits.)

But the point is, as far as favors go, I’m only asking for a couple of small ones, and I will truly appreciate it.  Beyond that, I want you to do whatever is best for you.

Our Poker Site

I’ve been an online poker player for my entire adult life, and for the bulk of that time I’ve wanted to help change the landscape for the better.

I’ve identified problems facing our industry, discussed them with other community members to work towards solutions, and shared ideas freely with poker sites. Unfortunately, it was hard, even as a player well-known in the community, to incite change.

The idea of running a poker site is still surreal for me.  Reaching this point has been the most challenging journey of my career, and the road that lies ahead only gets more demanding.

The deck may be stacked against us, but I believe that with just a little bit of help from you, we can make our poker dream a reality – we can conquer threats to online poker’s future through the innovations we launch with and the countless more still to come, we can be a driving force for positive change in the industry, and we can make Run It Once Poker exactly what a poker site should be.

A Poker Site Should

September 1st, 2016

A poker site should value poker players.

It should value the casual player for the money he’s willing to put on the line to play a game he loves. For choosing poker over other hobbies, and for choosing their site over other sites.

It should value the enthusiast and semi-professional for the liquidity they provide and for growing the game. For spreading the word, across different mediums, about their favorite site.

It should value the professional for embodying the dream that brings so many people to poker. For proving that poker is a game of skill. For promoting the game of poker to their fans, students, followers or subscribers.

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.

A poker site needs to be a software and user experience company. Like other software companies, it should be eager to mine the trove of knowledge, experience, ideas, and feedback that is its player base. It should seek to build a fun and engaging environment that all types of players enjoy playing in.

A poker site should be transparent. It can’t respond to every little idea, thought or wish, but it should do its best to explain its actions. It can’t seek to please everyone by making changes that hurt the business, but it shouldn’t ignore the public. It should be held accountable for the decisions it makes. It should be able to explain itself in a way that reasonable customers will understand.

A poker site should believe in fairness. Not fairness for the sake of public image and profits, but fairness for fairness’s sake. 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.

A poker site should be agile in this ever-changing online environment. New ideas for improvement should be acted on. New advances in technology should be responded to. New problems should be met with creative solutions.

A poker site should understand that it doesn’t have to lose for the players to win. Poker operators, professionals, and non-professionals all have their goals/wants/needs and these lists aren’t mutually exclusive. It is possible for policy changes to be a win-win-win, or a win-win-tie. The search for these changes should be never-ending.

A poker site shouldn’t obsess over where poker was five or ten years ago. It should seek to build a sustainable economy in the conditions of the present. It must continue to adapt to the climate.

I want a fair, honest, transparent poker site that believes in the dream that I have lived.

I’m going to give it my best shot