Full Tilt “Red Pros” Contracts not Honored
Former Full Tilt Poker “Red Pros” who were under contract prior to the site shutting down in late June of 2011 were informed via email that their contracts will not be in effect under new management of the Rational Group, parent company of PokerStars and Full Tilt.
The old Full Tilt had dozens of pros highlighted in red on the tables who were required to play a certain amount of time at lower stakes games. The scheme was all part of the site’s marketing strategy of “Learn, Chat and Play with the Pros.” This slogan would later come under fire when Full Tilt board members Ray Bitar and Howard Lederer chose to keep silent for an extended period after the Black Friday debacle. Online poker forums were inundated with posters eager to chat with the pros, hoping for answers regarding the site’s mismanagement of funds and alleged operation of a “global Ponzi scheme.”
Full Tilt relaunched on Nov. 6 and currently sponsors only three pro players — Viktor Blom, Tom Dwan and Gus Hansen. The email sent to former Red Pros stated that, “The ‘Red Pro’ team is not being continued by the Rational Group and a new team has been launched under the name of ‘The Professionals.’ Unfortunately, we do not have any immediate plans to expand the Full Tilt Pro team at this time,” according to pokernews.com.
The email was written by Dustin Iannotti, the manager of Full Tilt’s pro team. Iannotti goes on to say that the contact numbers of the site’s former pros are on file if Full Tilt’s marketing plans should change. Iannotti also points out that other than paying back rest-of-world players, “The Rational Group did not assume any liabilities of the previous Full Tilt Poker companies and therefore previous contractual agreements that Full Tilt Poker may have had including with FTP Red Pros were excluded.”
Former Red Pros were also informed that screen names and avatars in use during their time as sponsored pros can be changed back only to the screen names used prior to accepting the sponsorship deal. However, players have the option to continue using the same screen name in effect during their pro status, but the red font in the poker lobby and highlight on the former pro’s name will not be displayed.
Full Tilt regained its number two status in player traffic behind sister site PokerStars immediately upon relaunching about three weeks ago, according to PokerScout. Traffic has been declining somewhat steadily at the site ever since. Player numbers may drop further when the Deal Me In bonus package expires Nov. 27. However, most industry experts believe that Full Tilt will continue its second place ranking in worldwide player traffic.
The relaunch saw an infusion of $184 million back into the accounts of non-U.S. players. Those players residing in the U.S. are still waiting to submit claims for their funds to the U.S. Department of Justice. The latest DoJ update informed Americans that a claims administrator will be hired by January 2013 to begin work on the remission process.