A month ago, fellow LegalPokerSites contributor John Mehaffey wrote a piece saying that Full Tilt Poker will not be the number two poker room upon their return. Full Tilt reopened on November 6th for real money play and in just a week’s time has already proven John wrong.
According to the most recent stats by PokerScout.com, Full Tilt Poker is #2 in the world with a 7 day average of 8,400 players, almost three times as the #3 iPoker network. Today, I give you some reasons why Full Tilt Poker retook #2 so quickly.
Linked Accounts Bolster Full Tilt
When PokerStars announced that international players would be able to link their PokerStars account and Full Tilt accounts together, this gave the website a ready made player base who would be willing to try the revamped Full Tilt.
Why would they be so willing? Their funds are linked together and all they needed to do to remove them was click a button to transfer those funds to PokerStars. In the absolute worst case scenario, they would have additional Stars funds.
The fact that their money is now backed by Stars gives players confidence to play. If Full Tilt had been reopened by the Tapie Group, chances are you would have seen a lot more grab and dash with the cash.
Howard and Ray Are Gone
With the sale of Full Tilt Poker to PokerStars, this meant one thing to players, that the original board was gone. Howard Lederer and Ray Bitar are no longer tied to Full Tilt in any way, and they are the two main faces of everything that went wrong.
Ray is under house arrest and Howard essentially looks like a complete moron after “The Lederer Files” on PokerNews and the recent revelations by Chad Elie. Any perceived involvement by those two would have significantly hurt the site’s future chances.
PokerStars Repaid Everyone Despite Breaking the Law
When looking back on Black Friday, the two things that everyone remembers is that Full Tilt and UB stiffed players and PokerStars paid everyone within two weeks. It doesn’t matter that PokerStars did the exact same thing that everyone else did. They repaid players, and so all is forgiven.
Huge Influx of Money Into the Online Poker Community
When Full Tilt reopened for real money games, that reopened around $184 Million in theory to the online poker community. I don’t care how much you distrust a website, $184 Million is a lot of money.
That money presents opportunity to those willing to take the risk, and poker is all about taking calculated risks. If you can put a few hundred or a couple of thousand with the chance to make tens of thousands or more, you would be crazy not to and that is what some people are doing.
Poker Players Love to Forgive
All you need to do to figure out why poker players have flocked back to Full Tilt is take a look at UltimateBet after the superuser scandal. Despite the fact that players knew that the site had crooked elements, they still played at the site because the site had vowed to straighten their act.
In a way, Gus Hansen, Tom Dwan, and Isildur1 are in the same spot as Joe Sebok. They are the face of the New UB, I mean Full Tilt Poker. The difference is that they will not have the same firestorm to overcome as UB did. PokerStars owning the company will help with that. All they need to do is play nice, smile, and make sure that the site keeps its good name.
Despite all the naysayers out there, Full Tilt Poker took just one week to retake the spot that they help prior to Black Friday. The question now remains whether they will continue to grow from this point or whether Ipoker will be able to retake #2 in the world. Considering that Full Tilt now has the backing of the #1 site in the world, don’t hold your breath on Ipoker retaking #2 anytime soon.