Full Tilt Poker will relaunch as scheduled Nov. 6 for rest-of-world (ROW) players, allowing millions of poker players to be reunited with $184 million in funds that have been frozen since the site's shutdown in late June of 2011.
"For players in the rest of the world (excluding the United States), we remain on schedule for re-opening the site for real-money play on November 6th, at which time you will have full access to your account and will once again be able to play on FullTiltPoker.com," said Eric Hollreiser, Head of Corporate Communications for PokerStars. “For the millions of players who will have access to their funds, this marks the end of a long and emotional roller-coaster ride.”
That ride included the banishment of U.S. players on Black Friday, the site losing its license and being completely shutdown last June, allegations of Full Tilt being run as a "global Ponzi scheme," the purchase of Full Tilt by Group Bernard Tapie (GBT) practically a done deal, the negotiation breakdown with GBT purportedly over the time frame of full payment to players, and PokerStars eventually acquiring the Full Tilt assets via negotiations with the U.S. Department of Justice.
To quote a well-known Grateful Dead lyric that seems to fit, "what a long strange trip its been." That trip is far from over for U.S. players, who still await word from the DoJ on when claims can be submitted for their unpaid account balances, a total of roughly $150 million.
Full Tilt emailed ROW players twice over the weekend, with the first missive spelling out real-money account balances as well as Full Tilt Points balances. "We are pleased to inform you that your account balance will be restored in full," the email read. I trust I'm not alone in my belief for about the first year of the Full Tilt shutdown that this day might never come.
The second email was a "Welcome Back to Full Tilt Poker" proclamation informing players of the "Deal Me In Bonus" designed to keep most of that $184 million from being cashed out. Each player will receive a bonus of at least $200, with higher bonus amounts earmarked for players with an extensive playing history on the site.
"As soon as you log in, your Deal Me In Bonus of [amount varies] will be waiting for you," the email said. "You'll need to accept your bonus by 02/12/2012 23:59:59, and your bonus cash will be paid into your account in easily released $20.00 increments." Every 25 FTPs accumulated clears $1, meaning 500 FTPs earned will credit $20 to your account.
The email also heralds the "Deal Me In Freeroll Tournaments" that will be doling out $250,000 in guaranteed prize money in sixty freerolls from Nov. 6-11. That's ten tourneys each day beginning with a prize pool of $1,000 on the first day and escalating until all ten freerolls on Nov. 11 are worth $10,000 each. Earning "a fraction of a Full Tilt Point" while playing for real-money ensures eligibility for the freerolls.
For those who have not yet done so, Full Tilt is available for download and play-money games at this time. Real-money action begins sometime on Tuesday.