Amaya Inc, the Canadian gaming and international company that acquired PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker (FTP) back in 2014 recently announced that it will be merging the FTP brand with PokerStars but confirmed they will retain their separate interfaces.
The move is slated to take place sometime in spring of this year.
PokerStars, which is the world’s largest poker site, acquired Full Tilt Poker in 2012 which was at that time its leading rival and the only online poker website to consistently be placed second in terms of market share.
Although Full Tilt continued as a separate brand after the takeover, it has been steadily declining in popularity to the extent of losing its spot within top 10 online poker websites in terms of traffic ranking. FTP has tried a number of strategies to boost its popularity including rolling out a revamp of its cash-game tables but has not found a lot of success.
Industry observers said that the merger could have been avoided if Full Tilt had managed to build a separate niche for itself or if the online poker industry had expanded significantly enough to generate enough demand for both websites. With neither happening, Amaya Inc decided that it was in its best interests merge the liquidity of both platforms.
The company also has plans to integrate the two platforms while retaining separate interfaces, anticipating better operational efficiencies such as improved focus for its software and development teams while providing players with added benefits with the merger.
In a statement, PokerStars said,
Full Tilt players will continue to enjoy the brand experience they love, with the continuation of Full Tilt avatars and innovative rewards, such as The Deal.
Players will also enjoy access to a larger variety of games, buy-in levels and tournaments, as well as access to larger prize pools and faster service of games. PokerStars players will also enjoy a boost in liquidity, as well as improved software from a larger and more focused development team.
With the merger, Amaya hopes to improve its global performance and become a more flexible organization that can be quick to innovative and enter old and new markets to launch a wide portfolio of gaming options.
Amaya Inc has assured both PokerStars and FTP players that it will be following a strategy that supports both brands and looks after the interests of players from both sites. Players will still be able to log in via Full Tilt software, but will need to use PokerStars handles as players will be moved to a single account. PokerStar’s VIP system will now be used across both brands.
A question that is under debate is the fate of Full Tilt’s software platform which is thought be among the best in the industry. One possibility is that Amaya could sell the software to other interested parties in case online poker becomes legalized in more states in America.