Run It Once Poker US – Newcomer to the United States Poker Market

14 minutes

Last Updated: December 11, 2023

Run It Once Poker is gearing up for its launch in the United States! The brainchild of the poker legend Phil Galfond, RIO Poker is not a new name in the online poker world. The site was active for several years in the rest-of-the-world market before shutting down early in 2022.

While some thought this marked the end of Run It Once Poker, a unique platform that aimed to put the player first, it turned out it was a new beginning for the company. Galfond and his team took a temporary break, turning their heads towards the regulated US market.

It took almost two full years, but it seems that RIO is now very close to launching in one or more US states, as this is likely to happen in 2024. The room partnered up with Rush Street Interactive, which operates a well-known BetRivers brand, and everything seems ready for takeoff.

On this page, you’ll find all the information about Run It Once Poker US, from our expectations for when and where the site will go live, over brief history of the platform, to what players can look forward to and why a new poker site could be just what regulated US markets need.

Run It Once Poker in the US

rio poker phil galfond

To set things up for the US launch, RIO Poker first needed to find a partner with a license and the ability to help them re-launch in one of the regulated states.

The operator found that partner in Rush Street Interactive. The US gaming company acquired Run It Once following 18 months of negotiations, and although initial details of the deal were scarce, Galfond made it clear that Run It Once Poker US would become a reality at some point down the line.

The RIO and Rush Street Interactive (RSI) deal was officially announced in March, 2022, and towards the end of 2023, there are more details available, although nothing is set in stone as of yet. RIO Poker US is likely to become a reality in 2024, but where will the platform launch first?

All states with regulated online poker are a possibility, but some are likelier than others. This has to do with RSI licenses in individual states but also market sizes and other competitors –, PokerStars US, and BetMGM/Borgata Poker.


The Delaware State Lottery selected RIO as the exclusive iGaming partner in the state, and the company will replace 888 in that role. This makes Delaware a very likely candidate for the initial launch.

While it is a small market, it is a member of the MSIGA, so Run It Once Poker DE could easily expand to add player pools from other states as they go live in them.

New Jersey

Run It Once Poker NJ is another likely candidate for 2024. New Jersey is an attractive market, and the state is a member of the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement, so there would be no obstacles to future expansion plans.

The NJ online poker market is quite competitive, though, as the state is home to PokerStars NJ, WSOP, and the BetMGM Poker network consisting of Borgata, PartyPoker, and BetMGM. A new operator would have its work cut out, but with the team and resources behind RIO, this isn’t an insurmountable challenge.


Michigan entered the MSIGA in 2023, making it an even more attractive prospect for future poker operators, and as things stand right now, Run It Once Poker is the only likely candidate to enter the market.

RIO Poker MI is certainly in the cards. Whether this is the first state that the operator selects is anyone’s guess, but from the limited information we have available, Michigan is a real possibility.


Currently, Pennsylvania is the largest US state with online poker, so it certainly represents a nice target for the launch of a new poker room. The only problem is that PA is still not a member of the MSIGA, so RIO Poker PA would be “ring-fenced,” i.e., not in a position to share liquidity with other states.

This might not be an issue for very long, though, as Pennsylvania is gearing up to join the MSIGA, and we could see that development in the first half of 2024. That would increase the likelihood of Run It Once entering that particular market.


Nevada is the last of the major online poker states in the US and also the most complicated one. For years now, WSOP NV has reigned supreme in that market without any other operators to compete against.

Lately, there’s been some interest from other platforms, most notably BetMGM Poker, and for RIO Poker, this could be a great opportunity if they can get their foot in the door and become the second poker site in Nevada.

Of course, Nevada is one of the original members of the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement, so the operator would have its options open in terms of shared liquidity.

There are other, smaller markets out there, such as West Virginia and Rhode Island, but it’s unlikely that Run It Once Poker would choose one of these as the starting point.

The only real path to this happening is if they decide to go live in several states at once (or in short succession) since both of these are MSIGA members.

Brief History of Run It Once Poker

The idea of Run It Once Poker was born in 2016. The man behind it, Phil Galfond, is one of the most respected professional poker players alive, and he’s been running an extremely successful poker training site of the same name since 2012.

In 2019, Galfond decided to take the leap of faith and launched his own online poker site with the vision of doing things differently. Since its inception, Run It Once Poker was meant to be for the players, addressing some of the biggest issues other operators have had over the years.

The site remained operational for a couple of years, and it delivered on its promise in more ways than one. The platform introduced many interesting features and promotions that added value to those playing there.

However, good intentions weren’t enough to keep the boat afloat. Phil and his team encountered many obstacles along the way, not the least of which was a relatively small group of people working behind the scenes.

Despite their best efforts, they found it hard at times to keep up with players’ demands and expectations.

In December 2021, Galfond made the executive decision to pull the curtain on Run It Once Poker, at least temporarily.

He explained the decision by emphasizing the advantage that large poker operators have over newcomers and said that the only way to break through was by skirting regulations – something he simply wasn’t willing to do.

RIO Poker Turns Towards the US

The 2021 decision didn’t mark the end of RIO Poker. Instead, it was the start of a new chapter for the company. Galfond decided to turn his efforts towards the US-regulated market and try to break through in America instead.

Phil was confident of his plans, although he was cautious about setting any timelines. The US presented a whole new set of challenges that needed to be tackled one at a time.

A big breakthrough for Run It Once Poker US came in March 2022, when US gaming company Rush Street Interactive (RSI) purchased RIO Poker for $5.7 million. RSI announced that the core team, including Galfond, would remain with the company, making it clear they had plans to use the platform to launch their own version of online poker in the US.

Once again, no clear dates were announced for when RIO Poker US would go live. The whole thing is still a work in progress, and there are a lot of opinions floating around. However, one thing we can be pretty certain of is that Run It Once Poker US will go live in the US in 2024 in some shape and form.

Run It Once Poker Brand in the US – Will It Stay?

Another thing that remains uncertain about the launch of RIO Poker in the US is the exact name of the brand. While Run It Once gained some publicity in Europe and the rest of the world, the brand (at least as a poker-playing platform) isn’t well known in the US.

On the other hand, Rush Street Interactive operates several gaming brands in the country, the largest of which is BetRivers. At the moment, BetRivers offers sports betting and online casino gambling, so the addition of poker would be a logical step.

It’s possible that, when the time comes, the new poker room launches as BetRivers Poker US, utilizing the RIO Poker platform and the brand power of the man behind it.

Alternatively, RSI and RIO could come to an agreement to launch under a completely new brand and start with a “clean slate” of sorts.

This is the least likely of all options on the table since it makes more sense to take advantage of the existing brand power of either Run It Once Poker or BetRivers (or both, with something like RIO Poker Powered by BetRivers).

What Does Run It Once Poker US Bring to the Table?

There are several reasons for US players to look forward to the launch of Run It Once Poker. The site has a lot to offer, and these are some of the biggest reasons why we love the idea of RIO Poker US.

Disrupting the Market

For years now, regulated US online poker has been spearheaded by three operators:, PokerStars US, and BetMGM/Borgata Poker. These operators have a presence in all or almost all regulated markets, now eying smaller states like WV and RI.

Run It Once Poker US could be a breath of fresh air, challenging these major operators and giving players an alternative. Of course, this will be an uphill battle, but backed by the resources from a gaming giant that is Rush Street Interactive, it has a fair shot.

Fresh & Innovative Software

rio poker software features

A new, quality platform has the ability to attract players like almost nothing else. For many recreational players, added “cool” features can be a crucial factor in their decision-making process. For hardcore grinders, useful options and the ability to customize things the way they like have the same effect.

While the RIO Poker software isn’t perfect, the company had a lot of time to improve things and maybe even add some new features. From what we know about the software from its ROW presence, some of the features we can expect to see are:

  • Dynamic Avatars – avatars that change based on the player’s recently-observed style, giving some info the their opponents but also allowing them to better understand their table image.
  • In-built HUD – the RIO Poker platform features a built-in HUD called “HeroIQ,” giving all players at the table access to the most important stats of their opponents (PFR, RFI, 3-bet%).
  • Auto-seating for cash games – the site removed the ability for players to select seats, making games fairer for recreational players. It’s quite possible that Run It Once Poker US will bring this feature back.

Generous Bonuses and Promotions

run it once poker promotions

Regardless of where RIO Poker US launches first, players can look forward to a whole new welcome bonus to get them started. Given the fierce competition in the US online poker space, we can expect the welcome bonus to be quite generous and competitive.

However, this might be just the tip of the iceberg. RIO Poker has always been about rewarding players and giving back more, and if that model is transitioned to the US, it could make the site a go-to place for serious players and recreationals alike.

Splash the Pot was one of the very popular features at RIO Poker, and we can expect it will come back on the US platform. The promotion returned a percentage of rake to players through randomly selected pots to have money added to them.

RIO Poker US should also feature a rewards program. The site had its own program called “Legends,” which, combined with Splash the Pot, could return over 70% of rake.

run it once poker legends loyalty

On the other hand, BetRivers has its iRush Rewards system in place, and they may well go down that route, adding the poker platform to the existing loyalty setup. Depending on how it is implemented, it could add a lot of value for the players.

We could also see some crossover promotions, combining poker, sports, and casino, just like we see with the likes of PokerStars and BetMGM Poker. This will, once again, depend on what exactly RIO Poker US looks like and whether it is launched in connection to other BetRivers products (likely) or a completely standalone platform (less likely).

Poker Training Opportunities

Run It Once started as a company offering poker training of the highest level, while the online poker platform was added later. The gaming side of things was put on ice for a while, but the training site continued going strong.

With the launch of RIO Poker in the US, we could see the operator take advantage of its strong position in the coaching world and use that as its trump card.

Players could get access to training resources for signing up or completing certain tasks, which would create a lot of additional value across the board. While nothing along these lines was mentioned in early press releases and statements, it is a possibility.

Run It Once Poker US Summary

The Run It Once Poker US platform is likely to go live in 2024. It remains to be seen what will be the first state(s) to host the new operator, but after several years, everything seems set for the site’s US debut.

RIO Poker US is a valuable addition to regulated online poker in the United States, being the first company in a long time to possibly challenge three main stakeholders (PokerStars, WSOP Poker, and BetMGM/Borgata).

Backed by Rush Street Interactive, a large gaming company with plenty of resources and loads of experience, RIO could be the disruptive force the market and, more importantly, the players need.

An innovative platform and generous promotions are just a couple of the main things the new site brings to the table. With a man like Phil Galfond behind it, it has the power to become the go-to place for poker fans across the board.

Things are in motion, and we’ll be keeping an eye out on Run It Once Poker US as they develop. The first quarter of 2024 should be exciting for US online poker, and RIO stands to play an important role during those first few months of the new year.


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