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After a three-year-long development process, online poker site Run It Once (RIO) launched the ‘public beta’ this year in February. A brainchild and work of passion of three-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner Phil Galfond, the site has already launched 6-max NLHE and PLO tables, with more games and formats expected to be coming up soon.
Live-streaming is clearly one of the core themes at RIO poker, with Galfond having divulged plans for a unique, streaming-based rewards program in November. As part of this, the RIO rakeback system will reward players who live stream. Now, bringing streaming together with a good cause, RIO has announced a 24-hour charity poker stream that kicked off at 3 PM EST today.
We’re thrilled to join in on the first ever Run It Once charity stream! We’ll be matching up to $5,000 in donations and donating all net rake from the weekend to @MakeStrongMinds and @sinaihealthto. The stream will kick off at 21:00 CEST Friday and run for 24 hours! #GiveItOnce pic.twitter.com/PJC8ndHkeB
— Run It Once Poker (@RunItOncePoker) May 6, 2019
RIO – Taking A Futuristic Approach With Streaming
While RIO is currently hosting the charity stream, the building blocks for taking streaming as a central fabric for the platform’s functioning was laid last year.
After Galfond announced in April 2018 that Phase 1 of the site was ready for a summer launch, functionality obstacles led to the launch date getting delayed. Galfond did unveil features like a fixed buy-in system, auto-seating, prohibition on Heads-Up Displays (HUD), and even discussed restricting multi-tabling.
Taking a futuristic approach, Galfond and his RIO team announced that streamers would be actively encouraged and given a chance to compete for cool awards. Based on insights from RIO pro Elias Gutierrez, the team decided that the streamers on the site would be judged on their ‘watch time’ which translates into the number of hours that the viewers watch a stream clubbed with their viewers’ hours.
Streamers would be rewarded according to four tiers of the RIO Rakeback program. Though the rakeback program is not the primary rewards system on RIO, it is nonetheless an attractive deal for up and coming streamers.
Giving Away For a Cause
As part of its charity Twitch stream, RIO will be donating 100% of the net rake generated on the site to Sinai Health, an establishment that works for cancer research, and StrongMind charities, that works to address mental health, with focus on women in Africa. All funds raised will be equally split between the two charities.
While RIO is encouraging donations from viewers for the causes, the platform has also announced that it will match up to $5,000 in donations. The site will also run a day-long ‘The Big Sprint’ promotion’ that will give away €1500 in cash prizes including €750 via a Leaderboard and €750 through a random draw. The promotion was activated at 9 PM CEST on May 10 and runs till 9 PM today.
The Big Names
A star-studded group of poker pros has agreed to participate in the live stream that is being hosted on the RIO Poker Twitch channel. The stream began with online pro Ben ‘Sauce123’ Sulsky’ as the primary host on May 11.
Taking on from Sulsky will be RIO pro Elias Gutierrez, Fernando Habegger, Chris Kruk, Parker Talbot, Jnandez, Niall Farrel, TheFan83, Ryan Martin, U-MAD-BRO/Psek1, Jono Crute and Chris George. For 24 hours, each of these poker pros will take over the stream, turn by turn. Galfond himself will helm the proceedings in the final two hours, from 1 to 3 PM on May 12.
RIO Charity Stream Schedule
|May 11||3-5 PM||Ben Sulsky|
|May 11||5-7 PM||Elias Gutierrez|
|May 11||7-9 PM||Fernando Habegger|
|May 11||9-11 PM||Chris Kruk|
|May 11||11 PM -1 AM||Ryan Martin|
|May 12||1-3 AM||Christopher George|
|May 12||Niall Farrell||Jono Crute|
|May 12||5-7 AM||Niall Farrell|
|May 12||7-9 AM||U-MAD-BRO/Psek1|
|May 12||9-11 AM||TheFan83|
|May 12||1-3 PM||Parker Talbot|
|May 12||1-3 PM||Phil Galfond|
Watch the RIO Charity Twitch stream here.