On February 16, 2016, Canadian online gambling company Amaya issued an official statement announcing that as soon as this spring, its two online poker sites, Full Tilt and PokerStars, will combine. Each site will retain its appearance as well several brand-specific promotions. The main difference compared to how they currently operate will be player liquidity – both sites will now share the same player pool.
In the press release announcing the merger of the two platforms, Rational Group CEO Rafi Ashkenazi expressed his excitement for the merger:
“Players will benefit from a larger pool of players offering greater game choice, bigger prize pools.
It will also make us more nimble as we can focus our technological innovation on one platform, rather than two, so we will be able to innovate more quickly and enter newly-regulating and existing markets swiftly.”
Why has Amaya decided to combine the two online poker platforms?
Since Full Tilt’s 2012 relaunch, the online poker site has been in a decline but remains profitable.
The press release confirms that there will be some company restructuring. In the press release, Amaya specifically alludes to redundancies at Full Tilt’s Dublin office:
“The migration will result in the elimination of a number of roles in the Company’s Dublin office. Staff who are at-risk have been notified and the company is in the final stages of a formal consultation process to determine the extent of the redundancies and expects to conclude that process in coming months.”
Amaya will be using a dual-brand strategy, which the company believes will maintain the distinct differences between – and values of – both brands. Although PokerStars is the most successful online poker site globally, the Full Tilt brand has far too much value for Amaya to consider getting rid of it completely.
What will some of the changes be?
One of the biggest changes for players is that everyone on Full Tilt will be migrated to the PokerStars VIP system. The PokerStars VIP system includes their player rewards program and VIP points. Players with accounts at both sites will have to use one universal account.
The player pool merger will probably be positive overall for online poker players; both sites are well known for their reliable platforms so the combination of both will have obvious benefits. Software issues will be addressed more quickly, platform improvements will probably arrive much faster than before, and players can still primarily choose to use the platform of their choice.
Full Tilt Casino will be a part of Amaya’s plans to combined their two online casino brands, but it will be handled separately. The online casino will be out of commission for some time due to the changeover process.
In an attempt to raise awareness about the merger, Full Tilt will be running several promotions. The promos will include The Deal Jackpot with a guarantee of at least $1,000,000 with an additional $2,000 added each day for the duration of the promotion. The promotion will begin before the sites merge, and continue even after the process is complete.
Players that have played exclusively on Full Tilt will have the option of taking advantage of the PokerStars new player deposit bonus, which is worth up to $600 per player.