TonyBet Poker has closed its doors one and for all but is yet to offer an official explanation for the same. Players haven’t been able to log in to TonyBet Poker since July ’20 and any attempts to access the site now divert to the operator’s casino and sportsbook. The site fronted by Tony G not only brings an end to 13 years of service, but the demise of another independent poker site.
In a time when online poker is on the rise, providers like TonyBet and other operators have seen their fair share of bad hands this year. Many of the smaller sites on the Microgaming Poker Network (MPN), including 32Red, vanished when it closed in May. Others, like Grosvenor Poker and OlyBet migrated to iPoker and the GGNetwork.
As an independent platform, TonyBet Poker did not have the bandwidth or the luxury of strength in numbers. At the time of its demise, it was ranked as the 55th most active site in the industry by PokerScout. Even when the site did not gain much traction, they remained active for almost 7 years. One of the only other sites to do what TonyBet did was the standalone platform, Unibet Poker. A deal with software provider Relax Gaming allowed Unibet to move away from MPN back in 2013. The vey next year, it launched a new poker site that focused more on casual players. A bank on tracking software followed, hence Unibet becoming a quick success.
Last year, it dealt its one billionth hand and early this year, revenue was up 18%. However, success stories like Unibet are few and far between.
TonyBet was one of those that had its absolute focus on its sportsbook than on poker, but it was never the one to lack vision. It was actually one of the first sites to offer Chinese poker. It was also one of the first few to offer Bitcoin deposits since 2016. Ever after Bitcoin gained value and witnessed a surge in 2017, TonyBet failed to see any traction on their site.
Yes, it’s an end of an era for another poker site, but the industry as a whole is flourishing with no end to sight. Covid-19 may have destroyed businesses and halted incomes for many, but online gaming has enjoyed a surge of activity in recent months. We can only hope there’s more such goodness to witness in the post-pandemic era.