Full Tilt Poker was founded in 2004 by a consortium of successful poker pros. The site has had its ups and downs in the recent past but is now back as the second biggest poker site online only behind PokerStars, whose parent company The Rational Group, also owns Full Tilt Poker.
There are several ways to view the lobby, including using customizable widgets, 7 different table backgrounds, and dozens of player avatars that can be set to display 4 distinct emotions which allows for an impressive number of options and customizations.
There are also options for game animations, sound effects and alerts, buy-ins and game selection. All of these details can be confusing and distracting to beginners, but are very convenient for experienced online players.
Because it plays host to one of the Internet’s biggest player pools, Full Tilt Poker is able to offer a huge selection of games and formats, most of which run very consistently. The one-tabling 2-7 Single Draw player will find plenty of action, and the 24-tabling Pot Limit Omaha pro will also be kept satisfied (and busy).
In addition, Full Tilt Poker offers Rush Poker, which zips players from table to table, minimizing the amount of downtime in between hands.
Full Tilt Poker also offers a varied schedule of multi-table tournaments and Sit & Gos. Nearly everyone can find at least a few regular tournaments suited to their skills and bankroll.
Unfortunately, Full Tilt Poker's status as one of the most obvious and well-trafficked sites means the poker shark community has settled in at its tables. This is not to imply that it’s impossible to win consistently on the site (it definitely is), but prospective players will have to consider the trade-offs between Full Tilt Poker and a softer but smaller network.
The rake structure for Full Tilt Poker cash games can be roughly summarized as 5% of each pot up to $3, effectively identical to the system used by most of its competitors. Ever since the collapse of rake-free sites like WSEX, rake at the major networks has stabilized to the point where it’s hardly ever a relevant factor in deciding where to play.
New players are welcomed to the site with a deposit bonus of up to $600 which is released over time as the player earns Full Tilt Points. Those points, earned with every contribution to rake in both cash games and tournaments, can be spent in the Full Tilt Store on items from playing cards to flatscreen TVs. Watch for special happy hours where you can earn double or triple points.
The Iron Man program takes things a step further by introducing a separate currency, Iron Man medals, and a separate store catering to the sites most dedicated players. They can earn medals and one of the four Iron Man statuses (bronze, silver, gold, or iron) through consistent player over the course of every month.
The truly high rollers can also reap the benefit of the Black Card, which doubles their Full Tilt Point earn rate and provides access to a higher level of services and rewards.
With its wide selection of games and steady stream of traffic at all stakes, Full Tilt Poker is one of the most obvious choices, along with PokerStars, for a high volume player. Solid benefits in the form of the $600 sign-up bonus, up to 40% rakeback, Full Tilt Points, and the Iron Man program all work together to keep Full Tilt players raking in the money even when the cards themselves aren’t cooperating.
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