For more than a decade, PokerStars has never once succumbed to the pressures of merging onto an online poker network to increase liquidity. Despite its singularity, the brand skyrocketed to the top of the online poker industry’s totem pole, where it floats among the clouds far above any competitors. Now, the day has finally come as PokerStars’ prepares to relinquish its nonconformity, set to merge player bases with sister-site, Full Tilt, next week.
Amaya Gaming, owner of both online poker sites, decided late last year that the time had finally come to merge its operations; not because PokerStars needed a boost, but because Full Tilt has underperformed – compared to its former glory – since its relaunch under Amaya’s acquisitional arm in November 2012.
Prior to being shut down by the feds in April 2011, Full Tilt (under different ownership) was the second largest online poker room in the world; behind PokerStars, of course. It’s reputation took a plunge following Black Friday – due to the duplicity of its previous owners – but was revived in a purchase deal by Amaya.
Even so, it never quite regained its former popularity. Since the relaunch more than three years ago, Full Tilt has steadily fallen in the ranks, now listed by PokerScout as the 14th most trafficked poker site with a 7-day average of 550 players; a far cry from the 12,500 avg experienced by PokerStars.
There was a time when Amaya actually considered dumping the Full Tilt name and software to the highest bidder. Instead, in a Q3 2015 report, Amaya confirmed intentions to stabilize the flagging operation by sharing liquidity with its superior sister-site.
Players were informed late last year of the plan to retire Full Tilt’s software and integrate PokerStars popular poker platform onto the system. Members of Full Tilt would still be able to access the online poker site with their former username and password, with all account information, loyalty points and financial data remaining intact.
Amaya’s plan was – and still is – to provide as smooth a transition as possible for all members of both sites.
According to a recent announcement, Amaya Gaming is finally prepared to make the conversion. The company has announced that the software update will take place one week from today, on Tuesday, May 17, 2016, officially merging PokerStars and Full Tilt onto a single platform and player base.
“Full Tilt players will continue to enjoy the brand experience they love, with the continuation of Full Tilt avatars and innovative rewards, such as The Deal,” Amaya assured its members.
The move won’t make much of an impact on PokerStars, where an extra 500 players or so will only be a bucket of water in the site’s massive pool. For Full Tilt, however, members will have a much greater range of opportunities, including an immensely expanded field of competition at the cash tables, and many more tournaments with substantially higher guarantees up for grabs.
For Amaya, the adjustment will come with more benefits, especially in the economic department. Pooling resources will certainly save the company a lot of money in the long run, while continuing to grow their player base by focusing their attention on the promotion of a single online poker network.