Tony G’s Poker Journey: Loudmouth at the Tables and a Philanthropist at Heart
Image from PokerGO News
Some famous faces in the poker world are people of many talents. In the case of Antanas Guoga, Known as Tony G, he doesn't only dominate at the table but is also an accomplished man in the fields of business, politics, and philanthropy.
Tony G has had much success on the felt, where he is known for his verbal sparring with his opponents, with his rivalry with Phil Hellmuth in the big televised cash games becoming legendary.
In the last few years, Tony has been quite focused on his political career. He has served as the Public CIO to the Mayor of Vilnius in Lithuania and as a member of the European Parliament for the Liberal Movement between 2014 and 2019.
While his political career is an interesting one, I am going to focus on his poker prowess more, so keep reading and find out all about Tony G’s poker exploits.
Tony G’s Career Highlights
- Finished college as a finance and accounting major, but he was always interested in the game of poker. Launched PokerNews in 2002
- Entered the poker world in 2004, when he played at the WSOP. He placed second at the WPT Grand Prix de Paris that year and won $414,478
- In 2005 he placed 1st in the £5,000 Main Event at the European Poker Championships in London, taking home £260,000 (about $355,700)
- Founded the online poker and sports betting site TonyBet in 2009
- Won the World Lithuanian of the Year Prize in 2011
- Left poker to work in the European Parliament from 2014 to 2019
- Won his biggest live cash of $1,196,000 in August of 2021 at the $100,000 No-Limit Short Deck Hold’em event of the Super High Roller Bowl Europe
- Maintains many successful business ventures, such as BlockChain Centre Vilnius, Cypherpunk Holdings, and a life insurance company in Australia
- He has donated a big chunk of his earnings to various charities – even starting his own charity in 2014
Tony G’s Early Life and Career
Guoga was born in Kaunas, Lithuania, on December 17th, 1973, where he spent his early childhood. When he was just 11 years old, he and his family moved to Melbourne, Australia.
Even before his big move, he showed his smarts in his home country when he became the Rubik’s Cube champion of Lithuania. This was only a small foreshadowing of the smart player he’d later become.
In Australia, he worked various small jobs while attending school, such as repairing sewing machines and washing cars. He also really enjoyed playing chess and poker with his family during these formative years.
At the university, Guoga studied finance and accounting and worked as an assistant to Bill Buchanan, the chief of Australian Mortgage Brokers, for quite some time. After this position, he went on to work with a Hong Kong investment bank managed by Citibank.
He enjoyed playing poker from the age of 18 as a side gig and had already started to become known for his outlandish table talk and frequent attempts to intimidate his opponents.
It wasn’t until 2002, when Guoga created PokerNews.com, that he decided to step into the world of poker in a more serious fashion.
Tony G bought this clever domain for $6,000, hired a couple of programmers to establish the site, and then began publishing news articles about the poker world.
As of 2011, PokerNews offers native language sites in Germany, France, Netherlands, Italy, Russia, Poland, and many more countries.
At the same time, Guoga began winning his first money in live tournaments and really started to get his name out there.
It wasn’t until the 2004 World Series of Poker that the name ‘Tony G’ gained the global attention that he has now.
Tony G’s Professional Poker Career
Although Tony has never won a WSOP bracelet or another major title, he has cashed in over 20 WSOP events and earned quite a large amount of money for himself over the years.
Right off the bat in 2004, Tony finished in the money twice at the 2004 WSOP in Pot Limit Texas Hold’em and Seven-Card Stud tournaments.
Three months later, he finished second at the WPT Grand Prix de Paris 2004, where he lost the heads-up duel against Surinder Sunar – but earned a grand total of $414,478.
In 2005, Tony won the European Poker Championships No-Limit Hold’em Main Event, earning £260,000 ($456,822). Later that year, he made the final table of the World Speed Poker Open in London, placing 6th.
In 2006 he won the WPT Bad Boys of Poker II event, where he famously wore a kimono throughout the entire event to promote playing poker in Japan.
— Tony G (@TonyGuoga) November 29, 2021
Tony represented Australia in the Intercontinental Poker Championship of 2006, where he finished second and took home $150,000.
At this point in his professional poker career, Guoga’s snappy comments had earned him quite the reputation.
Commentators at events started saying that Tony G was “speaking more like a Lithuanian than an Australian” and that “Tony G could single-handedly reignite the Cold War.”
Guoga has also been quite charitable with his winnings, saying he takes inspiration from Barry Greenstein, who is known for donating all his poker tournament winnings to charity.
In 2006, Guoga won the Asian Poker Tour event held in Singapore, where he walked away with $451,700.
He gave half his earnings to Australian and Asian charities that were nominated by Betfair.
Additionally, in November of 2006, he won a tournament in Moscow where he earned $205,000 – leaving all of his prize money with the officials to give to Russian orphanages.
For the years to follow, the Lithuanian millionaire had steady poker wins. In 2009 he placed 3rd at the €25,000 + 500 No-Limit Hold'em – European High Roller Championship of the EPT in Monte Carlo, earning $552,239 in the process.
At the 2012 Aussie Millions Poker Championship in Melbourne, he placed 4th at the $100,000 Challenge for $249,133.
In 2014, Guoga confirmed that he would not be returning to professional poker as he was named a member of the European Parliament from 2014 to 2019.
He occasionally played high-stakes cash games, but in 2019 started to make reappearance where fans were able to enjoy his antics at the tables again. He played the partypoker MILLIONS series, along with the Super High Roller Bowl Bahamas.
In Guoga’s home country of Lithuania, he was seen playing epic cash games at Casino Olympic Vilnius with poker superstars such as Phil Ivey, Paul Phua, Danny Tang, and Tom Dawn. Tony accredits Phua as one of the players who made him fall back in love with poker again.
Only a few months ago, in August of 2021, Tony placed first at the $100,000 No-Limit Short Deck Hold'em event of the Super High Roller Bowl Europe, winning a whopping $1,196,000.
With this win, the Lithuanian proved that his career wasn’t over and that we would definitely be seeing more of him in the future.
Tony G’s Net Worth
Since Guoga has been very well known in the poker world for more than a decade now, naturally, people are curious as to what his net worth is.
Along with being good at the game, the Lithuanian millionaire is a very successful entrepreneur, and his website PokerNews creates a lot of income for him as it's one of the most widely used online poker news sites today.
Tony’s total live earnings from poker amount to a whopping $8,823,531, with his best live cash coming from his win just two months ago at the 2021 $100,000 No-Limit Short Deck Hold'em event of the Super High Roller Bowl Europe, where he placed first and won $1,196,000.
Additionally, one can only assume that Guoga has a number of different assets like houses, for example, as he is a businessman after all and knows how to use his money wisely.
Thanks to Tony’s career in the European Parliament, we are able to get an estimate of what his net worth is because he had to submit financial disclosures prior to the election.
In 2014, he declared his assets to be about $36 million in total. I would assume that now in 2021, he has a net worth of about $50 million, although that is hardly something I can claim with certainty.
What is Tony G Up to Today?
Guoga’s professional life has been primarily focused on politics over the past seven years, something which he really enjoys being a part of. He has been quite content in his personal life as well.
In 2014 he married Aistė Šlapokaitė at a lavish wedding in Vilnius, Lithuania.
Aistė currently works as a photo model for brands such as Prada, Max Mara, Armani Jeans, and more. Their wedding was attended by many poker superstars, such as Tony’s long-time friend Warren Lush.
Šlapokaitė and Guoga share their home with their two sons, along with a son and two daughters from one of Tony’s previous relationships. Their first son Herkus was born in 2015, and their second, Tauras, was born in 2016.
Pokernews.com isn't Tony's only business venture – in 2009, he created the TonyBet brand, an international betting company that operated with the UK and Estonian gaming licenses. In 2011, Tony won the World Lithuanian of the Year prize.
In 2016 the Swedish company Betsson acquired TonyBet for €6,000,000 (about $6,934,770). TonyBet shut down operations in 2020, but the Lithuanian millionaire still made a great amount of money from it.
In 2017 Guoga created the organization BlockChain Centre Vilnius, which features co-working spaces and event space.
Their goal is to provide technical, legal, and financial advisory services to help blockchain start-ups reach their business goals.
LinkedIn describes the organization as “the first blockchain technology center connecting key stakeholders in Asia and Europe.“
Tony currently serves as the CEO of Cypherpunk Holdings, an organization based in Canada that invests in cryptocurrencies and companies with private technology businesses or assets.
In addition to these ventures, Tony G also owns a life insurance company in Australia called Rate Detective and a trading business in London. The intelligent businessman has invested a large amount of his money in real estate as well.
From a young age, Guoga has loved basketball and has managed to incorporate it into his adult life. He is heavily involved in promoting sports in Lithuania, particularly as one of the most significant sponsors of the Lithuanian Basketball Federation.
They played in the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Turkey thanks to Tony’s €500,000 donation that paid for the team’s application fee.
The team went home with a bronze medal and repped jerseys’ with TonyBet written on them.
In 2014 he expanded his ventures in Lithuanian sports by becoming the vice president of the Lithuanian Rowing Federation.
Guoga doesn’t only use his money to support sports teams, but he has also played in many charity poker events and often contributes significant portions of his winnings to charity organizations and trusts.
In 2016 he won €109,000 playing in Celebrity Cash Kings, and he donated all of that to Vilnius University and two other Lithuanian charity organizations.
In 2014, Tony G established his own fund and donated all his money earned from the European Parliament to the charity.
He was the only Lithuanian and the only member of the European Parliament to be included in the top 200 list of Philanthropists and Social Entrepreneurs (compiled by Richtopia).
Next to all of Tony’s successes, his social media platforms all show us how dedicated he is to being a great father and husband.
We are sailing ⛵️ pic.twitter.com/AoMErLMWJI
— Tony G (@TonyGuoga) December 4, 2021
Tony often posts silly pictures with his family, and they travel quite often. His Instagram and Twitter also feature pictures of him recently playing Texas Hold’em live on PokerGo – indicating that fans will be able to follow his antics for many more years to come.