Amaya to migrate Full Tilt players to PokerStars platform

amaya-full-tilt-pokerstarsAmaya Gaming will merge its underperforming Full Tilt poker operation with its dominant PokerStars platform sometime this spring.

Earlier on Tuesday, reported that Amaya intended to link Full Tilt’s liquidity with that of its bigger brother PokerStars within the next six weeks. Amaya subsequently confirmed the news via a press release detailing the forthcoming changes, which suggests the Full Tilt brand may not be long for this world.

Amaya said it remains “committed to a dual-poker brand strategy” and Tilt will retain its unique products, such as Rush Poker, which is known as Zoom Poker on Stars, as well as Tilt’s table layouts, promotions and tournaments. Some Full Tilt Casino products won’t be accessible, although Amaya says these may be added at an unspecified later date.

Tilt players will be automatically migrated to the new platform and will have a single account that can be used to access either the Stars or Tilt-branded software. Amaya says the platform migration will allow the company to focus its development efforts on a single platform, which the company expects will result in faster and more efficient delivery of new features.

Bringing the two brands’ development teams under one roof will result in the “elimination of a number of roles in [Full Tilt’s] Dublin office.” Amaya said it would take a few months to determine exactly how many redundancies are required but said those staffers deemed to be “at risk” have been notified.

Rational Group CEO Rafi Ashkenazi claimed that both brands’ poker players would benefit from the shared liquidity pool, while the company would benefit from the streamlined development process, which Ashkenazi claimed would allow it to more swiftly enter newly regulated markets as they become available.

In 2012, PokerStars acquired and re-launched the Full Tilt brand following the latter company’s post-Black Friday demise. Amaya’s release acknowledged that Tilt never came close to regaining its status as the global number-two poker brand although Amaya insisted that the operation remains profitable.

Regardless, the expected cost reductions will give Amaya a way of blunting investors’ unease regarding falling poker revenue amid the ongoing shrinkage of the global online poker market. A further short-term financial boost could come if Amaya ultimately decides to offload Full Tilt’s proprietary software to a competitor, as the platform was highly regarded before Tilt’s 2011 fall from grace.

It remains to be seen how the Tilt migration might affect Amaya CEO David Baazov’s bid to take the company private. The markets have so far shrugged at Amaya’s announcement, with the stock currently down less than half of one percent for the day.