He’s had one of the more impressive runs in the world of poker. He’s also been able to make an impact on the international politics stage. But, after several years away from the game, is Antanas ‘Tony G’ Guoga looking to return to the poker world on a full-time basis?
End of His Political Career Could Signal Change
According to casino journalist Rose Varrelli in Australia, the end of Guoga’s time in the European Parliament might be signaling a change in course for the poker provocateur. In 2016, Guoga ran for and was elected to a seat in the European Parliament, the legislative body for the European Union. After three years on that esteemed board, Guoga lost in a reelection bid but was able to run for and win a seat in the Lithuanian Parliament (Guoga has dual Lithuanian/Australian citizenship as he was born in Lithuania and moved at the age of 11 to Australia). The poker professional has been apparently thinking of his place in both politics and poker since taking the Lithuanian Parliament seat.
In mid-January Guoga, allegedly citing his lack of influence on politics in the body, resigned his Parliament seat. Other information coming out, however, indicated he was not pleased with the direction of the Labor Party leadership in the Lithuanian Parliament. This dissatisfaction came out after several comments from the party’s chairman, Viktor Uspaskich, on several hot button issues.
Guoga made it official in a Tweet to his followers:
Yesterday, I decided to resign from the Lithuanian Parliament for a number of important reasons – I don’t think I can exact the change desperately needed in national politics. I now focus on business – maybe I may have some more time to play some poker! 🚴 https://t.co/QhrEJ8rtWL— Antanas Guoga (@TonyGuoga) January 13, 2021
Could Guoga Adapt to Today’s Game?
There are some in the poker world that would say that the game has changed since Guoga once was a part of it. Even though he has been a part of the political spectrum for several years, Guoga hasn’t completely dropped playing the game. In fact, some of his biggest on the felt success has come over the last few years.
2019 was the biggest earnings year of his career, taking down more than $1.1 million in earnings from tournaments primarily in Europe. Guoga won the partypoker MILLIONS Short Deck High Roller tournament in August 2019, earning him $265,859 for his efforts, but that was just a warmup. In Rozvadov at the Super High Roller event (€250,000) for the World Series of Poker Europe, Guoga took down fourth place for the biggest payday of his career, more than $880,000 (U. S.).
The fingerprints of Guoga on the world of poker are all over the place. He was the founder of PokerNews back in the early Aughts (before selling the operation to The Stars Group in the late 2010s), which arguably ushered in the age of online poker news operations. But it was his play on the tables – and his aggressive, combative nature – that drew people to the character ‘Tony G.’
He would be a part of several verbal sparring matches when he was at his peak on the tables. One in particular was a particularly tense verbal barrage with Russia’s Ralph Perry during the International Poker Championships. It was this battle where Guoga’s catchphrase “On yer bike!” (used to summarily dismiss Perry from the table) came into the lexicon.
The question would be is whether the game has passed Guoga by or not. Although his success in 2019 was the best of his career, it was in “high roller” tournaments, not in normal Main Event battles with larger fields. There’s also the factor that Guoga, much like many other poker players, has basically had to sit on the sidelines in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic. How much ‘Tony G’ might be able to add to his $7 million-plus career earnings in a “new age” of poker play is unknown, but his personality would be a change in the current state of the game.