Phil Galfond is about to run wild in the streets. The Twitch Poker streets that is.
Well, maybe Galfond won’t be running ‘wild’, however, the popular high stakes pro and founder of the Run It Once online poker site, is about to spend some real quality time showcasing his online poker platform with six days of regular poker streaming.
If all goes according to plan, from August 30 – September 4 Galfond will grinding, for the very first time, on his own online poker site Run It Once.
“I’ve always wanted to stream on Run It Once,” Galfond said. “I’ve done a few one-off streaming sessions on WSOP.com because…well, I wanted to do it to try and help promote Run It Once but I don’t think it did a very good job because it wasn’t on Run It Once.”
That’s because since its launch in February 2019 Galfond, as a founder, has not been allowed to actually play on RIO. But over the course of the year, the site has evolved. Not only with expanding features and improved stability and performance, but as an organization that now allows Galfond, who is also the online sites biggest name star, to finally get in the game.
“This is a decision that we’ve kind of wrestled with for a while and as we were able to do it from a technical perspective, as that became viable, we revisited the decision and made it. I’ve always wanted to stream on this site,” he said. “In order to play I have to lose access to a lot of data and I think what I realized is for most company decisions I’ve had access to stuff that I could have checked…about player statistics and things like that…but I just left that up to our marketing and our poker management team. I never really dug into it myself anyways.”
So now Galfond, who is setting up shop in Vancouver, BC for the week, is ready to mix it up with the Run It Once regulars.
“For the sake of the stream, and just for fun, I’d like to play some higher stakes games,” Galfond said. “By that, I mean 5/10 PLO or maybe some 10/20 if we can get it running. We’ll see if some people show up…otherwise, I’ll just move around and try to give everybody a chance to play with me.”
In another first for the site, Galfond will be the only player not to utilize an anonymous name. He’ll be playing under his own name with a custom look-a-like avatar.
“Obviously it gives them a little bit of an advantage because I don’t know who they are and they know who I am but I’m not really trying to play on Run It Once to beat up on our loyal users,” Galfond said. “We just felt it was fairer for people to know that they’re playing against me. Even though there’s no insider advantage that I have, if people want to choose not to play against me they can do so.”
Even if he’s giving up an edge by using his own name, Galfond will likely still have an advantage as he’s widely considered to be one of the best poker minds in the game having played at and crushed the biggest stakes both live and online. However one part of this six-day stint is ‘poker’ and the other is ‘streaming’ and that’s something that Galfond doesn’t have nearly as much experience in.
“I rarely watched streams before we launched Run It Once. I probably only watched a couple just out of curiosity,” he said. “Since we launched and we have the StreamR program where we reward people who stream on the site I was watching them all the time…until it was eating up too much of my time.”
Now, Galfond has a measured appetite for streaming as he watches other streamers analyzing what they do well and what helps them build an audience. It’s those positive qualities he hopes to bring to his stream this week but he knows it’s his own knack for teaching the game of poker that will likely pull in the most people.
“I think that the best thing that people can do is to actually get into the chat and ask me questions because I’ve made hundreds of hours of poker training content and advanced poker training content,” he said. “Sometimes I struggle with streaming…I’ve only done it a few times. I struggle with figuring out where to kind of target my analysis. Like should I make it more basic or should I go more advanced?
“The best way for me to figure that out is when I get questions from the viewers and if it’s a question that is a beginner question and I get a bunch of those then I know to kind of gear my analysis toward that.
“There are plenty of streamers who just have music on and don’t talk that much. There are plenty of other ones who do talk but they’re mostly like engaging their audience and celebrating wins or rooting for cards. They’re not talking a bunch of strategy. I feel like the habit of talking advanced strategy is so hard for me to break because all of the talking and playing I’ve done has been for training videos and I’ve done so much of it that I think that my streams will be naturally packed full of me trying to teach because it’s what I’m used to,”
That’s not to say that Galfond isn’t going to work on being entertaining and bringing something special to his stream. For one, if a player happens to stack Galfond in either PLO or NLHE, there’s a €20 bonus for that. But there is also some extra special ‘fun stuff’ that he wasn’t at liberty to divulge that he feels will go above and beyond.
“I think people will like it,” he said.
He knows that he may not be the most excitable of players to watch, but he still has plenty to offer.
“Something that I found a lot of popular streamers do well is that they’re animated and excited about what’s happening to them at the table…I don’t really think I’m capable of that. If I were celebrating winning a pot it would be disingenuous,” he said. “I don’t think I’m necessarily predisposed to being a world-class streamer and my ceiling might be lower than some other people but I’m not going to stress about that. I’m just going to do what I can do well, which is teach and then try to engage with the viewers. I’m not going to be someone I’m not and that may mean that I’m not as fun as some other streamers but I’ll just do what I do.”
And when it comes to poker, what Galfond normally does is find himself in the biggest games against the biggest names. But when talking about how he plans to approach the players on Run It Once, even those in the micros, he’s still planning on bringing his ‘A’ game.
“I think I’ll just be playing as best I can and I think I will be motivated not by winning money in the games but by showing the people who come out to support and watch the stream…showing them my best game.”
Galfond will be streaming from 10am-3pm PT on the Run It Once Twitch Poker channel.