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Full Tilt Poker Overhauls Ring Game Offerings

Full Tilt Poker Logo  Full Tilt Poker has not been nearly as large since it has relaunched to players a few years ago, and this has promoted many changes along the way.  None of those changes have been as drastic, or fundamental, as the ones announced earlier this week though and potentially shed some light on the direction the former giant wants to take.

Full Tilt Poker Overhauls Ring Game Offerings

Full Tilt Poker has been known as a haven for the highest games online with a healthy ecosystem below it to support player movement and advancement.  This might be changing though as the latest changes suggest that the company isn’t happy about the game liquidity that it has been experiencing in certain areas.  The important thing to note from this is that they are saying this was done to “allow new players to find game more easily,” but as with everything internet poker related much skepticism has been brought about this explanation.  We will go through the changes and then talk about the potential ramifications with each of those decisions.

The Major Changes

There are three types of major changes, but interestingly only two of them were talked about in the Full Tilt Poker Blog post.  The two that were talked about are the games that are getting removed completely and the changes in seat numbers at two different games.  We will start off with the games having a seat number changes.  Stud, Stud H/L and Razz are not going to be 5-max, which is a huge change, because those are traditionally 8-max games, even in casinos.  6 Card Omaha, 8-Game and 10-Games tables that were previously 6-max are now going to be moved to 5-max as well.

The games being removed list is huge, here is the complete list according to the Full Tilt Poker Blog:

* Adrenaline Rush games (from the end of April)
* Cap and Deep Stack Heads-Up No Limit Hold’em games
* Cap, Deep Stack and Deep Stack with Ante 6-Max No Limit Hold’em games
* Shallow Stack Full Ring No Limit Hold’em games
* Pot Limit Hold’em Heads-Up and 6-Max games
* Full Ring Fixed Limit Hold’em games
* Deep Stack Pot Limit Omaha Heads-Up games
* Cap, Deep Stack and Deep Stack with Antes Pot Limit Omaha 6-Max games
* Deep Stack with Antes 6-Card Pot Limit Omaha Heads-Up games
* New to the Game tables for certain games (such as No Limit Omaha Hi/Lo 6-Max)
* Irish Poker
* HORSE, HA and 7-Game

The last type of changes are ones that we will have to examine further a bit more in the ramifications portion of the article.  The first change to stakes being removed is in the Rush Poker realm, were $0.25/$0.50 and $1/$2 Pot Limit Omaha are being removed from the game offerings.  The other is much more high stakes, and significantly more dramatic.  The highest stakes now offering for big bet games on Full Tilt Poker are $250/$500, which in itself is interesting, but becomes more shocking when you consider the second highest stake is $25/$50 now.  Limit games were also dramatically reduced by now having the jump go from $50/$100 to $1,000/$2,000.  The high stakes changes had to be found out by the poker community, not through an official announcement on Full Tilt Poker’s behalf, like the other changes.

Ramifications of Changes

The ramifications from these changes are likely more important when trying to assess what the future movements of Full Tilt Poker are going to be.  Late last year they didn’t renew their contracts with high stakes pros and said that they wanted to move towards catering to recreational players more, not exactly a “recreational player model” like with some other sites, but away from being a site for professionals.  By getting rid of as many games as they did it should help players find games easier.  Also, looking at some of the selections of removed games you can see they are trying to get rid of games that don’t perform well (Irish Poker) and games that would allow some players to make enormous mistakes when playing (Deep Ante, etc.) where they could go broke even faster.  Getting rid of HORSE and full ring fixed limit hold’em though does seem at least a little odd, as those are fairly classic games in the poker economy.

The progression for players to higher stakes now is pretty well cut off (especially in the limit games), and that’s going to potentially cause problems for some players.  This is also one of the first major times that Full Tilt and PokerStars being owned by the same company seems important when looking at particular reasons for decisions.  If Full Tilt is looking to cater more towards recreational players, Amaya the parents company, doesn’t really have to worry about losing market share, because players can easily move over to PokerStars when they have exhausted the stakes or games offered.  This is a unique setup as the money would still stay on the network, as opposed to leaving.  It provides Full Tilt a lot of wiggle room to make changes and not feel the crush of potential lost income.

With PartyPoker changing its VIP program structure this could be an interesting and viable change for players.  Check out their review here.  


The changes at Full Tilt Poker are pretty interesting in that they are very drastic and come at a surprising point in the calendar.  Once known as the premier high stakes sites to play at, this throws serious doubt on that now and might fundamentally change the types of players that Full Tilt sees at the tables, but that might not be the worst thing to them, considering they are looking to add more casino, sportsbook and other gambling aspects to the sites lineups=.  It’s going to be interesting to see how thing progress from here.  What do you think of the changes?  Was your favorite game on the chopping block?  Tell us on Twitter and Facebook!