||08-09-2012 10:45 AM
Official FTP Relaunch Thread (OP updated October 26, 2012)
My name is Shyam Markus, and I'm the Poker Room Manager at Full Tilt Poker. I'm here in this thread to answer poker room related questions and give updates on our progress as we prepare for relaunch. Before I get to those questions, I first need to address the fact that I was also FTPDoug.
I've been with the company since late 2005. In mid-2006, shortly after we all moved to Dublin, my co-worker and I (both having similar, Poker Room related jobs) thought it would be a good idea to answer questions on 2+2 and give some more details about what was in each update. He created the "FTPDoug" account and I tagged along. He wrote I think 3-5 of the very early "FTP Answers" posts, but quickly left those posts to me and since late 2006 nobody wrote an "FTP Answers" post except for me.
The co-worker did continue to write a few of the shorter non-"Answers" posts, and responded to some PMs and emails as Doug. After he left the company in the summer of 2008 (and certainly his leaving is where people like Nat Arem and Bill Rini got the idea that the "original" Doug left the company), nobody wrote anything as Doug other than me.
After Black Friday, I was asked to post all of the "official" statements about the situation. I want to make it clear that even though I didn't write most of what was posted in those statements, I never posted anything I believed at the time to be untrue. It was devastating when I eventually found out that the company didn't have the funds to cover player balances and I'm truly sorry for anything I posted that turned out to not be true.
Let me also say how terrible I feel and how sorry I am about how difficult the past 15+ months have been to so many players. I'm very thankful to PokerStars for giving players what was likely the most positive resolution possible to this ordeal. On a personal note, I'm also very thankful to them for the opportunity to continue on as the Poker Room Manager of Full Tilt Poker. Hopefully their confidence in me gives all of you a little more confidence that I'm still here for the right reasons.
I am committed to being as open and transparent as possible, and nobody will be posting from this 2+2 account or tweeting from @FTPMarkus other than me.
With that said, let's see what questions there are than I can try to answer:
1. When will we be able to log into the Full Tilt Software?
- We're all working hard on getting everything up and running, but we've lost a lot of great employees over the last year and there's a ton of work left to do. Now that the transaction is complete (the official closing date is today), we will definitely relaunch within the next 90 days, but we're probably looking at late October or early November.
2. Anything going to change with existing rakeback accounts?
- The decision has been left to the Marketing and Poker Room departments at Full Tilt Poker, and all of the issues will be considered before a final direction is chosen.
3. Will we be allowed screenname changes?
- At the moment there are no plans to adjust this policy, so Player IDs will not be changing.
4. What happens to all the screen names for US players? Are they recycled? Will players be forced to use them again once you re-enter the US market?
- US players will still be able to log in and play for play money, so their account details won't be changing at all. That means all the Player IDs will be kept.
5. What are your plans on handling FTP points/Ironman medals/loyalty rewards for former US players?
- Generally speaking, US players should only have cash and points in their accounts at this point (Iron Man medals were already converted to FTPs). As we now know, they will have to go through the remission process to claim the cash. I don't have an answer for what will happen to the FTPs.
6. If I'm an American player and fail to apply with the DOJ for remission, will my Full Tilt account balance remain intact if the day comes when Full Tilt is able to operate in America?
- No, you have to go through the remission process.
7. Will FTP have € accounts as well?
- We had planned on bringing out this feature (the option to keep your account balance in other currencies) last year, and we are still planning on it. I don't have any kind of timeline (it's a little difficult to see past the current 90 day deadline at the moment), but I'm confident it will happen.
8. Any plans on bringing back the Full Tilt Poker forums?
- I believe so. It's likely it won't be back up before the site itself is up and running, though.
9. What about the FTP store... I know that most of us had enough FTPs to buy stuff from there and they had some cool stuff, so was just wondering about the store as well.
- The details of exactly what will be available in the FTP store immediately on relaunch are still being worked out, but there will be a store at relaunch.
10. Will FTP open up as .eu thus making it tax-free in a country like Sweden/Finland like PS did?
- We are working on getting a .eu site up and running as soon as possible. We don't know yet if it will be ready in time for the relaunch, but it's definitely coming.
11. What about my FTOPS jacket I have been waiting on for 15 months. Any chance I will receive this in the near future?
- I hope we can clear up these kinds of issues shortly after relaunch. So maybe towards the end of the year if no other issues pop up.
12. What about FTP promotions? There were daily happy hours, 0-deposit midyear and endyear bonus on FTP, frequent rush weeks, etc. Does Stars taking over spell the likely end of promotions on FTP?
- There will still be promotions!
13. Immediately before AGCC pulled the plug, a lot of us were in the middle of clearing the mid-year bonus for which we played consistently 6 months before that.
- The mid-year bonus hadn't been awarded yet (it's based on your Iron Man participation for the first 6 months of the year, and June wasn't over when the site went down). But yes, there will be a satisfactory resolution to the mid-year bonus issue.
14. What will happen to active bonuses? I had just bought the 1.1million FTP's 5000$ bonus with about 3500$ remaining to be cleared.
- If you purchased a bonus and hadn't finished clearing it, you will be refunded your FTPs (on a pro-rated basis depending on how much was left to clear) before we relaunch.
15. What will happen regarding Full Tilt Pros?
- The Full Tilt Marketing department is working on this, and no final decisions have been made yet.
16. Will there be cool promotions like 're-deposit bonuses' to account for the long closure?
- Yes, it's safe to say you can expect some promotions right out of the gate. Of course, I hope there will be cool promotions all the time on Full Tilt Poker.
I've seen a number of posts assuming that since PokerStars does something some way that now FTP will necessarily do it the same way. This isn't the case. The Full Tilt Poker site will be managed separately from PokerStars and the offerings and experience will continue to be unique to the online poker world.
That's it for now. I'll come back and give updates as often as I can. I may not have a ton of great answers for the next few weeks as we try to get everything figured out and moving again, but we're all very excited to be coming back to life and look forward to what's to come.
Originally Posted by Professionalpoker
Welcome Shyam. Glad to see this and to have you here.
I and other mods are deleting the low/no content/off-topic so we can keep this thread focused. After a question is asked a couple times please refrain from quoting & +1'ing to avoid clutter. Lets wait for a response before repeating or pushing a topic.
Posted August 14, 2012
Originally Posted by Shyam Markus
Thanks for the many questions. I've done my best to gather all the answers. You'll probably notice I keep referring to "the plan," and I want to be clear that "the plan" is currently in constant flux, so it's quite possible some answers will change before we actually relaunch. So consider this more of a "state of the world as I know it right now" sort of update instead of a definitive list of answers. Some questions don't even have a guess right now and aren't included below, but we read them all and I'll do my best to keep everyone updated on our progress as we move along towards relaunch.
1. Is it true that players will be able to make transfers between their FTP and Stars accounts?
- Everyone agrees that this is a good idea that should happen. There are still plenty of questions about how exactly it will work and how soon it can be implemented. So for now the answer is, "I hope it's true."
2. Will all SnG's resume back to exactly what they were?
- There are no plans to change the tournament structures or payout structures. There will likely be some changes to the overall offering, though. Hopefully for the better.
3. Hiring again soon?
- Definitely. As soon as some job postings go up, I'll be sure to let everyone know (probably on Twitter or something).
4. Will über smart features that exist on either site get implemented on the other?
- That will depend on the plans of the other site. There are definitely a couple of nice little features I've blatantly stolen from PokerStars that should make their way into the FTP client by relaunch. More generally, though, the plan is to compete as much as possible on the software/feature side of things. So I'm sure you can expect a bunch of smart features to make their way to Stars at some point. (New employer slam!)
5. Will US players who have relocated be able to change the location of their accounts, or will they have to make new accounts?
- The plan is that players will be able to change the location of their accounts via the same process PokerStars currently uses.
6. I would like to know my balance. When will support be able to give information about individual account balances?
- I don't have an exact date, but the plan is to have that information available to players sometime before relaunch.
7. Will there be refunds of FTP points spend on purchases, that never arrived?
- That's definitely the plan, yes.
8. Completly forgot all my log in details. Was using the card thing too. Is it easy to get these details back? Or reset my passwords?
- There will definitely be a way to regain access to your account if you've forgotten any/all of your login credentials or lost your hardware token (or phone that had the token software on it). It might not be "easy" in the sense that we'll want to make absolutely sure you are the real owner of the account, but there will be a way.
9. I qualified for Black Card in June. Will I get my card?
- I don't have an answer for this one just yet. Sending out physical cards will be pretty low down on the priority list, but I definitely understand the appeal and credit card roulette implications. I don't expect to have an answer until after relaunch.
10. Do we get rakeback for the week before the shutdown?
- Yes, players who were due rakeback during that last week of June will still get it.
11. Any word on account bans that be implemented across both sites? How do you determine what is an exceptional circumstance? Will you be upturning any cases from the past and reinstate their account?
- I don't have any update beyond what Lee Jones said. It's a complicated issue with many details still to be worked out, but it's everyone's intention to protect the players on both sites as much as possible with a fair policy that makes sense.
12. Are you guys still going to freeze the Iron Man levels for US players? that way if you come back to the states we can pick up where we left off and not go back to month 1?
- The exact plan is still unformed, but we will do everything we can to make sure players don't feel like they've lost out on the value of the Iron Man promotion if and when they can return to playing on FTP.
13. Will the FTP logo still look like your avatar pic?
- I don't know. The marketing and brand guys are still working out all of the details when it comes to questions like that. If it changes I'll change my avatar!
14. Will I be able to use the dog like durrrr, make the smile emotion, and then play spewy thinking I am durrrr and lose all my play money?
- Without question.
15. Can we still call you Doug?
- I'd rather we didn't! Shyam really isn't that scary a name. It's pronounced just like "Sean" but with an "m" at the end instead of an "n." My parents were hippies and got married in India, blame them.
16. I saw that US players will have to do the remission thing and won't be able to keep balances on there. Will it be possible to make transfers instead of withdrawing?
- No, that won't be possible.
17. How's the FTOPS schedule looking?
- I'm guessing the next one will look a lot like the one we were planning for August of last year. So, pretty good?
18. My account was banned years ago because I made a deposit at my friend's account because he couldn't deposit. Is it possible I will get my account back?
- I won't be able to answer specific Support/Security type questions here (or anywhere else). It's likely you're going to have to wait for those teams to be back up and running properly with all player data before you get a real answer.
19. I cant recall if I had any $ in my account when this went down. However I know that I had bought some tournament tickets to The Sunday Brawl with FTPs. What is going to happen to them?
- If you're a ROW player you will still have those tournament tickets in your account on relaunch. If you're a US player they would have already been converted to $.
20, Will FTP continue to deliver completely different gameplay than Pokerstars or will both sites become very similar over time?
- The plan is to remain separate and unique.
21. What changed at FTP headquarters after Stars acquisition?
- There is going to be far more caffeine readily available. And a whole lot more excitement for the future.
22. Are you going to get rid of multi-entry?
- We have no plans to get rid of METs, no. That doesn't mean we won't make any changes to them. I understand the various issues people who don't like the feature have with it, and I've read over the thread with the poll.
23. What if someone had a ROW account before June 29 but has since moved back to the US. I know they are considered ROW but what if they don't have access to those particular bank accounts from ROW and the address for check mailing purposes. How will withdrawals work then?
- It's safe to say nobody knows the answer to that question just yet. Plenty of people are working through all the various issues that are part of this relaunch, and you can be sure that when it's all said and done there will be a process to withdraw any money in your account.
24. Will rush sit and goes and tourneys be still available to play?
- That's the plan, but anything is possible. If we relaunch and nobody shows up to play them, I don't know how long they'd stick around before we tried something else.
25. Will high stakes play money tables still be available
- There are currently no plans to change the play money offerings.
26. When is this DOJ submission process going to happen?
- That's definitely a question for the DOJ.
27. What is going to happen to affiliate deals and accounts? And balances that are still owed on there of course?
- I don't have an answer for this. I'm confident that once the affiliate plan is solidified all of the affiliates will be updated.
28. Any of you guys with money on ftp did receive an email from them?
- No player emails have been sent yet. There are some technical issues to overcome first, but an email will definitely be going out. We want everyone to know what's going on (and come back once we relaunch), not just people paying attention to poker news sites or forums.
29. Some of us also had those cash tickets in play. Whats the status there?
- Ring Game Tickets that were active when we went down will be converted to cash based on whatever value was still left on the ticket.
30. Are there any plans to make a Full Tilt mobile app.
- We actually already had a mobile app. The plan is definitely to bring it back, but it's possible it won't be until after relaunch.
31. What will be the deposit/withdrawal options once FTP opens up? The same as PS?
- We're still working through all of those issues, but the intention is to have the same options as PokerStars.
32. What are the plans for the tournaments that where currently going when the site shut down?
- They were cancelled and paid out according to our tournament cancellation rules. It's essentially a forced "chip chop."
33. Can you speculate as to when ftp or stars will be back for USA players? and maybe tell us the process of things that need to happen for it to happen?
- I can't even begin to speculate, no. I'm an eternal optimist and will likely keep on hoping it's just around the corner for as long as it takes. I do recommend following Rich Muny's (TheEngineer on 2+2) daily action plan to stay involved.
34. Do you know if our player notes will still be there? Im aware they are stored on our own hard drives, i just want to know if they will still be compatible?
- Yep, as long as they're still there on your hard drive they should be perfectly fine when you next log in.
35. How will you go about making the new MTT schedule. Are you going to build it from the ground up? Or are you keeping the same schedule as before and just adding where you see fit?
- The current plan is to return with basically the same schedule we had on June 29th, 2011. There will be some changes here and there, and the guarantees will likely be constantly adjusting as we figure out just how many players we have back on the site, but it will look very familiar to players who knew the old schedule.
36. Shouldn't this thread be in Internet Poker?
- I had that debate in my mind as well. My feeling was this particular thread is more news than poker (and will get more eyeballs here), but once we start having regular updates again those threads will be in the Internet Poker forum.
37. Is there any way a UK player could get some of their bankroll before the re launch?
- No, I'm afraid not.
Thanks again for the questions. The pace of answers might slow down (or speed up) based on our progress through the various issues we're dealing with to get back up and running, but I'll be doing my best to keep everyone as updated as possible. This will be much more exciting in a few months!
Questions from August 24:
Update from Sept. 6:
1. Now that FTP won't relaunch in Denmark, any chance that they will apply for a Danish license in 2013?
- At the moment our entire focus is on the relaunch. Future license plans have not been developed.
2. What about FTP Academy? I had there some serious money in Academy credits.
- The FTP Academy won't be returning at relaunch for both technical and marketing reasons. All Academy credits will be converted to Full Tilt Points (1 Academy credit will be exchanged for 1 FTP). I do hope that we can bring the Academy back someday.
3. Will there still be a link with Cardrunners, so that earning full tilt points credited you with free access to the CR site?
- I don't have an answer for this. My best guess is that this won't be decided until after relaunch, so it's very unlikely you'd see that promo still available at relaunch.
4. Will it be possible to exchange FTPs points (and Iron Man medals) for PokerStars FPPs? Will it be possible to transfer a bonus from FTP to PokerStars?
- No to both. The only thing currently planned to be transferrable using the site-to-site transfer feature (whenever that becomes available) is real money.
5. Will FTP once again release a full-featured version of their software for Mac?
- Yes, the Mac software will still be supported.
6. Obviously, not a priority for the relaunch, but please do consider adding Pineapple to the lineup.
- As long as we're talking Crazy, I'm a fan! I played it some in Oceanside back in the mid-90s and had a blast. I'm old.
7. Is everyone (Belgium, France etc) able to play for play money?
- This question is still being worked on. We hope to offer play money in as many places as we can.
8. So will relocated U.S players outside of the U.S be able to retrieve their account like Stars lets us? Or will we need to make a new account?
- You will not need a new account. The procedure for re-opening your account for real money play will be extremely similar (if not identical) to the procedure currently used by PokerStars.
9. FTP used to have leaderboards each month. When FTP shut down I was second in the high stakes hu sng leaderboard. I was wondering what will happen with these cash prizes?
- The June, 2011 leaderboard prizes will be paid out at relaunch.
10. Are you going to block pokertableratings like Stars have?
- I would think that FTP's data-mining policies will be identical to PokerStars, but I don't think the details have been worked out yet.
11. Are you going to be able to qualify for events like EPT, LAPT, APPT, etc through Full Tilt as well?
- Exactly which live events FTP will support haven't been decided yet. I don't expect any news in this area until after relaunch.
12. I had an 8k wire transfer that never came in, had like 10+ talks with support to get it cleared up and had all the records proving it via email, who should I contact now to finalize it and finally get paid, and when should I do so?
- There isn't someone to contact just yet. All of these issues are being sorted through and Support needs some time to get back up to speed. Give it some time and then write to Support to see if they can give you a timeline for when things might be sorted out.
13. Will we be able to see our transaction history from before Black Friday?
- We intend for everyone to have access to their full transaction history as long as there are no technical or jurisdictional issues that would prevent that access.
14. There were always "hidden" fees for non US players depositing on FTP (converting the £ / € etc to USD would always lose about 2% I believe, and the same for withdrawing) will this still be the case? Or will FTP become more like stars for depositing and withdrawing where all funds are converted free of charge.
- All of these types of policies are undergoing review. I don't have any definitive answer, though.
15. Can we make new accounts on the new FTP or I'm a stuck with my old account which I forget name/password and email for?
- You'll have to use your old account. Support will assist in any way possible to help players retrieve lost login credentials.
16. Will Stars and FTP be run on same servers or will FTP still run on the ones it used to.
- FTP will still be run on the same servers it used to run on.
17. No chance of relaunch in September?
- None. There is simply too much work to do and too many issues to resolve.
18. Will we be given advanced notice of the re-launch time / date?
- I'd say "end of October or beginning of November" is going to be the best advanced notice we'll be able to give for the time being. As we get a lot closer to the actual date we will hopefully be able to give a more precise relaunch window.
19. Will the FT mainstay Fantasy Poker return?
- For sure this isn't something we will decide before relaunch. I'd be very surprised if that decision was made before the end of the year.
20. Any chance FTP/PokerStars will apply to act as the Claims Administrator for the DoJ with respect to the remission of FTP player balances?
- I'm getting a "We can't comment on any discussions with the DOJ" answer to this question.
21. What's happening with fulltiltpoker.fr?
- If we're able to continue offering play money for France, it might remain open for that. Otherwise, it will just go away and all play money players will be moved to PokerStars.fr along with all the real money players.
We are working through all of these issues as quickly as possible, but it's unlikely I'll have meaningful updates every day like I'm sure you all want. I will keep collecting as many questions as I can and answer them when I'm able, so keep them coming.
Just a quick one since there are only a few answerable questions that I see since last time. September will likely be a fairly slow month in terms of new answers coming in, but that should change in October.
1. Any plans to make arrangements to help multi-tabling on Stars and FTP at the same time?
- There are no plans for that kind of software coordination, no.
2. What pros are on the shortlist to be Red Pros?
- We'll be keeping that a secret for now. When it's all set there will for sure be an announcement.
3. Is there any way of receiving hand histories from games I have played on FTP before black Friday?
- No hands have been lost. As long as the various Hand History tools are still available (and they might not be right at relaunch depending on what state they're currently in), those hands will be retrievable (by you or Support).
4. Will tables that were purchased with Iron Man medals and named the same as your screenname still be available when the site is relaunched?
- The tables purchased by US players will no longer be there, and we may clean some more up depending on what kind of use they get. But if you purchased a table that gets cleaned up and you want it back to play on, we'll be happy to bring it back.
5. What will be done about the Onyx Cup?
- There are no plans to continue with this series.
6. Can you reinvent the 'kofek'-glitch for some time?
- Hah! I was a big fan of that one.
Someday I'll have answers to the meaty questions.
That'll be kofeking awesome.
Update from September 15:
As you might have already seen, there has been a bit of movement this past week as we progress towards relaunch. We listed nearly a dozen job openings at http://www.rfts.com/careers.php and sent out an email to a small group of players to get a jump on verifying their accounts. More news to come over the next few weeks, but here are some quick answers I'm able to give:
1. What happens with the Security Token? Are they still supported when the site reopens?
- Yep, they will still be supported. The physical tokens might not be available in the FTP store right at relaunch, but if you already had one enabled you will still have to use it to log in. If you lost yours, we should be able to replace it.
2. Do you have any updates on the gaming license?
- No real update. We expect to have an Isle of Man license well before relaunch.
3. Did FTP commit to re-opening for real money games by Nov 6? Or simply to re-open and allow ROW players to connect and withdraw their funds?
- Officially we're committed to "make available in a segregated bank account, all outstanding balances owing to all non-U.S. customers of Full Tilt Poker, with no restrictions on withdrawals" by November 6. For all practical purposes, that means we'll be open for both withdrawals and play by that date.
4. Will you be offering Rush Poker mobile?
- Yes, but likely not at relaunch.
5. What if you don't remember the email that was used with your FTP account?
- If you remember your username and password you should be able to manually change your own email once logged into the game. It's only going to be a more serious issue if you've both forgotten your password and no longer have access to your registered email address. There will be a process in place for Support to deal with these types of situations.
6. Who is getting emails? Can people who think they fit the criteria email Support if they didn't get it?
- It was a small group of non-US players with a balance of more than $3,500. Even if you think you fit that criteria and you didn't get an email, there's no real need to write to Support. This email was only sent to get a head start on verifying accounts and there will be other opportunities in the future to do this before relaunch.
7. So I am assuming that players who have less than $3,500 can simply use their login and password as they were pre-Black Friday and access their account without a problem?
- That's not necessarily the case. Plenty of other players will need to submit documents to verify their accounts before being cleared to play. More info on all of this will be coming before relaunch.
Sept. 28 update:
Before getting to the new questions that have been asked, here are a couple of links to the publicly announced activity from the past 10 days or so:
To the questions:
- All of the FTP servers that were in Guernsey were flown to the Isle of Man, where they are currently being installed in their new home.
- PokerStars issued a press release announcing that FTP will be back in the first week of November and progress has been made with the various individual regulated markets to ensure a smooth transfer for our players from FTP to PokerStars in those markets.
1. Is there any timeline for when you have to verify your account? Will I be able to login if I haven't verified my account?
- There isn't any particular timeline, but yes, some players will need to verify their account before they can log in and play.
2. Any chance of re-launch in the beginning of October?
- Not even a little one. As announced, re-launch will happen in the first week of November. There will be plenty of activity before that, though.
3. Will the graphics/software etc be exactly the same as before June 28/29, 2011? So will I be able to use all my old graphic mods?
- There will be some new features, but overall the graphics are the same. I can't speak to whether or not your third party mods will work out of the box, though.
4. Will FTP still be using the continuous shuffle or will it have a fixed deck like PokerStars?
- Same servers, same continuous shuffle.
5. Will there be a huge disincentive for cashing out? Like if you cash out you won't be eligible for the restart bonus (obviously there will be one)?
- Our re-launch promotions haven't been announced yet, so I can't really comment on the specifics. I can say that in general the idea is to entice people to stay, not punish them if they want to go. More carrot, less stick. (Hold on a sec, sending the marketing guys a new tagline idea.)
6. I understand that FTP/PS need their time to re-launch. However, why don't they send out mails to their customers saying at least, "Hi, stuff is happening, we still know about your roll" etc?
- Part of the answer is technical. The actual servers that send all those emails were being prepped for a flight, and now they all have to be installed and configured in their new home. The other part is timing. We needed to know certain things before sending any emails, and it just wasn't possible to get those answers before the servers all came down. We do plan on sending out a good number of emails before re-launch, starting in the first half of October.
7. As far as I know there was not a "playing history audit" option like there is on PokerStars. Will this be a feature on the new FTP?
- There was, but it wasn't an automated tool from the game itself. You had to write in to Support to get it. For the time being that will still be the process, but it's certainly possible we'll make it an in-game feature at some point in the future.
8. Will there be a site transfer to PokerStars option for players on the Isle of Man license such as the UK?
- Yes, we plan on having an Inter-Site Transfer feature that will allow for players to move money from their PokerStars account to their own FTP account (and vice versa, although I personally discourage that).
9. Can people download the software and login to their accounts now?
- No, although we do plan on allowing players to do just that at least a few days before re-launch.
10. I'm from Spain, how will FTP points be transferred to my PokerStars account? Will they be converted to FPP or to money?
- The exact process hasn't been announced yet, but the PokerStars press release linked to above mentions that "Players will 'pair' a PokerStars account with their Full Tilt account..." Once that happens, there will be a process to "credit" your balances (real money and FTPs) to your PokerStars account. And yes, FTPs will be converted to FPPs at a fair rate.
11. When FTP was closed I lived in Spain and have since moved to Holland. Can I still play on my old account?
- Yes, once you have fully verified your account and new residence.
12. Are the stress balls still in the store?
- Actually, no. We will be launching the FTP Store with virtual goods only. This means Tournament Tickets, Ring Game Tickets, and cash bonuses will be the only items available when we re-launch.
13. "I would like to know my balance. When will support be able to give information about individual account balances?" Any update on this question?
- Now that it's been announced that re-launch will be the first week of November, it's safe to say that support will have everything they need to give specific balance information by the end of October.
14. Any chance you will release your tournament schedule before re-launch?
- Nope. It won't be very different from the schedule you last saw in June of last year. The guarantees will all be different, and we may change some times here and there to better match the time zones of our current player base, but it will all feel very familiar.
I know I still haven't answered any of the really burning questions, and I'm sorry about that. I think it's safe to say that the vast majority of those questions (for non-US players, I can't speak at all to the DOJs timeline) will be answered in the next 3-4 weeks.
October 8th update:
We just updated our home page to include a new "countdown clock" that is counting down the days until re-launch, which is officially scheduled for November 6th. Also now on that page is a link to our most recent press release which discusses Gus Hansen joining Full Tilt Poker as our first brand ambassador.
In addition, the FAQ at the bottom of the page has been updated to include answers that are more fully known at this point (although nothing really new to anyone paying attention to this thread).
We also have our first email going out to all players that played for real money on FTP. There won't be much in the way of new information to anyone that's been paying attention on the forums or elsewhere, but for everyone else it will be a good "this is what has happened so far" type email. Expect to get something over the next few days since not all of our systems are back online yet from the big server move and getting an email out to this many players will take longer than usual.
To the questions:
1. Will FTP change the store-purchased bonuses to be instantly credited (like PokerStars cash bonuses) instead of requiring clearance?
- There are no plans to change this, no.
2. Can you at least tell us if you are planning to have electronics in the FTP store again or will FTP do the same as PS and only offer gift certificates?
- We haven't even gotten to the planning stages of the future store, so I don't have an answer for this yet.
3. I can't access the email that my account is linked to and I don't have the password to the account. Can I get a time when I'll be able to access FTP and what sort of documents I'll have to provide?
- Early November is the best time estimate I can give for that. You'll have to contact support and will need to provide them as much detail about your account as possible (excluding your password which will never be asked). Things like your former email address, the address listed in the account, and username. Then you'll need to prove you are that person with a Photo ID (Passport or Driver's License most commonly) and verify your current location with a recent utility bill or bank statement.
4. I won a MiniFTOPS, will I receive my shirt?
- You will either receive your jacket and/or jersey or get compensated in some way. This won't happen by re-launch, but it will happen.
5. Could you please give us at least approximate timeline when we will get some real news (rakeback/VIP system/our balances/re-launch promotions/new features etc.)?
- All of those answers will be known before re-launch, likely before the end of this month.
6. When is the next FTOPS?
- December 2nd-16th. (Really!)
7. Are you guys prepared for server overload?
- We're doing our best to make sure we're ready for any kind of server or cashier load. That's definitely one part of the reason this re-launch process is taking the full 90 days.
8. Will there be deposit/withdraw option for Moneybookers (Skrill)?
9. Who will be the faces of FTP now?
- In addition to the Gus announcement mentioned above, we'll be announcing a couple more pros before re-launch. From there it's anyone's guess!
10. Will pre-Black Friday hand histories be available from FTP?
- Yep. If the Hand History tool isn't available at re-launch, you would have to request the hands from support, but they will be available in some form.
11. Will Full Tilt employees be allowed to play for real money at Full Tilt? Will they be allowed to play for real money at PokerStars? Will PokerStars employees be allowed to play for real money at Full Tilt?
- No, no, and no.
Oct. 12 update:
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%).
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.
- 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.
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.
Oct. 19 update:
Thanks for the feedback so far on the new rewards program. I realize we haven't given enough information yet about the program for most of you to accurately assess how much better or worse this program is for your specific situation compared to the old system, but we just aren't ready to share all of the details yet. They will all be available at least a few days before re-launch, so there will be plenty of time to get a much more accurate picture of where things stand.
In case you missed it, we announced this week the addition of Tom Dwan and Viktor Blom to our team. That's it in terms of new Professionals that will be joining us before re-launch. Thanks for the very positive feedback on the team so far, we're all excited to start seeing them in action again.
To the questions:
1. Will you have a reload or new deposit bonus when FTP comes back?
- The first time deposit bonus will still be there. As far as other bonuses go, our re-launch promotion hasn't been announced yet, but news is coming in the next couple of weeks.
2. You will have to add new programs on top of this to stay competitive and you're already alluding to Black Card returning.
- The current plan has a promotion called "Black Card" returning, but it will be entirely different. Nobody should be counting on that promotion as something that will increase their total giveback.
3. Is there anything above Black Card in the works and/or will there be tiers?
- No, there is nothing currently in the works at or above Black Card level of play. That doesn't mean that such a thing will never exist, it just means nothing is currently in the works. And yes, there will be tiers in the new program.
4. What kind of compensation can we expect for 40+ Continuing Months and our Medals?
- Iron Man Medals will be converted to FTPs at a rate of 50 FTPs per Medal. As far as Continuing Months goes, that's part of the "leg up" I mentioned in the last post. All of those details will be announced in the next couple of weeks.
5. Will FTP offer a SNG Leaderboard again?
- Yes, the SNG Leaderboard will continue.
6. Are all of our points worth $2.50/100 FTP?
- No, your old points are worth the same as they were last year, with the caveat that if you had rakeback you will no longer be charged anything for using those points. Newly earned (base) FTPs will increase your weekly cash reward by up to $2.50 per 100 FTPs (and actually it's earned per point, so it's really up to 2.5c per FTP).
7. Is the first tier going to be Bronze?
- It is, but not because of PokerStars. Iron Man also started at Bronze (and so do about a million other rewards programs out there). Olympic medals are just an instantly recognized tiered system.
8. Will Full Tilt Poker have a service such as "Home Games" in PokerStars?
- There are currently no plans for a full on integrated "Home Games" feature like PokerStars has, although we do plan on having most (if not all) of the functionality of Home Games available to our players at some stage.
9. Will there be any Cash-out tournaments as this was unique to Full Tilt Poker?
- Unless there is significant demand, this is one of the few game types we don't plan on having when we come back that we had when we went down. Players in general didn't seem to care much for the format.
10. What percentage of people actually had 27% rakeback on the old Full Tilt Poker?
- Under a third. The fact that this new rewards program will be available to 100% of our players is a large reason we ultimately went in this direction.
11. Is it 7 points per $1 or 10? I thought it was 7.
- It's 10 FTPs per $1 in rake. This was changed in September of 2010.
12. So about the Mid Year Bonus payout, is this something we will have to release by increments and have to put in the volume to release it? Or just a straight deposit in our account off the bat?
- It works just like all the other Iron Man Mid-Year and End-Of-Year bonuses. It's tracked on a web site, and is released in full when you clear the whole thing. If you don't clear the whole thing by the end of the clearance period, you will get whatever you did clear.
13. If I'm an Estonian who has relocated, can I somehow send the proof of my address before the site opens, so the real money games would be available?
- Yes. Contact support and they will be able to help get you set up.
14. Will our accounts on PS and FTP be linked in the VIP Progam? So if we earn FTPs on Full Tilt Poker, will they give me VPPs simultaneously?
- No, the two programs are separate.
15. I think it's going to be bad for low volume grinders. All sites including stars pay like 10% rakeback while FTP used to give everyone 27%.
- By "everyone" you mean "everyone who had affiliate-paid rakeback," which is a significant difference. If we take the lowest tier in the new program that gives weekly cash rewards and pretend that group existed in June of last year, just 30% of the players in that group had rakeback.
16. What are the criteria for determining which ROW players will have to verify via paperwork? Or do all of us have to?
- We want to ensure that only the true owner of each account is able to access, withdraw and make real money transfers. The higher your balance, the more likely it is you'll end up having to send in documents. For players with lower balances, logging in with the same computer or IP address you used to log in with will lower the chances you'd have to send anything in.
17. Will the play money balances also be the same?
18. Will we be able to make cross-site transfers? Both play chip and real money?
- You will be able to make inter-site transfers, yes. However, it will be for real money only.
There has been some confusion over the email that went out to affiliates earlier this week. To clear up a couple of questions from players: If you had affiliate-paid rakeback, you will still be paid the rakeback you were due at the end of June, 2011. In addition, previous rakeback payments, refer-a-friend, cash bonuses, or any other promotional payments are not impacted in any way.
As far as affiliate specific questions, I'm not in a position to answer those. You'll have to write to the email address provided in the email that went out for any clarification.
Oct. 26 update:
There was some activity this week with the Deal Me In promotion being announced. There will be many more details on that next week. Our four 15 second "teaser" ads also started airing this week. If you haven't seen them yet, here they are:
Also happening this week is the answer to question #1:
1. Do we get a detailed mail/notification of all those account asset conversions you are talking about, such as medals into FTPs?
- Yep, those emails should be going out over the next couple of days. In many cases it won't list your cash balance (for security reasons), but it will detail all of the modifications that have been made to your account since we've been down.
A fairly comprehensive list of the changes has now been posted at the bottom of the FAQ on the homepage of the site.
2. Will they add a "hide from search" feature like on Stars?
- It's planned eventually, but there is no timeline for when it might see the light of day.
3. What do people who have moved out of the US since June 29th, 2011 do to get re-verified? Should we email support or wait for them to email us?
- You will have to write to support. You can do that now if you want to get a jump on things. Note that this will not change the procedure for going through the remission process with the DOJ if you had a real money US-based account.
4. What about the Iron Man Mid-Year Bonus in markets you don't intend to reopen? We can't clear the bonus.
- When your balances (including real money and FTPs) get credited over to PokerStars, you will also get your Iron Man Mid-Year Bonus (if you qualified for one), so you will be able to clear it over there. In addition, depending on your playing history on FTP (and your current status on PokerStars), you may be granted a higher PokerStars VIP status.
5. Is the FTP equivalent of concierge still an option?
- No, sorry. That was the Black Card Carte Blanche service, and since Black Card is going away, so is that service.
6. Will "Black Card" be in operation at re-launch and will we receive the details of this prior to re-launch?
- It will not be there for re-launch. The idea behind it might not even be announced by then.
7. How does FTP justify giving their highest volume grinders a maximum of 25% rakeback, whereas PokerStars gives a maximum of 71%?
- Minor quibbles with the numbers aside (with points you're looking at closer to 30%, and with promos like Happy Hour you're probably in the 30-35% range), you're right that the highest volume grinders will get lower rewards on FTP than PokerStars. We don't intend to compete for that particular group of players with our rewards program. Which isn't to say we don't intend to compete for any of that group at all.
8. How many characters are available for picking a screenname?
9. You said that cash bonuses will not be affected in any way. Does that mean that if I had a cash bonus in June 2011, I will have around 52% effective rakeback after re-launch (assuming I'm at the top tier level and clear the weekly requirement for the cash bonus)?
- I think you're confusing regular cash bonuses (what I was talking about) with the Cash Back Bonus program (the rewards program that some people who couldn't get rakeback were given). The Cash Back Bonus is going away just like rakeback, and if you were in the program you should have received an email on October 12th explaining that. Sorry for the confusion.
10. Will there be an "exclude from stake x, game x" option like PokerStars has?
- Eventually something like this is likely, but it won't be soon.
11. Has there been any news on an initial deposit bonus?
- It will still be there, although with a couple of extras that weren't there before. More details next week.
Quick note: I believe this will be my last post in this thread. Next week we'll have an actual game to log into and play (play money) with, so I'll be making my next post in the Internet Poker forum with a list of all of the changes that are in the new client. Should be an exciting week! Although not nearly as exciting as the week that follows.