The Future of Full Tilt

This is probably one of the hottest questions on the lips of poker players the world over, and only wild guesses can be made of the future of what used to be the leader of high stakes online poker.

First the deal seems like it will be completed soon between Tapie and the DOJ, for a price tag of $80 million plus paying back all non-US players (estimated at $150 million). It depends if current shareholders will agree to that deal, which that are expected to. In other words Tapie got the green light and agreed to take over the Full Tilt helmet. In all likelihood Full Tilt will be back online soon, but in what form? Regarding the $230 million price tag, time only will tell if Tapie won the roulette (after all Full Tilt used to rake $3 million a day).

One of the unique aspects of Full Tilt was the graphical design, and there is no reason to believe that they will throw that feature in the garbage bin. And of course they will keep their state of the art software.

With respect to traffic, will existing players decide to keep on playing there once they get their bankroll back? A percentage will surely stay, probably more than half. One reason is convenience, as it is simple to just play where your money is and where you know the software well, instead of looking for another deal. It also depends if there will be rakeback, as there is no PokerStars rakeback, they may do the same and create an attractive VIP program.

Another reason to stay is greater safety and security. Now that the legal issues are behind the (new) site and given Bernard Tapie excellent record as an entrepreneur (yes he had his bad times, but he is nevertheless one of the most successful French businessmen), confidence in the product should progressively re-emerge.

Another key point is what will happen with all the pros, after all this was a site built by pros with hundreds of pros playing exclusively there. The biggest pros were shareholders, so it is not clear if they will stay. Of course corrupted Howard Lederer and Chris Fergusson will never be seen again. But prominent players like Phil Ivey or Tom Dwan will have to strike a deal with the new owners, or leave. Likewise for hundreds of sponsored pros.

The three above factors, graphics, traffic and pros are what made Full Tilt the top room it used to be. So the question is how much of that can Tapie preserve, and this will determine how much of a return he will make on his investment.