There isn’t much unique poker programming today, and even less when considering everything that falls under the PokerGO umbrella. So, when one entity bought Poker Night in America, which does produce content around poker tournament final tables and cash games, it was big news.
Rush Street Interactive (RSI) announced the acquisition of the company recently, in its second-quarter results for the current year. Among other accomplishments and goals, RSI noted that it looked forward to “expanded content production and creation capabilities with the acquisition of Poker Night in America.”
The quarterly financial presentation also noted that it was “adding poker content to engage an incremental player demographic to cross-sell to casino and sportsbook.”
And all for the low, low price of $2.2M in cash and $2.7M in stock.
— Rush Street Interactive (@RSInteractive_) August 4, 2022
RSI CEO Richard Schwartz expanded on the idea a bit more in his earnings call with investors. He noted that RSI completed the acquisition of Poker Night in America, a show with a strong fan base, library of poker content, and the capability to create more media content. He added that it will “help to further build out the BetRivers network and engage our target audience on an ongoing basis.”
Coordinating with Run It Once Poker
One might remember that RSI purchased another poker product earlier this year. At the beginning of March, they acquired Run It Once Poker, the startup online poker platform built and launched by longtime poker pro Phil Galfond.
Run It Once had been positioned to head into the still-and-forever burgeoning US online poker market at some point, and the RSI deal set it on its path forward.
Run It Once Poker’s platform and team, myself included, were acquired by Rush Street Interactive (RSI), with the plan to solidify, enhance, and integrate our software into their platform. (2/6)
— Phil Galfond (@PhilGalfond) March 3, 2022
At the time, Galfond also noted that he was proud of the poker platform he and his team created. He was excited to see it in the hands of someone who would put it to good use…and bring Galfond with it. Together, he said they were building a tech team to bring RIO into the US market at some point in the future.
Before you ask:
No, I don’t yet have a launch date or place(s) to share with you 🙂 (6/6) pic.twitter.com/dguOBH6OKt
— Phil Galfond (@PhilGalfond) March 3, 2022
That acquisition cost RSI $5.8M. It would help the company expand from its online casino and sportsbook platforms in America, with the inclusion of online poker to round out the mix.
When the news of RSI also acquiring Poker Night in America emerged, we asked Galfond what he thought about it. He replied:
“RSI’s acquisition of Poker Night in America illustrates to the public what the Run It Once team and I have known for a while now: RSI is not just a gaming company looking to plug in poker to round out its offering but is one who truly understands and values the game we all love.”
Top 5 Reasons to RSI Might Have Acquired PNIA
One could look at the poker-related acquisitions of RSI this year as Galfond does, with anticipation of a new, high-end poker product preparing to enter the US market.
Keep in mind, though, that Rush Street Interactive is currently only operating in three states in which poker is an option for launch at this time: New Jersey, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. When those three states eventually authorize the poker sites in all three states to work together to share player pools, it will make more sense to launch poker.
Meanwhile, we try to figure out how Poker Night in America fits into the picture. It appears to be a positive move for everyone involved, though PNIA didn’t respond to a request for comment. Assuming it is a positive for PNIA, we came up with our own reasons for RSI picking up the show.
- Poker Night in America is a catchier name than Poker Night in New Jersey, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. (The acronym would be PNINJMAP.)
- The emergence of Shaun Deeb’s sparkly hat put Rush Street executives into a trance.
- Matt Glantz slipped Rush Street executives a crisp $20 after he won the million-dollar bounty at the WSOP this summer.
- Phil Galfond’s soothing video voice seemed like a perfect match to narrate the smooth stylings of online poker players.
- RSI thought it was buying the next MMA brand called Poker Fight in America.
The reports of our demise have been greatly exaggerated. Actually there have been no such reports. PNIA is alive and well thank you.
— Todd Anderson (@PokerNight_Todd) August 16, 2022