In the last year or two, PokerStars has never been far from the headlines. Their new owners Amaya, have brought about many changes, mostly at PokerStars. Full Tilt has also undergone an alteration or two, but the decline in player traffic there would suggest that things have not exactly developed in the way that Amaya had planned. Yesterday, there has been a response, and an unexpected one at that – Full Tilt and PokerStars are set to merge player pools and enter into shared liquidity.
Full Tilt and PokerStars to merge player pools
This joining of platforms will essentially see the death of Full Tilt poker room as an independant entity, even though it will be spun as the beneficial merger of two powerful online poker rooms. The official line is as follows: “Players will benefit from a larger pool of players offering greater game choice, bigger prize pools,” said Rafi Ashkenazi, Chief Executive Officer of Rational Group. “It will also make us more nimble as we can focus our technological innovation on one platform, rather than two, so we will be able to innovate more quickly and enter newly-regulating and existing markets swiftly.”
Full Tilt brand won't disappear
Since the relaunch in 2012, Full Tilt has remained profitable, although it's market share has been slowly fading. The traditional Full Tilt avatar will still be made available to players once the switch is made, as will rewards such as 'The Deal.' PokerStars should see a spike in player traffic as the player pools mix, which provides a positive side to proceedings. There is a clear drive to ensure that all players who are familiar with Full Tilt, get to enjoy a the similar gaming experience, and that many visual, and promotional aspects remain as unchanged as possible. All players joining the PokerStars player pool will enjoy the same VIP programme as existing players, along with special promotions, and first time deposit bonuses for those who have never deposited on PokerStars before.
PokerStars unveiled a new heads-up Mobile App: Duel
New ideas have also been surfacing at PokerStars lately, with “Duel” being the latest. Testing is already underway for this heads up Holdem offering, which allows players to submit challenges to each other on a dedicated mobile app, before playing 10 hands against each other simultaneously. That may sound like mayhem, but be aware, you don't have a clock running down, and you can take your turn in each hand at your leisure (within a 4 day limit.) In an interesting strategic twist, whenever a player calls an all in, that hand is frozen, and only plays out when all other hands have concluded. This prevents players from taking a sizeable lead in the match before tightening up to protect it.
Duel seems very innovative
This change comes in the wake of regular heads up tables being retired, and zoom tables offered in their place. Duel will provide another heads up option for players, in a previously unseen format, where players take their turn to act whenever they find time during the day.
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