Why is Full Tilt Poker's Traffic Down So Much Since Pokerstars Acquisition?
Q: What Happened To Full Tilt Poker's Traffic?
A: At one point in time, Full Tilt Poker was the undisputed #2 online poker room in the world behind Pokerstars.
Full Tilt Poker's stable of sponsored players was something that other sites could only dream of, as they had the likes of Phil Ivey, Patrik Antonius and Tom "durrrr" Dwan all under contract. "Come Play With the Pros" was the site's motto, and they certainly had the firepower to attract casual players from all over the world. If you are a casual player thinking about which site to sign up with, you are likely going to go where the best and most recognizable players play.
In April of 2011, everything changed. "Black Friday" took place and the online poker industry was never the same. Pokerstars quickly paid out their US customers, as they had the player's money safely tucked away in a segregated account. Full Tilt Poker, on the other hand, had co-mingled operating and player funds, and the result was disaster. Full Tilt Poker's owners took out hundreds of millions of dollars in dividends over a multi-year period and didn't have enough money left to pay back their players when the Department of Justice swept in and brought their hammer down on the site. Full Tilt Poker would remain in limbo until 2012, which is when Pokerstars agreed to buy the site as part of a deal that was cut with the US government.
When Pokerstars re-opened Full Tilt Poker in November of 2012, many people figured that the site would quickly regain its status as the second largest online poker site in the world. After all, the site now had the backing of Pokerstars, which had an absolutely pristine reputation.
Aside from an early surge, Full Tilt Poker underwhelmed dramatically over the following years. After momentarily regaining their spot as the #2 online poker room in the world, Full Tilt Poker started to slip badly. After languishing as the #12 online poker network in the world, Pokerstars finally made the decision to merge the liquidity of the two sites in order to stop the slide.
So, why did Full Tilt Poker 2.0 fail?
There are a number of reasons, including:
1) A damaged brand. Many people simply did not trust the Full Tilt Poker brand following the events of "Black Friday", despite the fact that Pokerstars now owned the company.
2) Dropping liquidity. After "Black Friday", many people elected to remain on Pokerstars. This trend, coupled with the loss of their US customers, resulted in Full Tilt Poker losing a tremendous amount of player liquidity. With player liquidity dropping, more and more people left for Pokerstars and their higher tournament guarantees and more active cash games. Full Tilt Poker could never reverse the trend.
3) Lack of sponsored pros. When Full Tilt Poker made the decision to end their sponsorship deals with Gus Hansen, Viktor Blom and Tom "durrrr" Dwan, they lost even more visibility in the eyes of the poker playing public. Pokerstars had Daniel Negreanu and "ElkY" and others, while Full Tilt Poker had nobody. This didn't help their traffic numbers.
In short, many people stayed away from Full Tilt Poker following "Black Friday" and this resulted in a slow but steady erosion of their player base.
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