Full Tilt Poker Montreal: A Clean Break and a New Day
“The GSC were keen to make sure we had a clean break between the past,” Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Comission CEO Steven Brennan said after Full Tilt Poker was granted a license in October of 2012. “And we think we’ve ensured that a clean break is there.”
“Clean breaks” are very polarizing. With regards to the human anatomy, compound fractures are severe, extremely painful, and can be overly grotesque if the bone breaks the skin. Compound fractures can also lead to tissue damage, which requires further rehabilitation.
Conversely, bad relationships can benefit from clean breaks. Instead of dragging things out with a messy series of General Hospital-inspired fights, break ups, make ups, break ups, and make ups, sometimes the best thing to do is just end things in one fell swoop. No more hard feelings, just a simple c’est la vie.
For the old Full Tilt, a clean break was necessary. The ghosts of the past and skeletons in the closet were far too daunting to ignore, and for the brand to have any credibility whatsoever, a complete makeover was necessary. That’s why the Rational Group opted to clean house – save face for Full Tilt Poker Professionals Tom Dwan and Gus Hansen, and to an extent wunderkind Viktor Blom – and start from scratch.
The new Full Tilt launched on Nov. 6, 2012, and nearly a year later it’s apparent that, while the logo is the same and the software is still brilliant, there are certainly new tenants in Dublin, Ireland.
It’s hard to actually see the changes on the surface because, to the naked eye, everything looks identical, so to combat this Full Tilt has rolled out a handful of new ambassadors. Here at the Playground Poker Club — where the C$1 million guarantee has already been smashed on Day 1b of the Main Event — it’s not hard to find players like Martins Adeniya, Dermot Blain, Ben Jenkins, Danielle Moon-Andersen, Sinem Melin, and a host of others floating around, even when they're not playing.
And it’s not as if Dustin Iannotti, head of pro, celebrity, and VIP marketing for Full Tilt, is dragging the players around – they’re willingly fraternizing with the players and their fellow ambassadors, and, most importantly, genuinely having a good time.
During Day 1b action, Adeniya, who already advanced to Day 2 with a healthy stack, and Jenkins, who has had two frustratingly short days and will need to spin up a stack on the third and final starting flight on Sunday, are in the building watching YouTube videos together and sharing plenty of laughs. Jenkins helped generated one of the funnier parts of the day, as he was tasked with choosing a t-shirt for Moon-Andersen to wear because she was the first ambassador to bust on Day 1a.
The shirt he chose?
Well played, Mr. Jenkins.
Perhaps the ambassadors are following Hansen’s lead. The FTP Professional was all over the place at UKIPT Galway, signing autographs, accepting the key to the city from Mayor Padraig Conneely, and playing lots and lots of Pac-Man.
Endless amounts of Pac-Man.
Hansen’s shining moment in Ireland came in a €35+5 daily event where he finished second out of 67 runners. The €480 he earned is the smallest prize listed on his Hendon Mob profile, but he provided Jonathan Condron, the winner, with a story for life.
The €710 the Irishman won for defeating Hansen heads up must’ve felt like €7.1 million.
In many ways, Full Tilt has become a grass roots campaign for poker while big brother PokerStars battles it out on a global level – and there’s nothing wrong with that. The vast majority of people that play poker are more likely to play in hundred-dollar events rather than five-figure high rollers. Likewise, within that majority is a sect of individuals that haven’t deposited to an online poker site for one of many reasons.
This untapped market is large enough to support another poker boom and just needs the right catalyst to ignite it.
For Full Tilt, their clean break from the past allowed them to head off into another direction. If Montreal is any indication of the future, thanks to their ambitious young ambassadors, a savvy veteran representative like Hansen, and a hardworking staff of marketers like Iannotti and the developers in Dublin, the future is very bright.