Phil Galfond Takes Aim at PokerStars Ahead of High Stakes Challenge

January 15th, 2020 | by Greg Shaun

He may be busy sharpening his tools ahead of a showdown with some of the game’s best, but Phil Galfond has still found time to take a shot at PokerStars.

Phil Galfond

Phil Galfond is urging PokerStars cash game players to make the jump and join Run It Once. (Image: Twitter/Phil Galfond)

As the owner of poker site Run It Once, Galfond is using the buzz around his high stakes challenge to generate interest in the product.

With the community waiting for updates, the American has put out an offer. As per a Jan. 13 Twitter video (see below), new players can get double bonus points if they join Run It Once in January.

Phil Galfond Gets Personal

While sign-up bonuses are nothing new in online poker, Galfond’s marketing angle is interesting. The premise of the video is that players can forget the issues they have with PokerStars and start afresh at Run It Once.

Calling the move “Stars Become Legends,” Galfond is picking up on the culture of discontent that’s swept over the industry in recent times. Although other operators have been in the firing line, few have taken as many hits as PokerStars.

Its efforts to focus on recreational players have kept it as the top international brand, but some players have rebelled. With rake increases and a general decrease in added value, a number of online grinders have found new places to play.

Appealing to that demographic, Phil Galfond is celebrating a year of activity by specifically targeting “PokerStars cash game players.” His goal for 2020 is to increase activity on Run It Once and build on some of the features introduced last year.

Perfect Time to Strike

Topping the list of innovations is the integrated stats tracking system. With heads-up display (HUD) software a topic of debate in 2019, Galfond took a different line to other sites. As the likes of Partypoker banned third-party tracking software, Galfond oversaw the development of an in-between system.

At Run It Once, players can keep tabs on their opponent’s through emotionally responsive avatars. Although they can’t see data relating to traits such as pre-flop raising percentages, the avatars hint at playing styles such as passive and aggressive.

By tracking stats internally, the software conveys just enough information for pros to use but not so much that novices are unfairly targeted. Phil Galfond wants more players to experience this and he’s using the discontent with certain aspects of PokerStars’ to show it to the masses.

Of course, the timing couldn’t be better. After issuing a challenge to online poker’s top talents, Galfond is the talk of the town. With the high stakes spectacle appealing to experienced players, the plan is to parlay that interest into a positive start to 2020 for Run It Up.


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