Best Surprises That Came From the PokerStars Full Tilt Merger2 years ago
The merger of the software and player pools of online poker giants PokerStars and Full Tilt has now been completed. Full tilt left the poker world recently with a whisper rather than a roar with an average of 600 cash players on the site over a seven day period in May compared to PokerStars, who regularly boasted over 12,500 players a week. The completion of the merger marks the end of the process first announced after Amaya had purchased The Rational Group for $3.4 billion in 2014.
But the reality is that this was not a merger of two giants, but a merger of two very well-known brands and it would have been easy for PokerStars to have swallowed up Full Tilt and not cared about those players who loved the platform and enjoyed playing there. But Amaya understood the strength of feeling for the Full Tilt brand so have ensured it is respected and preserved. Players who expected Full Tilt to go extinct have had a number of pleasant surprises in this respect and here are just a few of them.
Players can choose either platform for play
Fans of Full Tilt will be pleased to know that you can log in to either of the two platforms and your full tilt desktop icon, once you have ran the updates and followed instructions to open your new PokerStars account and tidy up the transfer, can still be used to play on what will look like Full Tilt’s software. It has not closed and been lost forever, as you might have expected it could be.
This will delight the diehard Full Tilt fans who admirably stuck with the company until the bitter end and retain a nostalgic love for the site. Whilst you can continue to play on the site, although you will really be playing on PokerStars, but it will look like Full Tilt, which is better than the alternative, which was to lose it completely.
Self exclusion limits maintained across both platforms
Playing poker is a pastime where we play hopefully grow our bankroll over time and we balance this pursuit with other activities in our lives that we enjoy. Unfortunately some poker players do not have this balance and I was therefore pleasantly surprised to see that the merger has carefully considered how self-exclusion will work across both sites.
Players who have decided to place limits on their accounts will be pleased to note that Amaya has respected their decisions to do so. In the event players have an account on both poker rooms, the most restrictive controls will be retained as the initial settings when the accounts first merge. Players can make changes from that starting point as they wish.
This demonstrates a genuine commitment to promoting responsible gambling, which is an admirable starting position for the poker rooms to take, rather than leaving the players an opportunity to make unwise decisions.
Automatic Bankroll Transfer
Change is never easy but it is a pleasant surprise to see a migration system that is working well. Thankfully there is not that much to do if you already have a bankroll on Full Tilt and wish to move it to PokerStars. You simply follow the instructions to open up a PokerStars account if you do not already have one and then your bankroll is automatically made available to you, initially separated as a Full Tilt balance and a PokerStars balance. There is a dedicated support email if you run into any problems.
Any Full Tilt points will be converted to StarsCoins at the rate of 1 StarsCoin for every 2.5 Full Tilt points. This ensures that high volume players receive adequate compensation for the rewards they have already accrued for their loyalty to Full Tilt, which is good customer service.
Full Tilt Players Get Access to awesome Player Pools Again
For an old poker romantic like me it has been difficult to watch Full Tilt fade into obscurity. The strength of the brand has not matched the strength of their player pool. I am therefore pleased that the players who stuck resolutely with Full Tilt now get to enjoy the swelled player pools of PokerStars. Hopefully they find a happy new online poker home there.
Were you lucky on Full Tilt?
Not everything is mathematical and measured. We should not forget the abstract reasons why players might prefer Full Tilt and were slow to leave the site even when times were tough. Many players believed they had a great record because Full Tilt was lucky for them. They enjoyed some of their best poker memories and highest wins on the site and they reasoned that if it is not broken, why fix it?
Many players thought that they always ran badly on PokerStars and the poker gods are kinder to them on Full Tilt. They will hope that the merger allows them to get one over on the poker gods, getting PokerStars player pools but retain their Full Tilt luck! I hope it works out for them.
A stronger site makes for happier players
Adding 600 players to a player pool of 12,500 might not seem like much, but every little helps for PokerStars. This will increase the competition at the cash game tables, it will make poker tournaments that little bit bigger and prize pools more attractive. That is what we all want and if you win a tournament or go on a cash game heater, you will enjoy the fruits of your labors in a larger online poker room with more players.
Ongoing review of Software and game options
Speaking on the 2+2 poker forums, Full Tilt Head of Security ‘Michael J’ has been active in engaging with players and assisting with their problems. This in itself is excellent. In response to suggestions made about adding popular features from the Full Tilt software to PokerStars software, he said:
A few specific games previously available via Full Tilt may not be immediately available, however, the game offering will be continuously reviewed.”
This statement demonstrates a keenness from PokerStars to innovate the software as time progresses but I expect that the major focus at present is to ensure all players are assisted in getting started on the new platform and any problems they encounter are solved as quickly as possible. Once this is completed the focus can shift to innovating the existing software and adding more popular features into the single platform. This will deliver ongoing improvements to the online poker experience for all the player pool that has now been joined together.
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