The much-awaited Run It Once Poker site by Phil Galfond inches closer to the official launch as the room successfully conducted its third invite-only beta test last week.

Prior to its third beta test, the second stage of beta testing in October did not go smoothly as players faced several technical issues such as long pauses between hands (which for some players lasted 40-45 seconds), crash issues, payment issues, and several other bugs. The issues discovered set back the launch further despite the first beta test in September being deemed a success.

However, in its recent beta test on December 6, the games ran smoothly and hundreds of players tested out the new client. Most of the previously reported issues including the long pause between hands have been rectified, plus a number of improvements were made. The bet slider now works to increment bet sizes, animations and visual avatars are much smoother, and the speed of gameplay has increased.

Furthermore, the room’s controversial tilted board (which was disliked by many on social media and poker forums) is no longer the only option as players can now play with flat board cards.

There are still some known issues such as the showdown time being too short, the “sit back in” and “wait for bb” buttons not working, hotkeys not functioning correctly, some avatars not displaying, and some other visual bugs. Features such as the ability to resize the lobby and tables and the hand replayer are still disabled. It is expected that these issues will be fixed in the future ahead of the official launch.

RIO took feedback through a private Discord channel, with representatives including Phil Galfond himself quick to respond to player feedback and questions. A few players did report software issues and other technical issues (three or four testers actually), however, for the vast majority of players, the test went smoothly. Many were impressed with the looks of the software, its simplicity and its smoothness.

Following an overwhelming and positive response from the testers, the room announced yet another beta test set to take place tomorrow from 18:00 to 21:00 (CET). This time the room has sent an invitation to try the latest version to a vast majority of players that have tested its software in the past. This next test could perhaps be the last beta test before the official launch if everything goes right.

So if you are one of those who signed up for testing the product in the past, chances are you have received an invitation in your email.

The room has also added a new NLHE table stake €0.10/€0.20 alongside the €0.05/€0.10 NLHE and PLO tables for its next test. Players depositing for the first time will be credited €30 as a welcome gift.

What to Expect when Run It Once Poker Launches

RIO poker has yet to announce the official launch date, however, it is now a few steps closer to a full-scale public release.

As announced earlier this year, RIO will have a two-phase launch with the first phase offering cash games only while the second phase will offer tournaments, sit & gos and other game types. Initially, the first phase was supposed to launch in the summer, however, the project has been delayed for various reasons.

“We’ve got it so close and when we run a beta and [if] it goes very successfully, we’re gonna run another with more people and another for longer and then we’ll be ready,” said Galfond in a podcast with Joey Ingram late last month.

In the podcast with Joey Ingram, Galfond shared other information about the progress of his upcoming site including a unique rewards program for streamers dubbed streamR, what the rake structure will be, whether the room will accept cryptocurrencies, and how they plan to tackle bots.

Galfond stated that the site will “almost definitely” accept cryptocurrencies as one of the payment methods either “at launch or at some point in the future.” Galfond also hinted that the rake will relate to achievable win rates. As far as the bots issue is concerned, many of their decisions such as no table and dealer chat, no hand histories in real time, no play money games, and no table selection were made in an effort to make bots harder to develop.

“Bots is a very serious issue,” said Galfond. “We made it more annoying on our site than any other site.”

Galfond is also expected to post a blog update (which would probably be the last before the launch) on the site’s rake structure and primary rewards program soon.

RIO poker is licensed in Malta which allows it to accept international players from dozens of countries. However, players residing in the countries with local licensing and jurisdictions prohibited under a Malta license are not allowed to create an account on RIO. These countries include the US, Australia, and European segregated countries like France, Portugal, Spain. The room does accept players from the UK as it also holds a license from the UKGC. For more details, check out Run It Once Poker: Everything You Need to Know.