Full Tilt Poker was only a couple of years ago one of the biggest online poker players on the World Wide Web. And thanks to former rival PokerStars, they are poised for their next coming-out party. With founder Ray Bitar indicted on multiple federal charges, and owing more than $180 million to their players, Full Tilt seemed a sure bet to never again shuffle up and deal online. But PokerStars stepped in and made an agreement with the United States Department of Justice to repay all monies owed by FTP to its former players in return for purchasing rights to the company.
PokerStars is currently in the process of verifying previous FTP player claims, to the tune of $184 million owed to players outside the United States. You may recall FTP was shut down in 2011 when the United States Department of Justice conducted a nationwide crackdown in the United States which online poker players refer to as Black Friday. But last December that same DOJ allowed for each individual state in the US to decide their own online poker destiny, and both Nevada and Delaware have passed online poker legislation since.
PokerStars has a current plan to relaunch the Full Tilt Poker website this November, hoping to reattract players to the superior software that FTP offered. And, purchasing FTP more than doubles the player database for PokerStars, and they also benefit from the White Knight image they earn in the online poker community by repaying FTP players. PokerStars made it through the DOJ online poker purge in 2011 by immediately paying all funds owed their players when their accounts were frozen. The overall purchase price paid by PokerStars for FTP through the DOJ agreement is a whopping $731 million.
Over $500 million of that will be delivered to jilted American players through the Department of Justice, and funded by PokerStars. Early details on the repayment process if you are an American player that suffered at the hands of FTP is still sketchy at best. However, former FTP players in France, Estonia, Denmark, Spain and Belgium will be required to open a PokerStars account that will immediately receive an infusion of the money owed them. Italy is still working out details with the Italian government for their players, and all other non-US countries will be able to access the funds owed them when FTP relaunches.
Eric Hollreiser is a PokerStars spokesman who recently commented on the $731 million which his company is investing to take over FTP. He stated that it is his company’s belief that they come out as the winner, and they also believe that it will help grow the overall online poker market. Obviously, with two US states almost prepared to shuffle up and deal virtually, the timing by PokerStars could not be better. And by having two well-known portals which carry such high name recognition, PokerStars has twice the opportunity of cashing in on what appears to be a multibillion dollar online poker experience in the United States.
As this online poker brand works to get their bearings back, check out our featured online poker sites to find the optimal online poker experience.