Poker pro, betting pioneer, basketball coach, businessman; Australian poker pro Antanas “Tony G” Guoga can now add another entry onto his bulging resume: politician.
The Lithuanian-born gambler and poker player, who has spent much of his life in Oz but still has many connections in his homeland, was elected to the European Parliament on Sunday. Tony G’s Lithuanian Liberal Party bagged just over 16.5 percent of the vote in his country, meaning the player famous for his trash-talking at the tables will be swapping his seat at the biggest poker games in the world for a seat in power in Brussels.
Exchanging Poker for Politics
Speaking on his Twitter page, Guoga stated after the win:
“It’s definitely a historic moment for both Europe and Lithuania! Huge thanks to everyone who voted for me and to all those who supported!”
Under proportional representation, Lithuania will have 11 seats in the EU Parliament and will meet for the first time in July. The European Parliament is a directly elected parliament of the European Union. Currently it has 766 MEPs from across its 28 member states. As an MEP in the EU Parliament, Tony G will be able to vote on EU-wide laws on budgets, immigration, work and immigration.
The Baltic Betting Legend
Born in Kaunas, Lithuania in 1973, Tony G moved to Australia with his family at the age of 11, and was soon tearing up the tables at his local poker games.
It wasn’t until the poker boom of the early 2000s that his trademark loudmouth style and outrageous behaviour caught the attention of the poker-playing world when he came in third at the WPT Grand Prix de Paris. His performance at the final table – which included many memorable outbursts and constant haranguing of his opponents (“I’m going to rip you apart; you’ll never want to play poker against me again!”) – made him one of the superstars of the TV poker age.
He has gone on to win countless titles, reach WPT and WSOP final tables, and amass total poker winnings approaching $4.8 million (AUD$5.16 million). Tony sits in third place in the Australia all-time money list behind Jeffrey Rossiter and Joe Hachem.
Betting to Businessman
More recently, Guoga has moved into philanthropy and sports in his native Lithuania. He walked out with the Lithuanian Olympic team at the 2012 Olympics in London, and was one of the major sponsors of the national basketball team.
He also heads up gambling website TonyBet – set up in 2009 – which offers real-money sports betting and poker in Europe. From poker to betting and basketball to politics, Tony G’s election is just the latest in a long line of career changes.