Full Tilt Ambassador Martins Adeniya says that the online poker room's recent changes might hurt traffic in the short term, but ultimately he believes they will draw more recreational poker players to the site.
Full Tilt recently made sweeping changes to its online poker offering, doing away with table and seat selection, axing all heads-up and high-stakes games and limiting multi-tabling.
“Admittedly, I was apprehensive when I first heard about the changes and initially I do think it will have a negative impact on the ring game numbers,” said Adeniya.
“However, over time I do feel that the changes will have a positive effect on ring game traffic and the numbers will continue to grow as more recreational players are drawn back to the site.”
Barely more than a month ago Full Tilt's Managing Director Dominik Mansour said to expect big changes in the site's poker experience, all aimed at making the online poker room more appealing to recreational players.
“There's absolutely no question,” said Mansour. “Recreational is our focus.”
You'll no longer see long lists of open tables in the Full Tilt lobby.
It's a sentiment echoed by many of the industry's biggest online poker rooms recently, and it's one that Adeniya expects to pay off in the long run.
“When it comes to ring games, it seems pretty difficult to please everyone,” said Adeniya.
“What might be good for the recreational player may be bad for the professionals and what might be good for the high-stakes players may hurt the mid-stakes players.
“Having looked into the changes, the idea is to provide more longevity and liquidity to ring games. The focus seems to be on making ring games more fun for recreational players and providing a better first-time experience for these players.
“This will in turn increase player traffic in the games and keep the recreational players coming back.”
Although the changes are meant to cater to amateurs, Full Tilt hopes the positive effects will reach the pros too.
More recreational players and a healthier poker ecosystem will hopefully provide value for professional players down the road.
Auto-Seating is Simple, Eliminates Bum-Hunting
The most striking change introduced in Full Tilt's latest software release is no longer seeing long lists of tables for each game and stake.
A healthy poker economy is Full Tilt's ultimate goal.
Now players just get one option, like they would at a live poker room.
The player chooses the game and stake and the software automatically seats him. Adeniya said this is a big improvement for recreational players for two main reasons.
“One of my main criticisms of the Full Tilt lobby before was that there were too many filters and empty tables to go through before you can find an open ring game.
“I can imagine this being even more difficult for players who are new to the site or unfamiliar with the software.
“Having one option for each stake, more like the mobile app, makes the lobby a lot more user friendly.”
Another big obstacle for recreational players online is being targeted by more experienced professionals looking for weak players. In the online poker world this is known as bum-hunting.
By taking away players' ability to choose their table and seat, it makes it very difficult to target specific players.
As a compromise, the new Full Tilt software does allow you to request a seat change, similar to a live poker room, but you cannot choose the precise seat to which you'd like to move.
The new wave of changes are dramatic but Adeniya believes anytime there's change, there's opportunity.
“The way I see things is, the players who can adapt and adjust fastest to the new conditions are most likely to end up being the most profitable.”