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HUDs Will Not Be Allowed on the Run It Once Poker Room

Phil Galfond

Phil Galfond’s Run It Once online poker room is set to launch in summer 2018 and when it does, players on the site will not be allowed to use Heads-Up Displays (HUDs).

Galfond recently penned a lengthy blog entry on the Run It Once website that details some of the policies of the soon-to-be-released Run It Once online poker room. Galfond revealed that Run It Once Poker is being built from the ground up and it isn’t going to try to be “888 with lower rake or partypoker with different designs or PokerStars with more transparency. We’re here to be Run It Once.”

HUDs Banned From Run It Once Poker

The first policy that is sure to cause a debate in the online poker community is that HUDs will not be allowed at Run It Once Poker. Galfond explains that the gap between professional players and recreational players has continued to widen over the years and as HUDs grow more advanced, that gap continues to widen.

"I wonder how many people have quit online poker simply from seeing something like this."

Galfond also explains his vision that seeing HUDs can be scary for recreational players and can put them off playing online poker. “If I’m a recreational player and I see a Twitch streamer of Run It Once training video that looks like this [a screen covered in HUD stats] I’m thinking that I have no chance. A number of people even think that this is some kind of bot (which it’s definitely not, guys!). I wonder how many people have quit online poker simply from seeing something like this."

The Run It Once Poker team discussed HUDs at length and created a system that makes using a HUD -EV using a three-step program: prevention, enforcement, and disincentivizing.

The blog does not detail how the Run It Once Poker team will prevent the use of HUDs on the site. Instead, Galfond has highlighted a couple of features coming to Run It Once Poker that will vastly reduce the advantage one would gain from using a HUD.

HUDs Will Not Be Allowed on the Run It Once Poker Room 101
Table Aliases (image courtesy of RunItOnce.eu)

Table Aliases

Many online poker sites have anonymous tables and Run It Once will have these too, but with a difference. Instead of being called Player 1, Player 2, or even a string of numbers, Run It Once Poker players will be randomly assigned a first name and a last initial that will be displayed to your opponents on that particular table. Having names instead of numbers means you can remember opponents more easily and it is easier to notice if someone has left the table and has been replaced with a new player, as Galfond explains.

"Table Aliases are more like temporary IDs than a collection of faceless numbers."

“You’ll more easily notice if seat 2 leaves the table and is replaced by a new seat 2, because Simon T will be replaced by Meredith R, for example. If Simon T comes back after eating dinner, he will still be Simon T, and you will still have the notes you took on him. Table Aliases are more like temporary IDs than a collection of faceless numbers.”

Galfond goes on to explain that this system eliminates the potential advantage of players accumulating and analyzing hands you’ve played via datamining and eliminates the possibility of your results ever being made public, therefore reducing the practice known as “bumhunting.”

Players who may be uneasy with the anonymous tables because they won’t be able to investigate suspicious behavior themselves, need not worry because Galfond and his team have come up with a solution. Run It Once Poker will send you your hand histories 24 hours after you’ve played and do so with every player’s hole cards revealed. The hand histories will be anonymized with the same “first name last initial” format that the players were displaying at your table.

The Run It Once team estimates that this system will reduce the value of using a HUD by approximately 60 percent if someone managed to avoid the HUD detection systems in place and were prepared to risk the yet-to-be-announced punishment. Galfond and his team have created a system that they believe levels the playing field in a fun way and results in reducing HUD effectiveness by approximately 90 percent when combined with the table aliases.

Dynamic Avatars

Run It Once will have a kind of built-in HUD, but one with a significant difference. Instead of displaying several statistics next to your opponents, the stats will be collected and grouped into one of eight playstyle categories, and that information will be communicated to you via their avatar’s emotions.

These Dynamic Avatars only take into account the hands you have played against an individual opponent and use VPIP, PFR, and 3bet stats. These statistics show how often an opponent voluntarily puts money into the pot (how loose or tight they are), how often they raise preflop, and how often they three-bet.

The avatars will change over the course of a session as the players’ playing style alters and Galfond promises to share all of the criteria Run It Once Poker uses to classify players.

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Dynamic Avatars (image courtesy of RunItOnce.eu)

Conclusion

Galfond concludes his length blog piece by claiming Dynamic Avatars and Table Aliases reduce HUD effectiveness by up to 90 percent while supplying information to players who would ordinarily have none.

"We believe we’ve made our games more fair in a way that adds to, rather than subtracts from, the playing experience."

“Along with prevention, detection and punishment, we think we have an effective way to enforce our no-HUD policy, which takes us one step closer to the level playing field that we aspire to offer at Run It Once Poker. Also very important to us: We believe we’ve made our games more fair in a way that adds to, rather than subtracts from, the playing experience.”

The blog entry is the first in a series that will detail Run It Once Poker’s policies and features so stay tuned to PokerNews as we bring you all the latest from Run It Once Poker.

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  • Phil Galfond reveals that HUDs will be banned from the Run It Once Poker site.

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