Full Tilt, PokerStars to Share Liquidity

Date: 2016-02-17
Author: Jason Glatzer

Amaya Gaming, the owner of PokerStars and Full Tilt, shook up the online poker world this week by announcing that it will be merging the liquidity of both sites to run all games on one single network.
At least in the short-term, software-wise, things will remain somewhat the same.  Players can choose between Full Tilt and PokerStars to play any of the games on the now larger network.  This means you can have your cake and eat it too if you like the games on PokerStars, but if you like the table layouts and cartoon themed avatars on Full Tilt, you can play there instead.
The universal network should provide a boost to the liquidity on PokerStars, but how much is yet to be determined, as many of those playing on Full Tilt are also likely playing on PokerStars.  That being said, it should help some of the lesser-played ring games and sit and gos run more often and provide some boost to tournament prize pools as well.
Also, according to a press release, Amaya is committed to running a "dual-poker brand strategy" between the two sites.  It is reported that Full Tilt will continue to keep some branded differences such as Rush Poker instead of Zoom Poker and some of its own special tournaments.
As far as promotions and VIP rewards go, players will be able to choose between which rewards system they wish to partake in.
PokerStars explained their reasons for creating a universal network between PokerStars and Full Tilt.  "Players will benefit from a larger pool of players offering greater game choice and bigger prize pools," said Rafi Ashkenazi, Chief Executive Officer of Rational Group. "It will also make us more nimble, as we can focus our technological innovation on one platform, rather than two, so we will be able to innovate more quickly and enter newly-regulated and existing markets swiftly."
While this news is surprising today, it would have been thought as impossible five years ago when PokerStars and Full Tilt were both independently run as the two busiest real money online poker networks.
PokerStars more than survived Black Friday in April 2011, remaining the biggest online poker room. However, Full Tilt was unable to pay back its customers and was shut down for over a year.  One year later, PokerStars purchased Full Tilt.
Then in June 2014, Amaya purchased PokerStars and Full Tilt for an earth-shattering $4.9 billion.  During this time, Full Tilt was never able to regain steam and actually has slipped all the way down to 11th place in the PokerScout Online Poker Rankings.

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