Full Tilt Poker continues to change how it does essentially everything, and this time the promised changes to the player rewards system were what was changed to reflect the changed direction. While these changes are a little less extreme than what was seen with the cash game overhaul a few weeks ago, they are still significant to some players.
After the sweeping changes that Full Tilt Poker put into place a few weeks ago, there was a lot of fear among players that it was the beginning of the end for serious players. While this might appear to the case to some, Full Tilt Poker isn’t trying to get rid of all high volume players, they are just trying to change the distribution amount of those high volume players in relation to recreational players. The latest changes to the rewards program appear to do that even more as they are still going to give rewards to the top rake producers, to a degree, while also significantly increasing the amount of money awarded to lower raking, or recreational players, who play on the site.
The new Full Tilt Poker rewards program is going to be split into two different programs. There is the program for the lower volume players and that for the higher volume players. The lower volume players reward program, also named the Players’ Club, is interesting, because it isn’t like many we have seen in the past. Players will qualify for more of a lottery style prize system. The site went with this approach so that players can hope to win big, even away from the tables, as having a more traditional style locks players into tiers that they qualify for. One of the biggest additions to this system is going to be a $100,000 progressive jackpot that Full Tilt Poker will seed initially. It is still unclear of exactly how this is going to be paid out, but it is fairly intriguing and will provide good sweats for those players who are not part of the upper tiers of the rewards programs, or players who aren’t consistently playing. All of these change help put more money back in the economy overall.
The upper tiers of the reward program, named the Edge Rewards Program, are going to remain largely unchanged, but there are still some changes in store for players. An odd change considering what they did a few weeks ago is that players can gain extra money back for playing at particular games that are deemed underplayed. It’s not clear how this will be determined, but when a game or stake qualifies for this there will be an icon in the lobby. This is particularly odd, because a few week ago they got rid of a whole bunch of games they didn’t view as popular enough and consolidated stakes pretty significantly,. This kind of program would have seemed to work really well before cutting all the other games, especially mixed games. Now all they need to do is bring back their flat rakeback program and we're all set!
Changes clearly needed to be made, and these latest tweaks to the rewards program are moving the company along this line. There are a few issues that could cause problems though. The biggest issue is that many sites are moving in this direction, but if everyone goes one direction, the market area that you are competing for becomes effectivity smaller. Full Tilt Poker had issues competing before these changes as according to pokerscout.com they dropped nearly 1,000 players a day on average (accounting for about 50% of their total player base) over the course of 3 months. The changes from a few weeks ago caused another 20% drop in players. These changes are drastic and they are competing with companies that have be using this model for longer, it could pay off though, or it could be a massive mistake. It’s far too early to tell, as even the drop in players from the recent changes are a lot of noise and overreaction by players they weren’t trying to attract anymore. Further, looking at total players isn’t going to be as useful anymore, as they are interested in money generated from players, not from total number of players. Those two do not always correlate.
Full Tilt Poker is making some pretty big changes to their rewards program that will hopefully benefit players who put in lower volume still great some real value from it. The move caps off some sweeping changes to the site in general and while it is still too early to tell how they will turn out overall, it is clear that the site is fully committed to a more recreational player focused approach for their business, like many other sites have moved to recently. Time will tell if this will have the desired impact or not. What do you think of these changes? Do they change your mind on any of the changes? Tell us on Twitter and Facebook!