Full Tilt Poker Review - Back With A Bang!
Full Tilt Poker was one of the poker rooms hit hardest on “Black Friday” - the day that the U.S. outlawed monetary transactions between banks and online gambling portals. Full Tilt Poker – which had been opened in June 2004 by a team of famous poker pros including Chris Ferguson, Howard Lederer and Phil Ivey – had all its assets seized and closed for business in April, 2011. Little over eighteen months later Full Tilt Poker was back, having been bought by The Rational Group – the owners of PokerStars – and was now focusing its efforts on the European poker market. Full Tilt Poker has risen again as one of the best places to play online poker.
Full Tilt Poker is only available as a download for Windows or Mac. The poker client as a download weighs in at a mighty 49MB. To start the download, just visit the Full Tilt Poker website and click on the “Download” link. The software shouldn't take more than ten minutes to download, depending on the speed of your internet connection. The great news for Linux users is I managed to get the Full Tilt Poker poker client running under Wine.
The first time you run the Full Tilt Poker client software you'll be presented with a screen with a big red button in the center labeled “Create New Account”. Click on this to begin your career at Full Tilt Poker. All you need to enter at this stage is your PlayerID, password and a valid email address, plus there is a question to answer and some boxes to tick. Once you've filled all that in click on “Sign Me Up”. A pop-up box will appear asking you to enter a validation code, so check your email for the code, enter it, and click “VALIDATE”.
First Deposit Bonus
Full Tilt Poker offers a 100 percent matched First Deposit Bonus up to a limit of $600. Once you make your deposit, the bonus is released in increments of 10 percent of your initial deposit amount, or $20, whichever is the smaller. You clear your bonus at the rate of $1 for every 25 Full Tilt Points you earn, and you earn Full Tilt Points by playing in cash games or tournaments at the rate of 10 points for every $1 of rake you generate or for every $1 you pay in buy-ins. You have sixty days from the moment you "opt in" to receive your bonus to clear as much of the bonus as you can.
Before I had chance to view the client in full, I was taken through a five step process to choose my preferred options for playing, and before I knew it I was registered at a 6-seater SnG tournament. I waited a while but as no one else entered I de-registered and returned to the lobby. I couldn't get past this very basic screen, but then I found out you could go to Options>Lobby View>Standard View to change the lobby to a more familiar appearance.
This was much better, and I particularly liked the way all the options were laid out along the top of the screen to make selecting the game of your choosing much easier. As well as the usual options you can play Rush Poker – Full Tilt Poker's ground-breaking speed poker variant – along with Blackjack and Roulette.
- Cash Tables
- Sit and Go Tournaments
- Scheduled Tournaments
- Live Events
- Texas Hold'em
- Omaha Hi
- Omaha Hi/Lo
- Rush Poker – Texas Hold'em
- Rush Poker – Omaha Hi
- Adrenaline Rush – Texas Hold'em
- Multi-games (7, 8, 9 and 10)
- Hold'em/Omaha Hi
- Hold'em/Omaha Hi/Lo
- Hold'em/Omaha Hi/Lo/Stud Hi/Lo
- Hold'em/Omaha Hi/Lo/Stud Hi/Stud Hi/Lo
- Omaha Hi/Omaha Hi/Lo
- Omaha Hi/Lo/Stud Hi/Lo
- Fixed Limit
- Pot Limit
- Mixed Limit
- No Limit
- Play Money
$0.01/$0.02 to $2,000/$4,000.
Sit and Go Tournaments
Heads-up through to Multi-tables. Buy-ins: FTPs* through to $5,000..
- FTPs, Freerolls up to $1,050
*FTPs are Full Tilt Poker points you can earn by playing regularly at Full Tilt Poker
At the Table
There were no freeroll SnGs and the only freeroll competitions I could find were the daily scheduled tournaments, so I switched over to the Play Money tables and had to be content with a game there. There were plenty of ring games available, but the SnG tables were very sparsely populated. I eventually found a 6max SnG with a buy-in of 260+40 Play chips, and clicked on the register button. The table filled up, but then there was a further delay, waiting for everyone to check the “I'm ready box”.
I did not like the default table view at all, and not just because I had been given a default avatar of a chimpanzee. I didn't like the way the table and the seats just floated in mid air, and the controls were small and difficult to use. I would have welcomed options to bet x blinds and pot percentage sizes as you find on other poker clients – as someone who methodically bets 3BBs and 70% of the pot I found the constant adjustments I had to do annoying. I switched to the alternative “race track” which was a little better, but not much. I did win the game, though!
Languages and Players
- Chinese (Simplified)
- Chinese (Traditional)
- Portuguese (Brazilian)
Players from the United States, France, Italy, Estonia, Denmark and Spain are not allowed to engage in real-money play.
Promotions & VIP Status
There are countless promotions available from Full Tilt Poker. There is something special happening seemingly all the time, with special freeroll tournaments and big money games occurring on a regular basis. It's best to keep an eye on the Full Tilt Poker promotions page if you become a member to see the best way you can benefit from playing at the Full Tilt Poker poker room.
Before the shut-down, Full Tilt Poker's VIP rewards scheme was one of the best in the business, so you can certainly see why many players were upset when it wasn't started up again when Full Tilt Poker re-opened its doors. Instead, there is the Full Tilt Edge rewards program, which is similar to a VIP scheme as it has its own set of levels (six in total) and of course the further up the scale you slide, the more lucrative the Edge rewards program becomes. At the top level – Black Card – you can convert every 100 Full Tilt Points you earn into $2.50 of real cash.
You can play at Full Tilt Poker on your mobile device, but only Rush or Adrenaline Rush Poker.
Help and Support
Currently the help section of the Full Tilt Poker client simply takes you to the FAQ page on Full Tilt Poker's web-site. There seems to be no direct and easy way to contact Full Tilt Poker should you have an urgent query – the most convenient option at the moment seems to be email.
- Skrill (formerly Moneybookers)
- Local Bank Transfer
Pros and Cons
✔ - Entry-level support for complete newbies is great
✔ - Poker client works on Mac and Linux
✔ - Plenty of games types available, particularly mixed games
✔ - The Edge reward scheme is very lucrative if you are a frequent player
✘ - Rush Poker only for mobile devices
✘ - Help options leave something to be desired
✘ - Default table view is not the best
You can understand that Full Tilt Poker does not just want to come across as a clone of its sister site, PokerStars. It has definitely got its own identity, and if you've never played poker online before and are pretty clueless as to where to start, then Full Tilt Poker will really take you by the hand and guide you through the process until you are seated at a table, staring dumbly at your first pair of pocket cards and wondering what to do next.
For seasoned players, the experience is perhaps not so wonderful, although once you've configured everything more to your liking, Full Tilt Poker is perhaps just as good a place to play poker as any other online poker room. If you like your poker at speed, then Rush Poker will definitely appeal – it was, after all, Full Tilt poker who invented it!