Online Poker News: TonyBet closes; PokerStars to host Mind Sports Olympiad poker; GVC faces HMRC investigation; More overlays at Stars and Party

In this column we deliver you the latest and most interesting online poker industry news from across the world and all platforms.

TonyBet poker room closes


After seven years in operation TonyBet closed the poker room on 20th July. The Chinese Poker-focused independent poker room has disappeared without a last hurrah while the casino and sports betting side of the business remain.

TonyBet Poker was built in 2013 as a division of the bookmaker TonyBet. Lithuanian poker legend Antanas ‘Tony G’ Guoga was the founder of the company but it was absorbed by the Betsson Group in 2016.

The poker site initially only offered Chinese Poker and added Hold’em and PLO in 2015, but it never really took off in a big way. Numbers had been fairly small from the start and despite there not being an official statement about the closure of the site, the assumption is simply that Betsson simply wants to focus its budgets and efforts more on the sports betting and casino side of the business. However, it is being speculated that maybe also these business units will soon follow to close.

So, last Monday TonyBet Poker dealt its final hand of poker before shutting its doors. If you had an active account with TonyBet you should be getting an email from them soon with details on how to withdraw your poker funds.

PokerStars will host the poker portion of the Mind Sports Olympiad

MSO Logo2

Like so many events the annual Mind Sports Olympiad (MSO) is being held online this year. Games such as Catan, Scrabble, Backgammon, Chess or Othello are going to be played out online throughout the whole month of August.

And among those mind sport games we can also find NLHE, PLO & 5-card Draw poker games for example. Seven poker events of different variants in total are going to be held in the play money section of the PokerStars client from 8th to 19th August.

Participants of the MSO can achieve Bronze, Silver or Gold medals just as in the real Olympics. They can become champions in their chosen game or overall champion, the ‘Pentamind’.

The registration is still open and you can have a chance to become a MSO poker Olympiad.

GVC faces HMRC investigation

Partypoker owner company GVC Holdings is under investigation by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) over “potential corporate offending” by one of its subsidiaries.

The UK tax authority is looking for wrongdoing within the business in regards of former operations and the processing of payments for online gambling in Turkey.

GVC said the announced expansion of the scope of the investigation had surprised the them and they were “disappointed” by the lack of clarity provided by HMRC as to what it was scrutinizing. It wasn’t publicized what exactly was being investigated so to avoid any kind of bribing. This is common practice.

“In the meantime, the company continues to co-operate fully with HMRC regarding the provision of information,” GVC stated.

More overlays at Stars and Party


While GGPoker and the Online WSOP is buckling under the pressure of high volume load PokerStars and partypoker continue to face overlays in their tournament series.

In last week’s Online Poker News we mentioned the overlays in PokerStars’ higher tier Stadium Series events adding up to around $200k. Unfortunately this trend is continuing not just on Stars, but also on rival poker site partypoker.

In fact, since our last report MOST Stadium Series events overlaid creating a total loss for the poker marketing budget of over $1.3 million for this series which is still ongoing. And if you think it’s because players are spending their dollars on partypoker, this is not true entirely as they were facing overlays of around half a million dollars themselves in their WPT events.

It looks like we can finally say that the poker hype during this strange time in 2020 is over. Players are tired, bankrolls are depleted and with an overload of offers we might have overwhelmed the poker community.

With so many different events and series to choose from we might also have simply achieved the ‘paradox of choice’ – too much offer freezes people in their decision-making and they rather go and choose something else instead. And with Corona restrictions easing and the summer luring us out into the sun and beer gardens we shall retire the 2020 poker boom and work together to build a stable ‘new normal’ in online poker.