Some of the biggest remaining questions are being answered today.
At the beginning of this year, well before PokerStars entered the picture, we had begun work on a new rewards program that would combine aspects of Iron Man, Black Card, and affiliate-paid rakeback. The three programs had their advantages, but overall it was too many programs, and they were confusing to many players.
By the time the PokerStars deal came along, most of the major work on this new program was done, and it was just a matter of deciding whether or not to go with it. This was not a trivial decision, but in the end we decided that the benefits of having a unified program were worth the change. So when we re-launch on November 6th it will be without Iron Man, Black Card, or affiliate-paid rakeback.
We aren't quite ready to give all of the details of the new rewards program, but the general idea is that it will be available to everyone, and the main benefit of the program is weekly cash payments that are based on the number of Full Tilt Points earned that week. The program tops out at paying $2.50 for every 100 Full Tilt Points earned (which works out to 25%).
- Unlike affiliate-paid rakeback, there are no deductions of fees (store purchases, promotions, etc…), so the 25% mentioned above will almost always beat the 27% that rakeback was giving.
- Because the weekly cash payments are now based on points earned, FTPs will now be earned using the Weighted Contributed method instead of the Dealt method.
- The weekly cash payments don't use up the FTPs earned, so you can still spend them in the store. This means that, depending on how you spend them, points add an additional 4-5% to the program, giving the top level of the new program a giveback of up to 30%.
- Since there are no fee deductions, all FTPs are worth more to former rakeback players than previously, which increases the value of promotions like Happy Hour and Take 2.
- We will have a transition from Iron Man and Black Card to this new program, so long-term players of both promotions will likely get a leg up in the new program from the start.
- The top level of this program is significantly easier to achieve than Black Card was.
- The Black Card store will be changed so that anyone in the new top level can use it. This means that many more players will be eligible to purchase cash bonuses in the store.
- If you qualified for the 2011 Iron Man Mid-Year Bonus, you will still get it when the site re-launches.
- The Black Card program will return (not at re-launch, but eventually) in a brand new way. Expect a little news about that soon.
An email will be going out today to anyone that was in Iron Man, Black Card, or had affiliate rakeback, although the email itself will be less detailed than this post. I expect there will be a lot of questions and comments about this (quite large) change, and I will do my best to answer what I can. Many more details will be announced before re-launch, including what the levels are and how to achieve them.
To the questions:
1. Is the countdown on the website also counting down how many days until we can download the software?
- Actually, no. The current plan is to allow players to download, install, and even log in before November 6th. We want to make sure the 6th runs as smoothly as possible, so there will be some heavy testing time built into the re-launch.
2. Will the rakeback we were due to get paid be in our accounts when it re-opens?
- Yes, that last week in June will be still be paid out. Expect an email in the next couple of weeks detailing any changes to your account balance since we went down (because of various promotions that are going away or were interrupted, or tickets that expired, etc…).
3. Will the log-in PIN (not the name/password) still be used and unchanged?
- Yes, any additional security you were using will still be in effect when we come back up.
4. Could you expand on why you're discouraging moving money from FTP to PokerStars?
- Sorry, that was a joke. I just want all the players on FTP, that's all. I definitely expect plenty of money to move back and forth fairly freely, especially when big promotions or big tournament series are running on one site.
5. Can you please make heads-up games king of the hill?
- There are no plans for that specifically. However, we've given heads-up games a lot of thought, and we do have something in the longer-term pipeline that I hope will have a positive effect on those games.
6. Will the new FTP lobby will have information about players countries, like in PokerStars now?
- There isn't a new FTP lobby. It'll be pretty much the same as when it went down. We've actually shown country information for players for a very long time and there are no plans to change that.
7. Will there be accounts in both € and $ like on PokerStars?
- Not at re-launch, but there is a project to allow for a multi-currency cashier.
8. Will Full Tilt Poker start on November 6th at midnight?
- No. The actual start time on the 6th hasn't been announced yet, but it won't be exactly at midnight.
9. Has it been confirmed that the site to site transfers will be up at re-launch?
- That hasn't been confirmed yet. I can say that it's looking likely it will be ready in time, though, so we have high hopes the feature will be available at re-launch.
10. Will there be a fulltiltpoker.eu similar to pokerstars.eu?
- Yes, that's the plan. It won't be there at re-launch, but it's one of the next highest priorities, so expect it in one of the first couple of real updates after re-launch.
11. Are there any plans to allow US players to redeem their points for merchandise or for anything else?
- Assuming the current US laws don't change, the only way a US player would be able to redeem their points is if they move to a country that allows them to play on fulltiltpoker.com for real money. Once verified, they'd be able to make use of the points still in their account.
12. What will the process be for pairing Stars and FTP accounts?
- The exact process hasn't been announced yet, but it will be as quick and painless as possible. It will involve logging into both sites and using a "pairing code" to link the accounts.