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Clash of the titans - Full Tilt versus PokerStars

PokerStars and Full Tilt are the network heavyweights of the poker world, offering massive player pools and a diverse range of games.

According to Pokerlistings, PokerStars has a player volume peak of 177,500, whereas Full Tilt offers a more modest 80,500. Both websites are endorsed by a host of stellar names, with the likes of Daniel Negreanu and Greg Raymer representing PokerStars, and Phil Ivey and Tom Dwan representing Team Full Tilt.

Which room, however, is more suited to the casual player?

Comparing Pokerstars and Full Tilt

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Full Tilt prides itself as 'home of pros', boasting a sparkling roster of players. Because of this tag, and its association with esteemed training websites such as Cardrunners, competition is slightly stiffer.

PokerStars markets itself more for recreational players, with more micro stakes tables and satellites from as low as 1FPP. PokerStars offers a greater number of freerolls for an all important bankroll boost, and runs innovative promotions such as the 'Lamborghini Freeroll Series', where players get the chance to compete for a supercar without investing a cent.

Both websites offer comprehensive game selection.

Full Tilt offers more mixed games, such as HORSE and 8-game, whereas PokerStars boasts Badugi. Full Tilt's major incentive is Rush Poker, a rolling game mode where players can play a large volume of hands without waiting times. With technological developments making poker more and more accessible, players can now play this game mode on devices such as the iPhone.

PokerStars responded with the introduction of 'home games', giving players the chance to play hassle free in private games. Although Full Tilt has recently matched this perk, the PokerStars variation is more rounded and easier to navigate. Players can compete amongst friends in private leaderboards, customising game options such as stakes, blind levels etc.

Full Tilt offers regular satellites to televised shows such as Poker After Dark, the NBC Heads up Championship, and 'Face the Ace', giving players a shot at poker stardom. Unsurprising given its sponsorship of the EPT, PokerStars is more 'euro-centric' with its satellites to live events, and offers regular national freerolls for Britain and Scandinavia.

Full Tilt offers a greater depth of high stakes games, but PokerStars boasts a greater diversity of tournaments. PokerStars also host the biggest weekly tournaments - the Sunday Million and Sunday Warm-Up, attracting the cream of the poker world and awarding hundreds of thousands of dollars in guaranteed prize money.

PokerStars software is very functional and customisable, but rather basic and uninspiring. With its wide range of avatars and vibrant, 'cartoon' themed graphics, Full Tilt is more aesthetically pleasing. It is also MAC compatible, and offers a mobile phone application.

Full Tilt Poker is constantly modifying its software, offering novel features such as running it twice, cashout tournaments and a live re-player. Meanwhile PokerStars is more compatible with external software such as Table Ninja, where you simply select your limit and number of tables from a drop down menu and the program directs you instantly.

Full Tilt and PokerStars are closely matched, with neither side willing to give an inch away.

PokerStars pioneered the concept of an online series of poker championship with its WCOOP, and Full Tilt duly responded with its own version, the FTOPs. Full Tilt wins a lot of plaudits by offering players the adrenaline pumping experience of Rush Poker, however critics argue this ignores the more intricate, fundamental aspects of the game.

It also offers more glamorous software for players who are interested in poker as a pastime, or a 'gaming experience'. However, PokerStars offers a more diverse range of low buy-in tournaments, and for this reason it can be considered the most viable option for the casual player.

So sign up today at PokerStars and join the online poker fun.


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