Full Tilt Poker Introduces Special “New to the Game” Tables for Novice Players
While the final chapters of Full Tilt Poker version 1.0 continue to be written with stories of former CEO Ray Bitar’s health issues and plea arrangement and his fellow Black Friday defendant Chad Elie suing his lawyer, the new FTP 2.0 continues apace with a newly introduced feature designed to attract novice players. Special “New to the Game” tables were introduced on the site on Tuesday, available only to players with limited experience playing real money games on the site.
Players who have yet to play 2,000 hands or 75 tournaments (both scheduled and sit-n-gos) at a particular variant will have the option of sitting down at “New to the Game” cash tables or registering for “N”-version tournaments. Also, players will only be able to play two “New to the Game” tables at once, rather than multi-table on a larger scale as they can with regular FTP ring games and tournaments.
For example, a player who has “graduated” from being a novice at a particular variant such as hold’em will still be able to play the “New to the Game” pot-limit Omaha tables if he or she has yet to exceed the maximum number of PLO cash game hands and/or tourneys played. Additionally, the “N” ring games and tourneys are initially available to all FTP players — i.e., the hand/tourney counts for all began at zero for all players when the feature was first rolled out this week.
In March, Full Tilt Poker introduced both five-card stud (rarely seen before online) as well as Irish Poker, a variant entirely unique to FTP. Irish Poker is a flop game that involves being dealt four cards before the flop (like Omaha), then discarding two after the flop. Players new to those games will thus have available to them the “New to the Game” option when first trying them out as well.
The special tables are identified in the FTP lobby with an “N” icon, with “New to the Game” tables available at low stakes, including no-limit and pot-limit tables ranging from $2 to $10 buy-ins, and $0.05/$0.10 and $0.10/$0.10 fixed-limit games. There are also “New to the Game” low-stakes one-table SNGs available with buy-ins ranging from $0.50 to $2.25.
Industry observers have compared the strategy of having special novice-only tables to other efforts to segregate experienced or skilled players from so-called “recreational” players.
Such strategies include the “Fair Play Technology” being tested on the Revolution Network to categorize and segregate players based on experience, as well as similar, non-transparent features currently being tested on PartyPoker to limit the number of tables available to the veteran players. Bovada Poker’s use of anonymous tables and efforts to thwart the use of third-party programs like PokerTracker and Hold’em Manager also represent a different approach to attracting new players.
The innovation might be regarded as part of an effort to reverse the downward trend in traffic Full Tilt Poker has been experiencing of late. Since the initial excitement surrounding Full Tilt Poker’s relaunch in November 2012, the site’s traffic has been in steady decline during the months since. In late March, tracking site PokerScout reported Full Tilt had slipped from the #2 spot in the rankings (well behind industry giant PokerStars, who also now owns FTP), falling to #4 behind PartyPoker and the iPoker Network.