Full Tilt Poker Site Nears Shuttering

The historic Full Tilt Poker brand is in its final days of existence, with the online site due to be turned off as parent company The Stars Group takes the last remnants of FTP off the Internet on February 25.

By: Haley Hintze

Full Tilt’s closure marks the end of a run spanning nearly 17 years, one of the longest to date in online poker history. The site first went live in 2004, founded by a bevy of well-known Las Vegas poker pros. Full Tilt snared some of its technical talent from another early-2000s startup, UltimateBet parent Excapsa, and like UltimateBet it quickly became one of the online world’s top sites.

Also like UltimateBet successor UB.com, Full Tilt ran afoul of the US government and was forced offline in April of 2011 on poker’s infamous Black Friday. Full Tilt Poker as a brand was on hiatus for nearly two years and didn’t return for the rest of the world until the end of 2012, after its assets had been purchased by former PokerStars parent Rational Group from the US government, which had seized them. The FTP site was relaunched for the rest of the world.

However, the Full Tilt brand name had been irreparably damaged. Many international players who rejoined the site did so only to reclaim long-frozen balances, and a short-lived marketing program designed to give Full Tilt Poker a new identity fizzled.

By 2016 the Full Tilt brand had been relegated to being a skin of sorts on the PokerStars network, receiving relatively little marketing and development support. The Stars Group acknowledged its plans to retire the Full Tilt brand last year, stating, “Our commitment to improving the 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.”

Full Tilt’s existence as a PokerStars skin in recent years has become ever more transparent. For some time, players have not even needed to have a Full Tilt account or log-in to access the game through the Full Tilt site, being able to use their existing Stars account for that purpose. The download links at Full Tilt’s online home have also long since stopped offering a “Full Tilt”-branded client, instead simply offering the current version of the main PokerStars client.

Shutting down the Full Tilt skin will require a forced migration of all remaining FTP accounts over to official PokerStars accounts, with that beginning on February 25th. Full Tilt players had long since been enrolled in the Stars Rewards program for secondary benefits, and the final removal of the Full Tilt skin assures all players will have the same full functionality while removing unneeded Stars Group software expense.

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