Online streaming platform Twitch has revolutionized the way people play video games but it’s also had a profound effect on the online poker industry.
The ability to watch experienced poker players navigate tournaments and cash games in real time is a priceless educational tool for new players, not to mention straight-up entertainment for poker fans around the globe.
The bond between Twitch and online poker will be getting even closer in the coming months as upcoming online poker site Run It Once plans to reward qualifying Twitch streamers with cash in the form of rakeback.
Rakeback essentially allows break-even players to make a small profit. The site has plans to offer 110 percent rakeback at its highest level, however, which means Run It Once would literally pay players a small sum to stream their game.
It’s a concept that’s never been attempted in online poker and could potentially represent a new paradigm for the way the game is marketed and played.
Cash Rewards Based on ‘Watch Time’
The new streamer-based rewards program on Run It Once will be called “StreamR” and players will unlock various tiers of rewards based on watch time.
The idea behind StreamR is that it will help grow the fledgling poker site’s player base while providing a legitimate reward for players who like to stream their games to the public.
The first tier of streaming should be fairly easy for anyone who has a Twitch following to achieve.
It’s based on watch time, which is the number of hours your stream has been watched with all viewers combined. For instance, if you stream for 10 hours and you have one viewer, then you have 10 hours of watch time. If you add another viewer, then you’d have 20 hours and so forth.
Level 1 for StreamR will only require 200 hours of watch time and will provide 50 percent rakeback, which is quite substantial for the easiest tier to unlock.
Here’s a complete breakdown of all the tiers for StreamR players:
|Level 1||200 hours watch time||50% rakeback|
|Level 2||1,200 hours watch time||75% rakeback|
|Level 3||8,000 hours watch time||100% rakeback|
|Team RIO||20,000 hours watch time||110% rakeback and more|
Run It Once founder Phil Galfond, who has been playing poker since the early 2000s, sees Twitch streaming as a continuation of the poker dream that was popularized by players like Chris Moneymaker and the World Series of Poker in the mid-2000s.
“In recent years, a new type of poker dream has emerged – that of the poker streamer,” he wrote in a blog post on runitonce.eu.
“The poker streamer shares his or her poker journey with the world, amasses fans and followers, and earns a living partially, or in some cases entirely, through sponsorship and/or affiliate deals, as well as additional revenue directly from Twitch or YouTube.”
Run It Once Still Aiming for 2018 Launch
Phil Galfond is one of the winningest high-stakes online poker players of all time but he was getting fed up with the current status quo of online poker sites. It’s the reason that he, along with several other partners, came up with the idea of Run It Once as a stand-alone poker site.
The idea behind the site was to give back to poker players and protect the sanctity of the poker dream. Galfond’s goal was to create a site that was “fair, honest and transparent.” The company’s slogan of “Long live poker” adorns the website prominently.
Galfond announced plans for the site way back in 2016 but the site has already been delayed several times. It is currently in beta and the next step should be an official launch. It’s been years since someone launched a stand-alone online poker site so the delays are not completely surprising.
The site is doing things a little differently and plans to launch with the following features:
Interestingly the Twitch rewards program is just an auxiliary promotion to the main rewards program, which has yet to be announced.
It should be mentioned that Run It Once still doesn’t have an official release date so there are a number of features that may change before the final product rolls out.
Regardless of when Run It Once launches, it should be a breath of fresh air for the industry and it wouldn’t be surprising to see some of the major sites take some inspiration from the plucky startup in the near future.