After almost 19 months of inactivity and constant questions over the fate of player money, Full Tilt Poker has relaunched under the ownership of PokerStars. Real money play recommenced on the 6th of November, coinciding with an array of promotional bonuses attempting to lure back former customers.
So far players have remained tentative, with the site peaking at around 14,000 players – a pittance compared with former numbers of 50,000 or more. Tournament guarantees have been significantly reduced as expected, although site management must have been pleased to see the flagship Sunday $200k guarantee (formerly the $750k) reaching over $600k in prizemoney.
Full Tilt’s formerly overflowing stable of pros has been totally overhauled with only three signings to date; high profile pros Gus Hansen, Tom ‘durrrr’ Dwan and Viktor ‘Isildur1′ Blom. Player discontent over former FTP management’s wasteful practices will no doubt provide added incentive to keep the red pro count down.
Although USA players will be forced to wait on the Department of Justice for news of their funds, it appears that the vast majority of other players have had their accounts credited with Full Tilt Points and cash.
In the meantime, Full Tilt has aggressively moved to cut off their substantial affiliate program, shedding all operators and revamping the Iron Man / Black Card VIP Program with their own ‘Edge Rewards’. At the highest level, players will receive $2.50 per 100 FTPs or 25% rakeback. However, purchases from the VIP Store will no longer affect cash returns, effectively making for a higher rakeback level for any reasonably high volume player.
The exact consequences for players will be revealed more fully as play gradually comes back to regular levels.