Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Galfond's Game Plan

I written here before a couple of times about Phil Galfond, usually in response to some of blog posts he’s shared over the years -- few in number, but always thoughtful and worthwhile.

I happened to have helped cover his bracelet win way back in 2008 when he won his WSOP bracelet in a $5K pot-limit Omaha event (and before he was on most folks’ radar). Here’s a post from 2012 where I’m reflecting on one of his blog posts and also tell a little about that ’08 final table, titled “Human Interest.”

Galfond’s got people reading him again with this manifesto-like post from earlier today indicating his intention to start a new online poker site under the branding of his instructional site, Run It Once, sometime during the first quarter of 2017.

It’s a short piece (less than 500 words), presented under the title “A Poker Site Should.” Using anaphora by repeating the title throughout (I’m getting to recall a rhetorical term learned long ago), Galfond provides a list of qualities and characteristics he believes an online poker site should provide to players.

He speaks of how a site should cater to a variety of player types (casual players, “semi-professional” players, pros), give priority to software and user experience, be “transparent” with its intentions, be fair to all and vigilant to keep things safe, be willing to evolve with the game and market, and above all understand the need to keep players happy and (therefore) coming back.

Near the end he talks how an online poker site “shouldn’t obsess over where poker was five or ten years ago.” A good point, something most who were playing online poker five or ten years ago and who are still around the game today have a hard time with as well.

In some ways it amounts to a wish list, describing a kind of situation and site that hasn’t ever really existed and possibly cannot, or at least not on anything more than a very small scale.

It’ll be interesting, though, to see both what Galfond is able to do and whether or not the site has any sort of meaningful impact on the present state of things for online poker. Hard not to take that name -- Run It Once -- and apply it to this endeavor, insofar as I imagine this isn’t the sort of thing Galfond (or most) would want to try a second time should the first go-round not work out.

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