The RunGood Poker Series (RGPS) was born out of RunGoodGear, a premier poker clothing company founded in 2012. From its humble beginnings, which included president Tana Karnchanakphan (AKA Tana Karn), distributing RunGood shirts out of a backpack at the World Series of Poker (WSOP), the RGPS tour launched in 2014 and had established itself as a major force in the mid-major market. In fact, it won “Mid-Major Tour/Circuit” in back-to-back years at the Global Poker Awards (2018 & 2019).
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The RGPS is a two-time Global Poker Award-winning tour for “Mid-Major Tour/Circuit”. The tour usually hosts weeklong festivals comprised of affordable side events culminating in traditionally $575-$675 Main Events, which run Friday-Sunday.
Each season of the RGPS, which currently awards championship rings but has previously awarded medallions, championship belts, and even cowboy boots, comes with a fun theme. Some of the themes from past seasons include “Showbound”, “Game Seven”, “RunGood Cup”, “Old West”, a charity-themed season with Operation Gratitude, the post-pandemic “Comeback Tour," and the newest Checkpoint powered by PokerGO. The 2023 season was designed to raisie funds for their non-profit partner, Operation Gratitude.
They have also formed a partnership with PokerGO to send players to an end-of-year invite-only tournament to be filmed at PokerGO Studios in Las Vegas.
When is the RunGood Poker Series (RGPS)?
The RGPS holds stops throughout the year across the country. In the past, they’ve hosted two themed seasons each year – the first taking place in the first half of the year before the WSOP, and the other in the second half of the year after the WSOP.
The RGPS tour launched in 2014 with three stops starting with its inaugural stop at Downstream Casino & Resort in Quapaw, Oklahoma. Bernard Lee topped a 344-entry field, including Ross Bybee in heads-up play, to win the $675 Main Event for $47,555.
Bybee redeemed himself at the next stop at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa when he bested a 317-entry field to win the $675 Main Event for $26,440 after a four-way deal. A month later, the RGPS returned to Downstream and hosted another $675 Main Event, which attracted 262 runners and saw Mark Martin come out on top to claim a $36,218 first-place prize.
In 2015, the tour expanded to seven stops after adding Horseshoe Council Bluffs and an RGPS Cup Championship in New Orleans. The following year, six stops were held including a pair in North Kansas City, while a total of seven stops took place in 2017.
In 2018, Horseshoe Bossier City joined the tour, as did the first-ever RGPS Global Championship Cruise, which was won by Shawn Sparks for $21,417. That year saw 13 stops, but in 2019 that jumped to 17 thanks to Horseshoe Tunica joining the fray.
In 2020, a new stop Jamul Casino in San Diego was held before the global pandemic put the tour on hiatus. It took a year, but the RGPS stormed back in 2021 with a “Comeback Tour” and resumed making its mark in the mid-major market, including at new stops at Florida’s Seminole Hard Rock Coconut Creek and California’s Thunder Valley.
In 2022, RGPS held an "All-Stars Season" season in which they qualified players for a year-end Pro-AM. The second annual RGPS All-Stars Pro-Am saw 65 entrants, a combination of invited pros and qualifiers from across the country, and saw “Boston” Rob Mariano win it for $8,775 top prize and his second RGPS ring of the season.
Mariano is arguably the biggest star to come out of the hit CBS television show Survivor (he’s appeared on six seasons) and has also appeared on Amazing Race, The Price is Right, and most recently Season 2 of Secret Celebrity Renovation.
For 2023, the RGPS announced the "Checkpoint powered by PokerGO" theme. The season started in January at Hard Rock Casino Tulsa and is slated to conclude before the start of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in June. The tour will continue to host its signature events at various stops across the country awarding newly designed 2023 Championship Rings while raising funds for their non-profit partner, Operation Gratitude.
Top RGPS Players
As of January 2023, Daniel Lowery sits atop both the RGPS all-time money list ($198,253) and most titles (7). Lowery also tops the list for most RGPS cashes with 45, as well as most top 10 finishers with 24.
Justin Gardenhire sits behind him with $189,117 in earnings, 5 titles, 21 top 10 finishes, and 35 cashes. Meanwhile, Blair Hinkle has established himself as a force on the tour with $154,572 in earnings from three titles.
Other players with three titles to their credit are Preston McEwen, James Devaney, Derrick Contreras, Eric Bunch, Julie Anna Cornelius, Rodney Spriggs, Michael Albert, John Heckenkamp, and Ross Bybee.
The RGPS takes place all across the country with a focus in the central United States including Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, and Louisiana. They’ve also held stops in California, Florida, and on the high seas!
Yes, most RGPS stops are comprised of a series of side events with a $575-$675 Main Event. Some common side events on the schedule include $185 DeepStack, $135 Bounty, $200 Two Green Chip Bounty, $125 Seniors, etc.
How long has the RGPS been around?
The RGPS debuted as a mid-major tour in 2014.
Who heads up the RGPS?
Tana Karnchanakphan (AKA Tana Karn), who is based out of Tulsa, Oklahoma, is the founder and president of the RGPS.
“The beauty of our growth is that it has always been from referrals or word of mouth,” Karn previously said in an interview. “I’ve always believed in the fact that if you truly have a great product it will be just a matter of time before word gets out.”