PokerStars Retiring Full Tilt Poker Brand on February 25

POkerStars is retiring the Full Tilt Poker brand on Feb. 25, 2021

February 25 marks the end of an era. PokerStars is retiring the Full Tilt Poker Brand.

Full Tilt Poker launched in 2004 only three years after PokerStars hit the online poker world. Its team contained some of the game’s biggest names. Chris Ferguson, Howard Lederer, Mike Matusow, Erik Seidel, and others put their names to the site.

The slick, colorful software was the best in the business, and still is to this day. Full Tilt Poker garnered plenty of interest from its inception and became the second-largest online poker site in the world.

Learn, chat, and play with the pros” was the slogan used by the booming online site. The slogan worked judging by the tens of thousands of players who chose Full Tilt Poker for their online poker grind.

The site was the home to the games biggest cash games. Rail Heaven, with its $500/$1,000 blinds, became a fan favorite. Phil Ivey, Gus Hansen, and Tom Dwan battled it out for massive pots day in, day out.

Black Friday: The Demise of Full Tilt Poker

Black Friday hit the online poker world like a wrecking ball on April 15, 2011. It hit Full Tilt Poker harder than any other operator out there. The site raked in millions of dollars every day, yet it found itself in a monumental financial hole.

Gross mismanagement left the company’s bank balances in the red to the tune of $390 million. Full Tilt Poker had $60 million cash but player balances totaled $390 million. Some $150 million of that ridiculous sum belonged to players in the United States.

The site tried and failed, to reassure it would make good on player deposits. Mass panic ensued, and the rate of withdrawals far outweighed money coming in. The site lost its gambling license. It looked dead in the water.

PokerStars to the Rescue: Buys Full Tilt Poker Assets and Debts

PokerStars came to the rescue in July 2012 when it acquired the assets and debts of the fallen giant. The U.S. government received $547 million, and PokerStars paid the $184 million owed to non-US players. It paid the balances to American customers, although the U.S. government made that process complicated.

Full Tilt Poker relaunched in November 2012 but failed to reach the dizzy heights of its heyday. PokerStars merged with Full Tilt Poker, the latter became a skin of PokerStars. Both sites shared the same traffic, but Full Tilt Poker players enjoyed that famous software.

Famous Brand Fully Retires on February 25

The famous, perhaps infamous, Full Tilt Poker brand ceases to exist from February 25. This is the date PokerStars finally puts its one-time biggest rival to bed. A statement in PokerStars’ FAQ section gives reasons for the impending closure.

“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.”

Anyone hoping to get their hands on the retired site’s software will be disappointed because it’s not for sale. PokerStars could charge tens of millions of dollars for the software, but it retiring it instead.

Doing so is a shame for the consumer, yet understandable from a business aspect. PokerStars’ software has undergone several major updates of late but some argue it’s still not as good as the software it’s binning. Selling to a rival operator who then updates and refines it would be bad business for PokerStars.

PokerStars says the software is going into a vault, but Flutter Entertainment owns PokerStars. We wonder if the parent company will have other ideas when it realizes it’s sitting on a goldmine.

Matthew Pitt

If it’s something you can play online for real money, chances are Matthew knows a bit about it. He’s been writing about slots, craps and poker for the better part of the last decade. He’s written for PokerNews, PartyPoker and many other respected online gambling websites during the last nine years.


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