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The Full Tilt website, better known as Full Tilt Poker, was once one of the top online poker rooms in the world. However, the name got a bad rap after the U.S. Government shut it down in 2011 on the infamous day that came to be known in the poker community as Black Friday.
Full Tilt Poker didn't stay shuttered for long because in 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice agreed to a purchase of Full Tilt's assets by PokerStars.com, and as a part of the agreement, those Full Tilt players who were owed money got paid.
As of November, 2012, Full Tilt was back in business, and since then, once again, enthusiastically received by recreational and professional poker players alike. At the time of the reopening, continuing right up to today, no one from the U.S. can play for real money at either PokerStars or Full Tilt.
In fact, Resorts Casino in Atlantic City had chosen PokerStars to be its partner in both a state run online poker room that was supposed to open in November, 2013 and a brand new state-of-the-art poker room in the casino itself. Both plans fell through, however, because PokerStars was not only denied a license to open in New Jersey, but barred from reapplying for another two years.
While Full Tilt's U.S. market aspirations were put on hold, the company has focused its attention on expanding its already very large player base (21 million+ registered players worldwide) in another way, the addition of casino games. Many sites starting out with just a casino games or sports betting platform have added online poker, while other sites, initially confined to poker, have diversified their offerings to appeal to players who also like to bet on casino games.
Many people are all round gamblers who enjoy betting on anything. Even those who ordinarily favor one type of gambling, i.e., casino gambling over poker or vice versa, are likely, either out of curiosity, or just to try something different, to cross over to the other if they are both on the same site. One-stop gambling, like one-stop shopping, is very appealing.
Thus far, only two casino games, blackjack (many varieties) and roulette are up and running but there are plans to install more. The possibility of offering sports betting is also being considered.
In the last couple of years, live dealer casinos have become increasingly popular with casino players and Full Tilt opened their first live dealer casino tables on 09/15/2014. For those who are not familiar with live dealer casinos:
In a live dealer casino you have a real dealer operating from a real casino or studio who is projected on players' desktops or mobile devices with the help of livestream cameras. Players can place bets just like at ordinary online casino tables but have the option of using the chat function to interact with the dealer and other players.
Full Tilt are using live dealer software powered by Evolution Gaming and stream the live gaming action from their studios in Riga, Latvia where 50 Full Tilt dealers will be working at the tables. Live blackjack and roulette are being played on Full Tilt's branded casino tables (three blackjack tables and one roulette table) and players can also enjoy live casino hold'em and baccarat using Evolution Gaming products.
Live dealer games can be played on Windows, Mac and mobile devices. Stakes on Full Tilt live dealer roulette tables can be between $0.50 and $2,500 and on blackjack tables between $5 and $1,000. A VIP blackjack table allows bets of up to $2,500.
Full Tilt Poker, and now Full Tilt Casino, are owned and operated by the Rational Group, which is also the parent company of PokerStars, the European Poker Tour, and the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. The Rational Group, collectively overseeing the biggest poker business in the world, takes its responsibility to ensure a safe playing environment and fair gaming practices very seriously.
Not just the poker games, but all of the games have been certified for fairness. In addition, all of a player's personal information and financial transactions are fully protected. Full Tilt is licensed by the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission and the Malta Lotteries and Gambling Authority.
The vast majority of online casinos feature slots as their most prominent game. Some may offer literally hundreds of slots, of every variety imaginable, as well as a huge Welcome Bonus for which slot play is one of the few choices that count at 100% toward meeting the wagering requirements for withdrawal. So it is surprising, that our Full Tilt review team found very few slot games on Full Tilt casino. We found some virtual slots, such as Seven Lucky Dwarfs, Ali Baba, Beowulf and some other games with between 20 and 50+ paylines.
Apart from those, all you can play besides poker are classic casino games like blackjack, roulette, baccarat and casino poker. However, you have a wide choice, especially for blackjack, and most of the games have very favorable rules for the player. The newly launched Evolution Gaming live dealer casino tables should also prove popular with players and the live dealer blackjack tables seem to be doing good business. However, our review team found that some of the live dealers in the Riga studio had strong accents which we had difficulty understanding.
NetEnt is another company chosen by The Rational Group to partner with Full Tilt in its ongoing efforts to build up the casino extension of its business. NetEnt, a product of the Swedish company Net Entertainment, offers over 150 games, a mixture of both slots and table games. Net Entertainment already provides gambling software to many online casino operators all over the world, including such well-known brands as Bet365 and Ladbrokes. Net Entertainment has plenty of experience in the casino gambling industry, being founded in 1996. The primary goal of the NetEnt partnership with Full Tilt has been the development of a mobile platform for its casino games (also see our review for Full Tilt Poker mobile).
At some point in the future, Full Tilt online casino may offer sports betting as well, but who their partner will be for this venture and when sports betting is expected to become available has not yet been confirmed. There are no plans to add either casino games or sports betting to PokerStars. The site will remain a poker site exclusively.
You can play the Full Tilt games either by downloading the software onto your computer or by using the no download instant play flash version on older computers or mobile devices. The new live dealer casinos introduced in September 2014 can also be played on cell phones and tablets.
While some players might be disappointed that, for now at least, classic casino games with a handful of slots are the only games being offered, what you need to know is that the choices you are given for playing these games are not only way better than the limited high-house edge options at many land-based casinos but better than what many online casinos offer as well. Forget American roulette with its double zero wheel and 5.26 house edge; the only roulette offered at Full Tilt Casino is European roulette with just a single zero.
While some players might be disappointed that, for now at least, blackjack and roulette are the only casino games being offered, what you need to know is that the choices you are given for playing these games are not only way better than the limited high-house edge options at many land-based casinos but better than what many online casinos offer as well. Forget American roulette with its double zero wheel and 5.26 house edge; the only roulette offered at Full Tilt Casino is European roulette with just a single zero.
Nor will you find any of the gimmicky blackjack games like Super Fun Blackjack or Spanish 21, or any game that pays 6-5 on blackjacks instead of 3-2. Instead you will find game variations with rules that decrease the house edge instead of adding to it, like the dealer standing on soft 17 and doubling down allowed after splits. As if that isn't reason enough to play here, when was the last time you saw a 4 deck blackjack game that offered surrender? Full Tilt Casino has it!
There are games you can play for play money, if you wish, before switching to real money. Most of the real money games give you a choice of either single player tables or multi-player tables. At the single player tables you can play up to 5 spots and also take as much time as you need to play each hand. At the multi-player tables, you can only play one spot and there is a timer, but, just like in a real casino, you get to enjoy the social interaction aspect of the game and you can even chat with the other players.
Your blackjack options include both Atlantic City and European versions of regular blackjack, and Micro Limit, Premium, and Double Deck blackjack. The specific rules for each game vary, so it is important to familiarize yourself with them beforehand and any changes you need to make in playing strategy. In European blackjack, the dealer does not take a hole card. In the Micro Limit games, the dealer hits soft 17, while in the other versions, the dealer stands on soft 17. The Micro Limit games are ideal for beginners and/or those with a limited bankroll. On the other hand, Premium Atlantic City Blackjack is a 4 deck game where the dealer stands on soft 17 and doubling down on any 2 cards, doubling after non-Ace splits, and surrender are all allowed. Atlantic City has 11 casinos, and this fantastic game does not in exist in any of them!
All of the blackjack games re-shuffle the cards after every hand. So, while you can use your basic strategy chart, the chance of your being barred for card counting is zero!
Our Full Tilt casino review found that the site offers a variety of fast and secure banking options for your convenience. In addition to the commonly found methods, Full Tilt players who also have a PokerStars account can transfer funds back and forth.
Regardless of which banking method you select, through the casino's use of advanced encryption technology, all of your transactions are fully protected.
Full Tilt has a generous Welcome Bonus and loyalty rewards program for poker players and now offers a 100% match bonus for Full Tilt Casino first time depositors.
Cardschat.com poker players at Full Tilt are offered a generous Welcome Bonus of 100% match of their first deposit up to $600, which they can access for withdrawal upon wagering the required amounts in the poker room. They also receive loyalty rewards based on their continued play. A future review will discuss bonuses and rewards to Full Tilt casino players in more detail.
Currently, Full Tilt Casino are running Casino Flipout Freeroll events with a prize pool of $100,000.
Considering that Full Tilt Casino has barely gotten off the ground, it would be unfair to compare it either with the highly successful poker room or with other online casinos. Given time, it's a good bet that there will not only be a much greater variety of games, but also lots of special promotions to make you want to return often. Meanwhile, the existing games should offer some great opportunities to win.
While its games can be played as a flash version inside the casino website, Full Tilt Casino does not yet have any mobile applications. You will have to stick to your computer whenever you want to play. However, the casino is still young so there might soon be a working mobile version.
Full Tilt Casino allows you to try out its games for free which is good when checking out new ones. It also offers a lot of different payment methods to fund your playing. This is all good in a casino that is just starting to get on its feet after several setbacks. The limited casino games are a bit of a downer, but in a few years Full Tilt will probably become a force to be reckoned with so keep checking!