Rush Street Interactive Acquires Phil Galfond’s Run It Once Poker Site

  • The buyout includes the American pro poker player, his RIO site, and software team
  • Galfond previously shuttered the site two months ago in preparation for the deal
  • Likely states for RSI to roll out RIO include Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Connecticut
  • Galfond said RIO Poker “had many potential suitors” over the past year-and-a-half

Neon Casino playing cards with poker chips
Expect to see Phil Galfond’s popular Run It Once Poker site live and legal in the US sometime soon following news Rush Street has bought the site. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

RSI poker expansion

Rush Street Interactive (RSI) has significantly strengthened its position in the US iGaming space after acquiring Phil Galfond’s Run It Once (RIO) online poker site.

includes the professional high-stakes poker player

The buyout, which includes the professional high-stakes poker player and his software team, came to light Wednesday as Chicago-based RSI published its full-year 2021 financial results.

Galfond shuttered RIO two months ago as part of its “path to enter the legal and regulated US market.” The poker pro took to Twitter to finally share news of the deal this week, expressing excitement over the partnership:

In its 2021 financial report, RSI stated it had “acquired the technology platform and onboarded the team” from RIO Poker. This means the deal went through late 2021, with RSI already integrating RIO staff into the business.

Online casino kingpins

RSI is already a power player in the US online table games, slots, and bingo space. The combination will see RSI launch RIO online poker sites in states with a legal market.

According to poker.org, RSI will most likely roll out RIO in states where its online platform is already active. This includes Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

RSI already operates real-money digital sports betting and online casino offerings in 13 states under its PlaySugarHouse.com and BetRivers.com brands.

Galfond, who announced the shuttering of RIO Poker on December 30, 2021, has high hopes for the brand based on RIO’s popularity among the poker community. He described the platform as one that “people loved, with features and innovations that the poker world was excited about.”

He did, however, also admit some former limitations brought forward in customer feedback, including a desire for faster iteration of its software.

Plenty of suitors

Poker pro Phil Hellmuth actually predicted RSI’s expansion into online poker in October 2020. His comments came a few months after the SPAC in which he held shares, dMY Technology Group, merged with RSI. RSI subsequently listed on the New York Stock Exchange at a value of $1.78bn.

Poker news sources posited that the record 16-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner could serve as an ideal face for an RSI poker brand. However, the gambling firm has now clearly settled on Galfond and RIO.

According to Galfond, his poker brand “had many potential suitors” over the past year-and-a-half. Despite this, he said Rush Street ultimately won the race due to its “honesty, integrity, fairness, and transparency.”

One of the main drawcards for RIO poker fans is the Galfond Challenge, where Galfond plays for ultra-high stakes against some of the world’s best poker professionals.