Phil Galfond's Run It Once Poker Platform Set to Launch in the US
Phil Galfond’s Run It Once (RIO) poker platform is preparing to launch in the United States. This development follows the acquisition of RIO by Rush Street Interactive (RSI) in 2022. RSI is the Digital Arm of Rush Street Gaming, a Pennsylvania-based gambling operator that owns land-based properties like Rivers Casino and online casino brands like BetRivers and SugarHouse.
In 2016, three-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Phil Galfond announced the launch of his new online poker site, Run It Once Poker, which launched in public beta in February 2019. However, in October 2020, Run It Once was one of several entities named in a $330 million defamation lawsuit brought by poker professional Mike Postle.
In January 2022, the site ceased its European operations, but in a blog post Galfond indicated that he intended to relaunch as a regulated US poker network, saying, “I’m holding back some of the finer details for the time being (I’ll have more to share in the next few months!), but the bottom line is this: Run It Once Poker is now headed down a path to enter the legal & regulated US market.”
RSI later confirmed that it had bought the poker site and its underlying technology in its Q4 2021 financial results, eying a US relaunch. Galfond confirmed this in a post on X (formerly Twitter) in March 2022.
Previously, RIO faced challenges competing internationally against significant players like PokerStars and GGPoker, leading to a strategic shift to focus on the U.S. market. The partnership with RSI offers RIO numerous advantages, such as gaming licenses in multiple U.S. states, access to large casino and sportsbook player bases, and experience in building large-scale gaming platforms.
In November, RSI posted two critical poker-related job openings in its Malta office, indicating progress toward the launch of Run It Once Poker in the U.S. These positions include a Director of Poker Room Management and a Director of Poker Marketing. The former will oversee essential aspects of poker room operations, such as rake, policies, and game offerings, aiming to foster a healthy poker ecosystem. The latter will lead marketing efforts for the poker vertical.
This expansion suggests that cash games and tournaments might be part of RIO’s U.S. offerings. A previous job posting for a Poker Tournament Manager, which has been filled, adds to this speculation.