Poker In The US

Phil Galfond Announces The Arrival Of Run It Once Poker In The US

Andy Brown
Published: Jan 14, 2022 Updated: Jan 17, 2022

A feasible fourth option is on the way for US online poker players. The renowned poker pro-turned-poker entrepreneur Phil Galfond said that he plans to introduce his product ‘Run It Once Poker’ in the US. 

RIO or Run It Once Poker was launched in 2019 in response to what a few regard as greedy and short-sighted strategies by the wide online poker industry. Phil had the vision to make a new product from scratch, “by players for players.”

Contrary to what Galfond hoped, the poker game was not much of a success in Europe. However, the lack of options in poker became quite indicatory from the frustration of the American players. For the last 6-7 years, the only legit options in the US have been PokerStars, WSOP, and the Partypoker network, which operates under BetMGM Poker. However, alternatives like Pala Poker and Ultimate Poker failed to grab the attention.  

Praised But Not So Successful 

In the short span of game development, RIO has been designed in a unique way. It is light on traffic and heavy on innovation. Several new ideas presented by Phil and his development team have been praised, proven popular, and copied by larger sites. 

For example, the Splash the Pot Rakeback system by RIO was the first of its kind. Despite giving individual rewards on a monthly or weekly basis, this Rakeback system suddenly dropped extra chips into the cash game pots depending on the amount of table action. As soon as it appeared on RIO, a similar experiment was conducted by GGPoker as it fast-fold tables. 

And, regardless of getting appreciation from both the online poker industry and players, RIO has trouble keeping the games usable. The “stickiness” of the players and the inability of RIO to finish in terms of marketing expense against the admiration of GGPoker and PokerStars. 

While explaining the performance of the product in 2021, Phil Galfond said:

“The minimum number of new signups resulted in the underwhelming performance of the SNG traffic, and we witnessed the fall of our cash game traffic levels. Apart from our SNG Select campaigns falling short, our efforts for player acquisition were also unable to outpace churn. The traffic decline got boosted with the world opening back up and the worsening effect of liquidity. We are just falling behind to where we begin in 2019.” 

Surprising Shutdown – Relaunch Schedule Yet To Be Known 

For the current active RIO global players, the news may come as a surprising event to you. Phil is not expanding to the US as he’s shutting down every single international operation to use all its resources, time, and efforts explicitly on the US-regulated online poker industry. 

As per the blog post by Galfond, every operation on the international RIO websites will become non-usable from January 3, 2022. To withdraw their winning funds, all the players have to wait till April 3, 2022. There are four states where the US players can expect RIO to get launched and they are New Jersey, West Virginia, Nevada, and Pennsylvania.

Andy is a skilled recreational gambler for more than 11 years. His primary focus is on the regulated US online casino and poker markets. Editor-In-Chief at
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