Full Tilt Poker a shadow of its former self

On November 6, Full Tilt Poker re-opened under new management after the Black Friday domain seizures. It was predicted to return with a bang, and it did.

September 28, 2012: Our hero cashes in the $150 HORSE freeroll on Full Tilt.

Alas, that prediction was made prior to the relaunch, and after a series of "welcome back" freerolls had been announced. The consensus now is that it wonít be around for long, or that if it does survive, it will be literally as a shadow of its former self. An excellent analysis of the current state of play can be found on the 4flush website.

While one should not expect Full Tilt to bounce back to its former glories within a week or two, this article is spot on, especially with regard to the rakeback situation. The siteís new loyalty programme isnít bad, although it is really of use only to high volume players, but no rakeback and no more affiliates means that said affiliates are not plugging the site anymore. The biggest such affiliate is the UK-based RakeTheRake; all mention of Full Tilt has been dropped from their site, although PokerStars is still listed there. For now. Another affiliate, Rakemeback, has actually been e-mailing players advising them of alternatives to Full Tilt, undoubtedly others have been doing the same, so the site has not only lost all its free Internet advertising, it is actually being dissed throughout cyberspace.

How great has the fall in traffic been? Well, on Wednesday night I entered the $150 HORSE freeroll. Two years ago this would have been full up within minutes of registration opening. The tournament has a maximum of 7,500 players and pays only 45 places. On Wednesday, I cashed for the first time ever - okay, I only ever played it here and there - but there were only 2,515 runners. I finished 25th winning $2.25, free entertainment and free money, but look at the screengrab below: fewer than 10,000 players on the site around 10am London time. Even worse is that lengthy list of voided tournaments, including freerolls. The 23.45 $5 stud hi lo (18.45 here) is among those voided. Two years ago this tournament usually had a good turn out. Incidentally, this, like the HORSE freeroll, is now a turbo tournament, which is another retrograde step.

Next month, there is a series on Full Tilt; in January there is mini-series. This latter will be I think the turning point for the site, because if it canít attract a good turnout for a once popular small buy-in promotion, it will have no future, certainly not in the first division of on-line poker.

A screengrab from the new Full Tilt Poker. Less than ten thousand players on the site, and a long list of voided tournaments, including freerolls.

[The above was published originally November 30, 2012].

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