After being offline since June 2011, Full Tilt Poker relaunched in much of the world Tuesday at 12:00 GMT. The company, which was acquired by FTP’s former competitor PokerStars, is once again offering real-money gaming on the same platform while making available $184 million in balances.
"The return of Full Tilt Poker fills a hole in the community that’s been felt by millions of players," FTP Team Pro Gus Hansen said in a press release. "A lot of people have been waiting for this day to come and now that it’s here we can all look towards a brighter future."
The relaunch has been in the works since the Rational Group, operator of PokerStars, acquired the assets back in July in a deal that included the United States Department of Justice. As part of the deal, PokerStars agreed to pay back worldwide customers while forfeiting $731 million to the DOJ, which will be in charge of repayment of U.S. players through a remission process.
Operations actually recommenced on Wednesday, October 31 when FTP allowed players to sit down at play-money tables, view their balances, and transfer funds to their PokerStars account. It was also at this time that Shyam Markus, FTP’s Poker Room Manager, provided additional information, answered questions on TwoPlusTwo, and highlighted the ability to link their account with PokerStars.
Players in segregated markets like France, Spain, Denmark, Estonia and Belgium are unable to play real-money games on Full Tilt Poker at this time, but they can withdraw their balances though PokerStars.
"Full Tilt Poker is now a sister site to PokerStars, whose parent company acquired Full Tilt Poker this summer," said the FTP press release. "One of the advantages of the sister sites is a new feature which enables players to quickly and easily transfer cash between Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars to play in an even larger selection of games and tournaments and participate in the promotions that interest them most. The two sites represent the largest pool of online poker players in the world, making it possible to offer the greatest number and variety of cash games and tournaments."
In preparation for the launch, FTP geared up its promotional efforts. They highly publicized the signing of a group of ambassadors known as “The Professionals” that includes Hansen, Viktor Blom and Tom Dwan, who are all expected to fuel the high-stakes action. However, FTP will not be offering the famed $500/$1,000 tables upon launch, so they’ll have to settle with the highest stakes being offered—the still healthy $400/$800 games.
In addition, FTP is "offering a series of promotions, including $250,000 in freerolls and $300,000 in added FTOPS tickets. A ‘Happy Hour’ promotion allows players to earn double player points ‘around the clock’ and every player will be receiving a minimum $200 ‘Deal Me In’ bonus."
"Full Tilt Poker is back and better than ever," said Sarne Lightman, Head of Marketing for Full Tilt Poker. "We are bringing back to the players everything they loved about the site and we invite them to help us celebrate by joining our ‘Deal Me In’ launch promotions."
While residents of the U.S. and some other countries are unable to play for real money on FTP, they can still sit down at the Play Money-only site FullTiltPoker.net.
Stay tuned to PokerNews as we bring you news, views and reactions of the Full Tilt Poker relaunch throughout the week.