The Rational Group manages the world’s largest online poker domains, and is particularly involved with its two most valuable sites, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker. The Rational Group has been strictly involved with poker since going live in 2001, but a new business plan will allow the company to offer other online casino games beyond poker.
The new proposal primarily involves Full Tilt Poker, which according to sources close to the Rational Group, may be rebranded as Full Tilt Gaming in homage of its expansion beyond poker. Earlier this week, Rational Group released a statement confirming a new strategy is in the works for Full Tilt Poker.
“While adding new games, we remain committed to building our leadership in poker with PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker and continuing to deliver the highest quality poker experience to players.”
Details surrounding the timeframe of uploading new casino games to Full Tilt Poker are unknown at this time. However, Rational Group did confirm that PokerStars will remain solely a poker domain, and that the change only affects Full Tilt Poker.
The two sites were rivals for years as the top poker domains on the web, though the rivalry came to an end in the fallout from the Black Friday poker scandal. As part of the settlement with the US Justice Department, which launched the investigation that temporarily shut the sites down, Full Tilt Poker accepted a purchase from Rational Group, which transformed the domain into a sister site of PokerStars. Since the relaunch of Full Tilt Poker, the two sites have worked in close partnership with each other.
There is some speculation that the new image for Full Tilt Poker is part of a strategy by the Rational Group to reenter the US online gambling market. Rational Group is opposed by US-based casinos in its attempts to relaunch PokerStars in New Jersey, where online gambling was legalized earlier this year. Opposition is primarily based around the grey history of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, which continued to operate in the US despite a federal anti-online gambling ban.
Since the Black Friday settlement, PokerStars has for the most part, rebuilt its reputation and remains the world’s top online poker site. However, Full Tilt Poker struggled to keep its former loyal players, and was the domain most criticized by the Black Friday scandal. Strategically, rebranding the struggling site makes sense for Rational Group as it negotiates its way back into the US.
While the rebranding strategy is primarily to appease US regulators, Full Tilt Poker is not forgetting players in other nations. Sarne Lightman, Head of Marketing with Full Tilt Poker, announced the site will host a guaranteed $1 million two week poker tournament in Canada this fall at the Playground Poker Club near Montreal.
“The amount of talent coming out of the region is really amazing and the poker community has taken note. We’re looking forward to bringing a world class event to these world class players to enjoy in their own backyard.”
While the date that the site will be rebranded is unknown, the Playground Poker Club tournament will begin on September 27. Who will go all in?