POKER

Run It Once Poker not ready for summer launch; 1k players to experience a taster

TAGs: Phil Galfond, Run It Once

Phil Galfond releases an update on his Run It Once online poker room project, and although Phase 1 will not be ready for a summer launch, 1,000 lucky blighters will get the opportunity to beta-test the product for real money. 

Run It Once Poker not ready for summer launch; 1k players to experience a tasterIt was always a puzzle to me why online poker room operators didn’t hire someone who worked on the Full Tilt online poker software. In my mind’s eye, it was, hands down, the most gorgeous looking and customer-focused software ever designed. And yet, we have always gotten, pardon my french – des ordures. 

Is Run It Once Poker about to change all of that?

Phil Galfond is one of the few universally liked and respected professional poker players in the world. Galfond made his name competing in the highest stakes cash games on Full Tilt and PokerStars, before becoming one of the world’s top poker instructors, first through his affiliation with BlueFirePoker and then going solo with Run It Once (RIO).

If operated well, online training sites can make you a mint. But the income pales in comparison to an online poker room if you can get your chips in order.

Back in August 2016, somewhat perturbed by the whole PokerStars Supernova Elite scandal, Galfond decided to expand his RIO brand into the online poker room business.

In his first blog post on the subject, Galfond stated that his poker room would:

– Value all poker players

– Allow people to believe in the dream of poker as a career.

– Make every policy change with the viability of the dream in mind.

– Be a software and user experience company.

– Be transparent.

– Be fair.

– Be agile.

– Understand that it doesn’t have to lose for the players to win.

– Wouldn’t obsess over where poker was five or ten years ago.

– Be fair and honest.

Galfond signed off with – “I’m going to give it my best shot.”

The initial launch date was Q1, 2017.

The date came and went.

No RIO Poker. 

Then four months ago, Galfond began updating potential customers in a series of blog post updates.

Update 1

Galfond explained how his team had encountered significant software problems brought on by a critical personnel change.

RIO Poker would launch in two phases.

Phase 1 in the summer of 2018, would focus on delivery of a cash game platform, and Phase 2 would focus on the implementation of tournaments.

Here is the blog post in full.

Update 2

Galfond announced that RIO Poker would not be Heads Up Display (HUD) friendly, players would have table aliases, and each person would have a dynamic table avatar.

Here is the blog post in full.

Update 3 

Galfond talked about the focus on getting the player to the table as fast as possible. Details emerged on seating details, the decision to use euros as the primary currency, and also some nitty-gritty on the buy-in levels.

Here is the blog post in full.

Update 4

The most recent update allowed potential customers to create the table cap, the design of the tables, front and backs of the decks, and the colour options for marking players.

Here is the blog post in full.

Phil Galfond Gives us a Sneak Peek of the Software. 

In the latest update, Galfond has given his writing hand a rest and moved into video delivery.

The 18-minute video (at the end of this piece) sees Galfond playing a single table of RIO Poker, and it looks positively spiffing. You can see straight off the bat that the speed of getting from signing up to a seat at the table is of importance to the RIO team.

You sign in, choose an avatar (or randomise), and then buy-in. There are brief notes on how your avatar works, including the emotional displays. The buy-in levels only allow for 100bb play, and there is a total player cap of six tables (chosen by the players).

The action is slick.

Instantly, you see the Full Tilt software must have been front and centre in the developer’s minds. Galfond has close to 40 people on his team, and it will be interesting to learn if any of them have experience working with the former giant.

Galfond explains that his Maltese team and most of the RIO Ambassadors have been busy playing on the site for real money since April in a bid to iron out as many kinks as possible.

Recently, the team decided to increase the avatar size by 25%, so the emotional reactions are more visible to the players. Colour tags don’t exist; instead, you can change the colour of an avatar’s shirt. The card pips have recently changed. Galfond thought the older, more faded pips looked cool, but the beta-testers wanted something that was instantly recognisable to the eye.

There are plans to change the responsiveness of the buttons.

“It makes me feel calm when I know the button is reacting to me,” said Galfond.

There are also plans to improve the bet slider and bet typing options.

Galfond also showed you the sit out policy. When you decide to sit out, you have 12-minutes to sit back down before being locked out across all tables. Galfond admitted that 12-minutes did seem like a long time, but believes if you’re playing six-tables, then it may take some time to finish playing on all of them before sitting out across the board.

There is another prominent feature that will be ready in time for the Phase 1 launch, and more features that will be available after the start. On that launch date, Galfond apologised for promising a summer debut, before preferring to be non-committal at this stage. However, 1,000 people will get the opportunity to test the software for real money beginning Sep 13, and if you want a seat then head to RIO to register.

“By this point, we feel like we have tried everything, and clicked around everywhere.” Said Galfond. 

Galfond is keen to gain an understanding of how it feels to play on his baby, and stressed empathy with his competitor’s inability to eliminate 100% of bugs, after personal experience on how a site determines priorities dependant on factors such as resources.

For example, Galfond said: “Do we focus on making the product 100% bug-free, or do we work on Sit n Go’s?” 

The video would have gotten a few people wet.

Players will be chomping at the bit to give it a try. 

“I want perfectionism, and we won’t reach that this year,” said Galfond. 

I think it will be worth the wait.

Here is the video in full:

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