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Full Tilt and PokerStars Battle it Out Over High Stakes Poker

17 December 2010 by admin

The next installment of High Stakes Poker may not be as thrilling or as enticing as previous seasons of the popular poker show. As of right now Full Tilt and PokerStars are fighting over the upcoming season and who is going to be allowed to play.

To make sense of this battle we need to have a tiny history lesson first. For the last several years Full Tilt was the primary sponsor. And back in the day players did not wear logos to show—and advertise—their sponsor. But for this upcoming season of High Stakes Poker PokerStars has snuck in and swiped the primary sponsorship rights out from under Full Tilt as well as also purchasing the rights to all of previous High Stakes Poker seasons. And you can bet that Full Tilt is not happy.

Recently on the twoplustwo poker forum, Barry Greenstein, recent inductee to the Poker Hall of Fame and a member of the PokerStars pro team, commented on the fight over High Stakes Poker: “Full Tilt as two major concerns. First is they do not like their players playing when PokerStars is the sponsor of the show. (I assume Full Tilt can buy ad time but I did not check this out with GSN or PokerStars.) Secondly, they [Full Tilt] were unhappy that PokerStars bought the HSP archives. In the early seasons of HSP, the players did not wear logos, so FTP is concerned that viewers will be able to go to and see the FTP players without logos and be confused by their affiliation.”

In short, Full Tilt is unhappy that they are not the primary sponsor for this season, and they are also more than a little miffed that uninformed viewers will see footage from previous seasons of High Stakes Poker—when the players did not wear logos—and assume that Full Tilt players are actually affiliated with PokerStars. After all in the old footage no one is wearing logos so what is to stop uninformed viewers from assuming that those players are not affiliated with PokerStars since PokerStars is the primary sponsor this season.

I can understand Full Tilt’s upset. I would not want my big name players being thought to be affiliated with my competitor. And with that in mind, Full Tilt is talking that they may not let some of their biggest names play in this season of High Stakes Poker. Should that happen, viewers will not be watching poker greats such as Phil Ivey, Gus Hansen, Chris Ferguson, Patrik Antonius and more play this season.

While I can understand Full Tilt’s concern, I really feel for the players that would miss the chance to play in a game they enjoy; and I would feel for the viewers who are hoping to see their favorite players take to the poker tables again in the intense games of High Stakes Poker. Now all that remains is to see how Full Tilt and PokerStars will settle their dispute. And settle it they must as filming for this season’s High Stakes Poker begins this month.

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