From busto to robusto?

Run It Once Poker, the online poker room founded by former poker pro Phil Galfond, has packed in its global operations. As of 2:00am CET on Monday, January 3, games in progress could no longer be joined. Eight hours later, all games were shut down.

That’s the bad news. The good news, and this really won’t matter at all for anyone who was playing on Run It Once, is that Galfond says that he is now targeting regulated US markets to try to bring his poker room to the States.

Of the transition to the United States, Galfond wrote on the Run It Once blog, “This has been a dream of mine since well before we first launched. I didn’t initially think it would be an option for us for another half-decade, so I’m very excited to be on our way to achieving it!”

Just couldn’t keep the traffic going

At the same time, he is sorry that he could not keep the site going for “rest of world” players. As is the case for most online poker rooms that are unable to survive, it really just came down to a lack of players. Galfond and his team designed the site from a player’s perspective and seemed to be largely successful in that regard. It was a well-liked site, but it takes a lot to not get smothered by the big boys.

The pandemic helped Run It Once and online poker rooms, as people stayed at home for most of 2020, but once health and safety restrictions began to be lifted around the world, people didn’t play as much online poker.

“With few new signups, our SNG traffic was underwhelming, and our cash game traffic levels began to fall,” Galfond wrote. “With a break in the Galfond Challenges and our SNG Select campaigns falling short, among other things, our player acquisition efforts weren’t enough to outpace churn. Along with the world opening back up and the compounding effect of liquidity on itself, the decline in traffic accelerated. We were right back to where we started in late 2019.”

He added that his team “explored a number of (very) different options” to keep things afloat and they did try some things, but they didn’t work out and they meant sacrificing in other aspects.

Three months to cash out

Though the poker tables at Run It Once are now dark, player funds are safe. Customers can withdraw their money for the next three months, through April 3. After that, funds in Great Britain accounts will be donated to charity. Plans for money in accounts of players in other countries are still in the works.

As for rewards now that the games are done, deposit bonus installments will be credited to accounts as long as the installment was started, even if it wasn’t completed. Leaderboard rewards should be credited by January 4.

Personal information will either be deleted or anonymized once it is no longer needed for payments and regulatory purposes.

Galfond provided no timeline as to when he expects to launch Run It Once in the United States.

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