Each poker room will retain their separate brands and operate on the PokerStars client under a “dual-brand strategy.” Liquidity will be shared, with Full Tilt players transitioning to the StarsCoin loyalty club benefits in place at PokerStars.
Parent company Amaya announced the decision Tuesday after PokerTube broke the story on Monday. Declining player traffic was cited as the main reason, as Full Tilt has tumbled from the top ten in cash game action following a restructuring last summer aimed at leveling the playing field between recreational and pro players.
What Happens Now
The merger takes effect on April 1 and will result in all players having “one Stars Account for Full Tilt, PokerStars, BetStars, StarsDraft and Duel,” the online gambling brands available at Amaya that include poker, casino, sports betting, and daily fantasy sports.
Players with accounts at both sites will use their PokerStars account and moniker, with their Full Tilt screen name being put out to pasture. Players with only a Full Tilt account will see their account details transferred to a Stars account. Current Full Tilt screen names will remain, unless a PokerStars player has already laid claim to that handle.
Players will be able to log on and play at either PokerStars or Full Tilt, with all assets from Full Tilt accounts carried over to the new Stars account. Any pending bonuses, Edge rewards and ring game tickets of Full Tilt players will be converted to real money. Tournament dollars and tickets will become T-Money (T$). Full Tilt points will convert at the rate of 2.5 to 1 StarsCoin.
“Full Tilt players will continue to enjoy the brand experience they love, with the continuation of Full Tilt avatars and innovative rewards, such as The Deal,” stated the press release. “Players will also enjoy access to a larger variety of games, buy-in levels and tournaments, as well as access to larger prize pools and faster service of games. PokerStars players will also enjoy a boost in liquidity, as well as improved software from a larger and more focused development team.”
It was pointed out by Amaya that Full Tilt “continues to be a profitable poker room” despite the drop in market share. The merger will likely result in saving costs, with a number of employees in the Dublin office rumored to be on the chopping block.
Full Tilt, known for introducing Rush Poker, as well as hosting the highest stakes online cash games during its prime, was at one point in time the chief rival of PokerStars. The site made a remarkable comeback upon re-launching in November 2013 after shutting down over the Black Friday fallout in 2011. Rational Group bailed out Full Tilt in 2012 before selling the site, along with PokerStars, to Amaya in the summer of 2014 for $4.9 billion.