One of the most iconic — and perhaps most infamous — brands in poker will become a thing of the past on Feb. 25.
That’s the reported date on which PokerStars will shelve Full Tilt Poker, its former arch rival, for good. The news was first released by Pokerfuse and is confirmed by a FAQ page on PokerStars’ website detailing some of the minutiae of the move for its remaining FTP players.
Those players will essentially just be migrating over to the main skin of the network, so there won’t be much meaningful change in their playing experience.
“Our commitment to improving PokerStars software and the PokerStars customer experience in recent years has limited the amount of focus and resources we could apply to the evolution of Full Tilt,” the company stated. “We feel it is time to consolidate brands so that everyone has access to the newest features and most innovative games which are available exclusively on PokerStars.”
Full Tilt Poker was not one of the early sites to market, dealing its first virtual cards in 2004.
However, co-founder Ray Bitar teamed up with some of the biggest names in the industry. The likes of Phil Ivey, Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson and Mike Matusow were behind the brand, and their celebrity, combined with an aggressive marketing push, led to huge success for the site.
“Learn, chat and play with the pros.”
That ubiquitous slogan, along with the trademark black and white commercials creatively utilizing the site’s immense roster of sponsored pros, beckoned countless thousands of players to give Full Tilt a try. The brand became a world leader, trailing only PokerStars in a raw numbers.
But where PokerStars laid claim to the biggest quantity, Full Tilt could credibly claim to house the best quality of poker in the world.
The highest stakes games in the world usually ran there, including monstrous and legendary games as high as $500/$1,000 blinds on the famed Rail Heaven table. Patrik Antonius, Viktor Blom, Hac and Di Dang, Gus Hansen, Ivey and more made Rail Heaven their favored battleground, which in turn made it the greatest place for fans to watch six-figure pots trading hands on the regular.