For those who are familiar with the world of professional poker, Tony G will be a common name, and maybe even a common sight, but for those who are new to this wonderful game, and to OFC, he might not be that well known. Tony G is the owner of the TonyBet site, which is based in Lithuania and is proud to call itself the first OFC-dedicated poker site in the world, but this spirited and controversial character is also so much more than that.
Born Antanas Guoga, in Kaunas, Lithuania, Tony began played poker aged 18, by which time he had moved to Australia. Known as “The Mouth from Down Under”, Tony began to make a name for himself at the turn of the century when his talents at poker saw him run deep in many big events. At the 2004 World Series of Poker, Tony cashed in both Pot Limit Texas Hold’em and Seven Card Stud events, establishing himself as a versatile player, but also one that couldn’t keep his mouth shut.
Although not perceived to be as “bitter” or as “childish” as “The Poker Brat” Phil Helmuth, Tony’s mouth was just as active at the tables, and made him even more famous than his consistent play and his high-stake victories. During a particularly vocal event in 2006, one commentator declared that Tony G could, “single-handedly reignite the Cold War,” which was a sentiment that many of his opponents echoed. And his speeches were not just for those that had the nerve to beat him either, he also liked the needle the silent players, those that he beat and basically anyone who dared to sit at a table and play with him.
His celebrity helped him to appearance on televised events, such as The Big Game and Poker After Dark, both of which were high-stakes cash games, an area in which Tony excelled. As a top notch player, and successful businessman, Tony always had the bankroll behind him to fund these big tournament entries, and even though he continued to win more big tournaments, exceeding total tournament earnings of $4 million by 2011, Tony continued to flourish in the business world. In 2011 he established the Lithuanian Poker Federation and, much more recently, the TonyBet poker and sports book website.
Tony is favorite with players and fans all over. Those who know him have learned to treat him as harmless and to acknowledge his banter as nothing more than amusing and curious, but those who sit at a table with him for the first time tend to feel intimidated, and they have every right to do so. Tony understands the game of poker better than most and the fact that he is able to play and win most variants also shows that he is just as flexible as he is consistent.
Tony has since announced his retirement from professional poker, which will please a lot of player and displease a lot of fans, but he continues to be an advocate for the game. TonyBet is his new baby, and if you’re lucky then you might bump into him at one of the OFC tables and be on the receiving end of some of his world famous trash talk.