Full Tilt Poker Proves Successful 6 Months After Relaunch
In April of 2011, Full Tilt Poker, along with some other major online poker brands, was shut down, its domain seized by the US Department of Justice; an event that came to be known as the Black Friday of Online Poker. The site’s finances were in turmoil, thanks to the gross mismanagement of head officers. The future looked bleak for anyone who had money in an account at the online poker site. In November of last year, Full Tilt was relaunched under new ownership, but the anticipation of renewed player generation was tenuous at best.
Here we are, six months later. Under the guidance of Rational Group, the same company that owns the world’s largest online poker room, PokerStars – another victim of the ominous Black Friday – Full Tilt has done quite well for itself. It appears players have come to salvage their former trust in the old poker room, despite having to wait more than a year and a half to receive the funds that had been locked up in frozen accounts.
Old member of FTP have the Rational Group to thank for that, as well. When the US government went after PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, among others, the Rational Group settled its federal case with the DOJ, agreeing to pay more than $700 million in fines and retribution, while claiming no wrong doing in the process. Included in that exorbitant amount of money was the $186 million that Full Tilt Poker owed all of it non-US players. In return for paying off FTP’s inordinate debts, Rational Group was given control of the domain name and allowed to re-launch the Full Tilt Poker website, so long as it did not offer services to American residents.
FTP finally made its way back onto the internet on November 6, 2012. Needless to say, there was an enormous lack of trust between former players and the FTP brand. Owners were quite certain that the number of members logging into the new Full Tilt would be extremely high, but for what purpose – that was the question. Past players would be permitted to withdrawal their due funds (which was entirely expected), to transfer those funds over to a PokerStars account, or to simply log in and continue playing on the Full Tilt Poker tables with the available funds in their account. While the new management team hoped for the latter, many analysts speculated the worst.
As expected, FTP was overwhelmed with player logins over the first few days. Upwards of 6,000 members were logged on at any given time. The withdrawal rate was incredible, causing understandable lag in the system. However, as the payout requests finally slacked off, it was apparent that the poker site’s intense re-launch promotional campaign, which included massive freerolls, happy hour tables and huge cash bonuses for depositors, was paying off.
Almost immediately, Full Tilt Poker reclaimed its position as the second largest online poker site on the world wide web, behind PokerStars, but that was ostensibly attributed to the barrage of withdrawals over the first few weeks. The numbers quickly dropped by half, but FTP had a solution for that as well, re-instating the celebrated FTOPS series. Participation picked back up and the battle for #2 was ferocious between three contenders, Full Tilt Poker, Party Poker and the iPoker Network. Back and forth these three operators went, seizing brief control of the second best spot, only to lose it to another in short order.
According to PokerScout, the leading poker traffic tracking website, average player activity finally leveled off around March. Full Tilt’s 7-day average has been hovering around 3,000 ever since, solidifying its position behind PokerStars. FTP currently sits at an average of 3,300 players online, with as many as 5,791 active, real money players on the tables at peak hours. And with that, the results are official enough to say that yes, Full Tilt Poker has risen from the ashes of its former self.