Full Tilt Poker reopened on November 6th and players celebrated. Most players outside the U.S. had access to their money after waiting nearly 1.5 years. The poker room immediately exploded to become the second largest online poker room overnight. PokerScout reports that Full Tilt Poker peaked at 15,326 cash game players on just its second day. The poker room has lost over 40% of its traffic in just over two weeks. The site is losing its cash game traffic at a rate of 20% per week. At this rate, Full Tilt will not be the #2 poker room within a month. While this decline may not continue, it is certainly a cause for concern for Full Tilt Poker management.
Why is Traffic Declining?
There are a variety of reasons that Full Tilt’s traffic cannot sustain itself. The brand name was tarnished after it was discovered that Full Tilt had a massive shortfall of cash and could not meet player balances after Black Friday. This is not the only reason the site is having issues with its traffic.
PokerStars allows players to transfer money between Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars. Many players played a few hands or played a week or two taking advantage of the freerolls. Some of these promotions are over now and some players have no motivation to continue playing at Full Tilt. Many players cleared the reload bonus offered at launch quickly and decided to move on to their VIP deals at other online poker rooms. Other players busted quickly and decided not to redeposit.
Rush Poker no Longer Unique
One of Full Tilt’s biggest features before it closed was its Rush Poker product. This product has been duplicated by PokerStars’ Zoom Poker and another version used by some Microgaming skins that is called Fast Poker. The added competition for this style of game has left Full Tilt without a monopoly.
Rakeback and Affiliates Dropped
PokerStars announced immediately before Full Tilt’s relaunch that they would not be honoring previously agreed to rakeback deals. This angered many players. Not only were players angered when the announcement was made, many players did not hear the news and assumed that they would still get rakeback on their play. These players were understandably upset when they went back to play at Full Tilt and did not get paid rakeback. Many of these players felt ripped off and cashed out or did not reload when they busted.
Rakeback was not the only thing that was canceled at the time of relaunch, affiliates were also excluded. Not only is there not an existing affiliate program for Full Tilt, they took all of the existing players in house and no longer pay affiliates for players that they referred under old management. This means that there is no internet advertising for the Full Tilt brand on online poker portals and some affiliate sites published negative reviews of Full Tilt in retaliation. This will make it very difficult for Full Tilt to bring in affiliates in the future should they decide to relaunch an affiliate program as many affiliates will not want to get burned again.
It is not time for Full Tilt Poker management to panic but if this downward spiral continues it will snowball. Once a poker room goes into a nosedive it is nearly impossible to reverse it. This may be a temporary correction where Full Tilt will find a bottom and stay at it or it could be a sign that players are unhappy and have left to play at other online poker rooms.
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