Poker Room Reviews > TonyBet Poker Room Review
Date: November 11, 2018
- UK and Estonian License
- Offers multi-tabling support
- Only online poker room to feature Chinese Poker and Open Face Chinese Poker
- No Instant Play/Browser Play support
- US players not allowed
While it was established back in 2009, the TonyBet brand actually dates back earlier to 2003. It was during this time that the OmniBet brand started its operations and grew to become a formidable sports betting platform. Six years after the start of its operations though, Lithuanian poker professional and businessman Antanas “Tony G” Guoga acquired the brand. After the acquisition, Guoga then moved to rebrand the sportsbook to its present name. The brand again got acquired in September of 2016 when Betsson (a Swedish company) purchased the company for €6 million. Though Tony G has since moved on to other endeavors he still is considered the face of the brand.
Despite Tony G being well known as a professional poker player, it took the TonyBet brand until 2013 to come up with its own poker room. With that said, the brand did manage to distinguish its poker room from the competition. Aside from just offering popular poker variations like NL Holdem and PL Omaha, the poker room also had a section that featured Chinese and Open-Face Chinese poker variants. As of this writing, there are yet to be other brands/poker rooms that offer these online.
Other than being the only poker room to prominently feature Chinese and OFC poker, TonyBet was also the first to host and promote the World Championship of OFC. This tournament series started out in 2014, a year after the brand debuted its poker room, and continued for a couple years. The last OFC Poker World Championship was scheduled for December of 2017, but our research brought up nothing pertaining to the results of the said event. Cursory searches on Google will only bring up the results for the 2014 and 2015 events.
The 2014 TonyBet OFC Poker World Championship was notable particularly because of the €218,500 prize pool generated by its €10,000 buy-in High Roller event. Additionally, the €1,000 Main Event of the World Championship also managed to gather 135 entries (which was the largest at that time).
Players who aren’t too concerned about the TonyBet OFC Poker Championship can still opt to compete at OFC and plenty of other poker variants in the comfort of their own homes thanks to the numerous online tournaments the poker room offers. If they’re relatively new to the poker room and want to get a feel for the competition first, then players would do well to try out tournaments like the €5 Guaranteed Jasper which has a €.75 buy-in and is available multiple times a day. For players who want to try out the poker room but don’t want to spend real money yet, there are Freebuy play money tournaments which feature €25 guaranteed prizes that anyone can join for free.
Once they’ve gotten more comfortable with the poker room, players can then proceed to tournaments that have higher stakes. Tiger Eye is a tournament series that features €120 guaranteed prizes with €4 buy-ins. For €8, players can buy into Sturquoise Pot Limit Omaha tournament, which has a guaranteed prize of €200. Players who want to join a tournament with an even higher guaranteed prize can opt for the €350 Peridot for a €15 buy-in. Other tournaments that players can also check out include Lava Rock (€150 guaranteed, €16 buy-in), Moonstone (€100 guaranteed, €2 buy-in), Malachite (€200 guaranteed, €8 buy-in), and many more.
TonyBet Poker also offers Sit & Go tournaments (Turbo Heads-Up, Super Turbo 6-Max, Turbo 6-Max, 6-Max, and Heads-Up) for players who prefer faster games. Much like the regular tournaments, these SNG tournaments have different buy-ins and prizes. The buy-ins typically range from €1 to as much as €50. Depending on the buy-in and the type tournament, players will be competing for prizes ranging from €1 all the way up to €95.
On its OFC section, TonyBet Poker has Chinese and Open Face Poker online tournaments available. The section has daily freebuys with €20 guaranteed prizes, one re-buy and one add-on (1r1A) tournaments, as well as Freezeout tournaments with anywhere between €100-€250 in guaranteed prizes. Daily 1r1As have €3 buy-ins while Freezeouts will require players to fork out €10. Other than these, the section has Daily Rebuy Turbos that typically feature €1 buy-ins with guaranteed prizes of €40. Similar to the regular poker section, TonyBet Poker’s OFC also has Specials and Sit & Go tournaments.
Sponsored Poker Pros
Though it has promoted a live tournament series, TonyBet doesn’t seem to have a team of poker professionals or even an individual in its active employ to represent it. Some people would argue that Tony G fits the poker professional description, but he’s far more involved in politics these days, only playing poker occasionally and recreationally. More than representing the brand though, Tony G was the brand himself. With that said, for a time (from 2010 to 2017), the brand sponsored the Lithuanian national team as well as some Lithuanian and Estonian basketball clubs, which in a way was an “extension” of the Tony G. brand, as he hails from Lithuania and is Vice President of the country’s Basketball Federation.
TonyBet Poker has a Starter Bonus that players can take advantage of if they want more value for their initial deposits. Provided it’s their first time depositing on the site, players can make use of this promotion to get a 100% match offer that can go as high as €2,000. It should be noted though that players aren’t going to get the whole bonus amount right away. Instead, the online poker room will give the bonus out in €10 increments. For the site to release an increment, players will need to have generated four times the bonus increment amount in rake.
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Players should find it relatively easy to access TonyBet Poker. The poker room has a dedicated software client that players can download and install on their desktops/laptops running Mac or Windows. If they prefer to access the poker room on the go, players can opt to download the TonyBet Poker apps for Android and iOS on Google Play and the App Store, respectively.
As with a lot of online casino and poker room brands targeted at the European market, TonyBet Poker has two licenses to operate. The first of these is a license issued and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission that covers the brand’s operations in the UK market. To provide its services to players outside of the UK (Europe and the rest of the world), the TonyBet Poker also holds a license to operate issued by the Estonian Tax and Customs Board. It should be noted, however, that there are still countries that the brand won’t service (e.g., USA).
As mentioned earlier in this review, before it became known as TonyBet, the brand started out as OmniBet, a sportsbook and online casino, and was established in 2003. Sometime in 2009, the OmniBet brand was acquired by Antanas “Tony G” Guoga who then rebranded it to TonyBet. At that point, Guoga was years into a successful professional poker career and was also the owner of several poker-related sites such as pokernews.com and pokeraffiliateworld.com. Initially offering only sports betting and online casino services, the brand soon expanded to offer live betting services on poker games as well. By 2013, the brand eventually rolled out its own poker room. Unlike most poker rooms though, the brand opted to include Chinese Poker and Open Face Chinese Poker in its offerings. In fact, the poker room’s main selling point that it was the first to offer these variants (which were popular in countries like Finland and Russia). A year after its debut, the brand started the First World Championship of Open Face Poker, a series that saw Jennifer Shahade winning the inaugural High Roller Event and Mikal Blomlie coming up victorious in the Main Event.
Sweden-based company Betsson eventually acquired the brand on September 8, 2016. Unlike the acquisition of OmniBet though, Betsson has not moved to change the TonyBet brand. As for Tony G, it would seem that he has distanced himself from the brand and is focusing more on his career in politics. With that said, the former poker pro is still visible on the brand’s ‘About’ pages and this will likely be the case until Betsson decides on a rebrand (which seems unlikely, but is still possible).
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Does TonyBet Poker take US players?
Answer: While TonyBet Poker might have a more relaxed policy when it comes to accepting players all over the world, it still draws the line against accepting players from the United States.
Question: Does the software allow for playing at multiple tables at once?
Answer: The TonyBet Poker software offers multi-tabling support for players who want to attempt to get as many hands in as possible during their sessions. Players are given the option to cascade their open tables and organize them in whichever way they want.
Question: Is there a VIP & Loyalty rewards program for frequent players?
Answer: To help frequent players get more value for their deposits and gameplay, TonyBet Poker re-instituted its Grinderz League program. This is essentially a leaderboard that rewards the most active of players. To get the most of this, players will need to gather up points by joining cash games, Sit & Gos, MTTs, and other tournaments. The rake and fees that players accumulate will then be the basis for the poker room’s calculation of their points. Players who want to get the most out of the loyalty program would do well to diversify the tournaments/games they enter. If they manage to get to the top 20 on the weekly leaderboards then players will be given an equal share of a €50 prize pool. In addition to this, the poker room will also reward the top 20 players at the end of the month with shares of an even bigger €3,000 prize pool.
Question: What are the wagering requirements of the signup bonus?
Answer: TonyBet Poker’s starter bonus is arguably one of the simplest in terms of wagering requirements. Similar to a lot of its competitors, the poker room will only release players’ bonuses in increments of €10. This increment will not change regardless of the bonus amount availed by the player. In order for these increments to be credited to their accounts, players will need to make sure that they generate four times the bonus amount (€40) in rake and fees. It should be noted though that the poker room would only count rakes and fees generated in real money games, excluding satellite tournaments. Additionally, players are only given 60 days to work through the whole bonus amount. Any pending bonus that goes unclaimed after the 60 days will be voided. Unlike online casino bonuses, players can readily withdraw from their accounts even if they still have unclaimed bonuses.
Question: Can I wager my welcome bonus on casino games or on the sportsbook?
Answer: Poker room players won’t be able to use their welcome bonus on TonyBet’s online casino and sportsbook sections (and vice versa). This is understandable considering the terms of the welcome bonuses on each of these sections are quite different. Unlike the sportsbook or online casino section’s, the poker room’s welcome bonus isn’t automatically given to the player. As explained earlier, players will need to generate a certain amount of rake before the poker room releases an increment of their bonus to their accounts. In contrast, the online casino and sportsbook sections give players their welcome bonuses immediately.