Opened in 2004, Full Tilt Poker was the brainchild of Raymond Bitar, with the support of several professional poker players including Phil Ivey, Howard Lederer and Mike Matusow. Following a dispute with the US government which had banned online gambling, Full Tilt was re-launched with headquarters on the Isle of Man and Ireland and with a license to operate from Malta. Now owned by PokerStars, the world's largest online poker provider, Full Tilt have established themselves as the second biggest site worldwide, open to clients in most countries excluding the USA.
Now featuring exclusive play from some of the biggest names in poker, including Gus Hansen and Tom Dwan, Full Tilt run many different table types from Texas Holdem, Omaha and Omaha Hi/Lo, through to 5 and 7 Card Stud, Razz and the fast paced Rush tournaments. A huge number of tournaments, deposit match bonuses and a loyalty points scheme all combine to keep them at the top of the online poker world. It is an easy to use site, with a simple homepage that has links to everything needed to get started, with a download of the software possible in just a couple of clicks.
Players couldn't wish for a larger selection of tables than the one found at Full Tilt. All of the most popular types are of course, all present, but there are also some unusual versions that allow users to experience different styles without having to change tables. The less common tables include Razz, where the aim is to make the best five card low hand from seven cards, five variants of Draw poker, where competitors get the opportunity to replace any of their cards by drawing new cards from the deck, and Irish Poker, where four hole cards are dealt out instead of two pre-flop.
Mixed games are really something to be tried out and are a great way to experience several different versions of poker in one sitting. During a mixed game, the version played will change every 10 hands according to the type chosen. For example, HORSE features 10 hands of Holdem, followed by 10 of Omaha Hi/Lo, then Razz, then Stud Hi and lastly Stud Hi/Lo, while 10 Game, as the name suggests, has 10 versions all played in a set order including Limit Holdem, No-Limit 2-7 draw, Pot Limit Omaha Hi and Limit Badugi.
A seemingly limitless number of tournaments are provided, with customers able to filter out just the ones they are looking for via the lobby area. Buy-ins range from just $1 up to $25,000, although as some of the world's top poker professionals play at Full Tilt, some of the final tables can become extremely competitive. Many tournaments feature double or triple chance games, where customers receive tokens that can be used if they go bust early on, or to buy further chips if needed, while Multi-Entry tournaments allow customers to either play several seats in the same tournament or rejoin at a new table if they are eliminated at the early stages.
Steps tournaments give competitors the option of entering at the start for a low buy-in, or paying more to jump straight in at a higher level, and cashout tournaments allow contestants to withdraw some or all of their chips before the end. All of the different game and tournament types are explained in detail, with plenty of graphics to show visitors exactly how each one works and how to play it. Beginner tutorials take new users through the very basics of playing poker, from hand rankings, to the meaning of the rake, and include step by step guides to downloading the software, depositing funds and how to use the lobby area.
Tables are clearly laid out with many customisation options, smooth and fast gameplay and reliable software that is bespoke to Full Tilt. Special features include the option to play up to 18 tables at once, a 'time bank' for making decisions in, and avatars that can be fully personalised to suit each player. With 10,000s of people online at peak times, competition ranges from very soft at low limit tables, to extremely tough at the top levels.
One of the things that attracts so many people to Full Tilt is the massive range of ongoing offers that start with a welcome bonus for new customers, which includes a deposit match deal and entry to free tournaments. As is normal with poker site welcome bonuses, the funds are credited to the players account in stages as they deposit further money into a Full Tilt account.
Full Tilt points are earnt based on the rake taken from each hand in a qualifying ring game, with the points divided up based on the amount contributed. Points are also accumulated when buying into a tournament and once enough have been earned, players can cash them in for further tournament tickets, entry to ring tables, or they can be used to get a range of additional bonuses. Although Full Tilt have their own store, it's a little misleading, as no merchandise is available, just table admission and bonuses. At any one time, there will be numerous extra promotions running, which will vary from week to week, but usually include guaranteed jackpot tournaments, tables that earn double or triple points, Happy Hours, and satellites to live events among others. Overall, it's a generous selection of bonuses and promotions, constantly updated and very varied in what is offered.
Although the range of accepted deposit and withdrawal options is not huge, it does at least cover the most popular credit and debit cards, e-wallets and prepaid voucher schemes, so most people should be able to use at least one system to pay money into a Full Tilt account. The biggest omission is Paypal. For each deposit method, there is a handy guide to make everything as easy as possible, while cashing money out is similarly easy. Although money is by default, returned to the same payment method last used to fund the account, players can arrange for withdrawals to be sent to a different card, e-wallet or bank if needed, depending on where they live.
The Help and Support Centre mostly offers answers to Frequently Asked Questions, although by digging around a little, it's possible to find an email address that can be used to contact them directly. There is no live chat or free phone option provided.
With such a huge range of games, thousands of players online at any time and decent bonuses and promotions, Full Tilt largely deserve to be one of the biggest names in the business. Since the acquisition by PokerStars, they have become one of the safest, most secure sites, with excellent software that gives players a stable, secure place to play, where their funds are safe and they can choose to play complete newcomers or the top professionals. A few more deposit options would be welcome, as would an improved customer support function, but overall, Full Tilt come highly recommended.
|Famous name, known by most poker players.|
|Secure site with good software.|
|Unbeatable selection of games including many not found elsewhere.|
|Wide range of promotional offers running at any one time.|
|No free phone or live chat options for customer support.|
|PayPal not accepted.|
|License Number: 39108|
Appointed after his father stepped down from the position, Mark Scheinberg is the current chief executive of Rational Group, the parent company of Full Tilt.