Hey Run It Once,
I'm excited to announce that our team has launched a new project, Draftboard.
Draftboard began its journey a bit differently than Run It Once, which was built by myself and my long time friend, Dan. I had a passion to teach poker, and he and I both believed we could create something awesome.
Draftboard is a passion project too, just not my own. Dan, along with the majority of the original Run It Once team, is in love with Daily Fantasy Sports. The RIO team played and discussed DFS nonstop. From time to time, the words "we should do this" were uttered... as they often are within our company.
I'm sure it's normal for small companies that have found some success to dream big. We always have. In fact, there are probably a dozen big ideas we've been excited about and decided to pass on (in favor of the others). So it took a while before "we should do this" turned into, "Phil, can we please do this?" and a serious conversation about what we could bring to the table in a fiercely competitive industry.
As poker players, some things were obvious to us, as I'm sure they were to many of you. We've seen competition in online poker get tougher over the years, and we've learned more and more about the ecosystem and the effect of various factors on it. The structure for DFS competition got set up in a way that would scorch the ecosystem, leaving recreational players with bad experiences and decelerating the growth (eventually accelerating the decline) of the industry as a whole.
DFS, unlike poker, allows for pros to enter additional lineups with no degradation in skill. In poker, I can try to play 30 tables, but at that point, I think any of you would be happy to play with me. It was silly how many times DFS pros could enter their lineups, and especially silly that they used to have no reason not to flick their lineup into a $1 contest along with their high-stakes contests.
The DFS industry leaders entered into an arms race for the largest prize pools and biggest payouts. With that being the goal, you're handcuffed in terms of your policies. You have to allow mass multi-entry. You have to spend ludicrous amounts on marketing rather than, say, offering lower rake.
The problem is, this creates more losing experiences for the customers you've spent so much to acquire, which in turn damages your retention - the key to the growth of the industry. It leaves a lot of new players with a bad taste in their mouth.
There has been so much invested into DFS, in large part because of the size of the fantasy sports world as a whole. There's no doubt about it - people love fantasy sports. And those same people will almost surely love daily fantasy sports, too. It's really, really fun.
But if your premise for the growth of an industry is the (massive) number of people playing in $20 leagues with their friends, do you need a $5 million prize pool? Aren't those same people having a ton of fun with their chance to win $200?
Don't get me wrong - I know the chance to win millions is incredibly exciting, and I do think there's a place for contests like that. I just think that the cost to the ecosystem and to the average user experience is high, and I think that there's also a place in the industry for something different.
Draftboard was built to be that something.
We focus on what we believe is most important - the fun and excitement of the game, the connection between fans and athletes.
As most of the guys who were so passionate about this project are on RIOs design and development team, they were especially excited about creating our Live section - the most design-and-development-intensive part of Draftboard. The Live section lets you follow the action for all players on your team with animations playing out in real-time as things happen - all on one field. So, rather than watching a point total flash and update, you can watch your QB throw deep down the field and sweat the result. This is my personal favorite part of the site.
In order to address the problems I discussed above, we came up with a way to allow users to multi-enter while not putting single entry users at a disadvantage. We call it Fair Match, and in addition to being better for the DFS ecosystem, it means you don't need to spend any time thinking about the contest-entry part of DFS. We believe the focus should be on the fun part. You can read more about Fair Match and how it works here.
Draftboard is not about massive contests with huge prize pools, but for those who like that sweat of a big payday, we've got our $10,000 Record Breaker, which you've got a chance to win with an entry into any of our contests.
The majority of my focus has been on our poker products here at Run It Once, as that's where I'm an expert. I've acted as more of a consultant on Draftboard, which has been built primarily by the segment of the RIO team with a strong passion for Daily Fantasy. Dan, Zach, Drew, Pedro, Craig, Justen, Parker, and Ryan have put their blood, sweat, and tears into this project, along with help from so many others on the extended RIO team.
Perhaps I'm biased, but I think they've built something beautiful. I'm very, very proud and I feel lucky that I get to be a part of it.
If you're into DFS, I hope you'll try out Draftboard and let us know what you think. Like most new projects, we'll be constantly trying to improve the user experience and we're working out some kinks as we go. We love feedback and we'd really appreciate your help perfecting our vision.
Even if you aren't interested in depositing, we're putting $1 into every new account so that we can get as much input as possible. Just sign up and verify your details (must be located in a country/state we serve) and you'll have your dollar. (Use it this weekend and you could win the $10k for nothing)
Please send any thoughts, suggestions, etc. to [email protected] We're looking forward to hearing from you. Thanks, guys.