Full Tilt Poker Adding Casino Games

Date: 2013-07-17
Author: Jason Glatzer

Full Tilt Poker's parent company, the Rational Group, recently confirmed rumors that it plans to expand into the online gaming industry. While it is not foreign for gaming networks that offer online poker, it is a bit of a shock that Full Tilt, which was originally branded solely as a poker network, would forge ahead with it.

Here is the official statement that the Rational Group made to Official Poker Rankings: "The Rational Group intends to expand our product offering to include casino-style games on Full Tilt Poker. While adding new games, we remain committed to building our leadership in poker with PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker and continuing to deliver the highest quality poker experience to players."

It added, "The new games on Full Tilt will provide more options with the same high-quality player experience, integrity, security, safety, and support that players have come to expect from our brands. PokerStars will continue to offer a poker-only experience.”

As part of the re-branding, Full Tilt plans to drop the “Poker” from its well-known Full Tilt Poker brand name and possibly become Full Tilt Gaming or something similar. Maybe this will make some of my Full Tilt Poker merchandise collectable.  It seems to me it is the end of another era of online poker.

Personally, I enjoy playing on Full Tilt Poker for the variety of games it offers, some of which can't be found anywhere else like 10-Game Mixed, Matrix Sit and Gos, and Multi-Entry Tournaments. The site, at times, has been a pioneer in the industry, as it was the first to release the popular fast-paced game Rush Poker. The software is one of the best in the industry and I hope the site continues to focus on its poker client while going through the re-branding process.

I am less likely now to play on Full Tilt Poker because of this announcement. I find networks that offer casino games prey on people who go on tilt and try to quickly get their money back in a casino. Instead of this money being filtered through the poker ecology, it is usually quickly given to the network operators, reducing the healthiness of the site. Although it is very rare for me to go on tilt, I do not like having the option to do so in a casino and am not likely to keep sizable balances on the network once the casino is released.

As most of you are already aware, online poker can be profitable, especially when using resources like third-party software, training sites, and coaching. While anyone can have a short-term profitable run in online casino games, in the long-term, this is not possible since the house always has an edge. At best, one can minimize the house edge by learning how to optimize their play in a variety of games.  Encouraging the fish to shift their play to online casino gaming can only result in the games becoming more difficult.

I am speculating that one of the reasons that Full Tilt Poker is re-branding is to allow for easier entry into the U.S. marketplace in states that are regulated. Currently, only Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware have passed regulations allowing online poker to be played in those states by state-licensed poker sites; however, there are a few more that could have online poker regulated in the near future. A few of these states will allow online casino gaming as well, which if the Rational Group doesn't have a client to quickly offer, it could be left in the dust or minimally at a competitive disadvantage.

Fortunately, the Rational Group, which also owns PokerStars, does not have any plans to also offer casino games on the most popular online poker room in the world. When Full Tilt shifts to offering online casino games, PokerStars will be one of the few remaining networks out there that only offers online poker.

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