Poker Community to Say Adios to Full Tilt Poker this Week

3 min read

For better or for worse, you can say goodbye to the Full Tilt Poker site for good this week, as PokerStars has decided to officially retire it effective Feb. 25. For many poker players, it will be a bittersweet and sad ending to the once prominent poker site.

Full Tilt poker site
These pros once proudly promoted the formerly popular Full Tilt Poker site. (Image: Upswing Poker)

Full Tilt was the premier place, along with PokerStars, to play cards on the internet during the poker boom era. As the company’s famous slogan went, you could “learn, chat, and play with the pros” at FTP. Many of the game’s biggest stars represented the site, including Phil Ivey, Tom “durrrr” Dwan, and Mike Matusow.

Two other high-profile pros — Chris “Jesus” Ferguson and Howard Lederer — will forever be linked to the poker site, but for all the wrong reasons. On April 15, 2011, the infamous “Black Friday,” the US Department of Justice shut down major poker sites from operating in the United States, including PokerStars, Ultimate Bet/Absolute Poker, and Full Tilt Poker.

PokerStars bails out Full Tilt Poker

When American players were suddenly blocked from playing online, many feared what might happen to their account balances. PokerStars paid off its players in a relatively quick manner, but FTP was so poorly managed by co-founder Ray Bitar and, execs Ferguson and Lederer, that the company didn’t have reserves available to pay the players.

In July 2012, PokerStars purchased Full Tilt Poker for pennies on the dollar. As part of a $731 million settlement with the US government, the world’s largest online poker company agreed to pay off FTP’s American players.

Full Tilt Poker didn’t cease to exist following “Black Friday.” The poker site continued to operate outside the US over the past decade, but with far less attention. The big-name pros all left the site, never to return again.

But the current owners of the brand have now decided that it’s time to finally shut it down completely. PokerStars recently announced that on Feb. 25, 2021, the Full Tilt desktop and mobile applications will no longer be available. As for why, the online gaming giant gave a brief explanation.

“Our commitment to improving PokerStars software and the PokerStars customer experience in recent years has limited the amount of focus and resources we could apply to the evolution of Full Tilt. We feel it is time to consolidate brands so that everyone has access to the newest features and most innovative games which are available exclusively on PokerStars,” a company statement read.

Those who signed up for an FTP account will automatically be given a PokerStars account. That will be effective immediately, meaning current FTP players will now have a PokerStars username and account, even if they never asked for one.

So, that’s it. After 17 years, one of the most polarizing and popular poker sites in history will be eliminated from existence in two days. Those who earned a nice living playing in the soft games on Full Tilt Poker may see this as a bittersweet ending.

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