Poker Legend Tony G shares his story with us here at RTR

Tony G - The Mouth from Down Under

Hi Tony,

Thanks for taking the time to speak with us here at RakeTheRake.

1) Firstly, let’s start with what’s going on at present, what are you up to, how is 2011 treating you so far and what’s coming up for the next few weeks?

I am the Aussie Millions and have just busted out of the $100k – great they let me bring TJ the German Shepherd on to the set though – he tilted my opponents hard and made me feel really relaxed. Over the next few weeks I am sorting out Zasko’s visa problems and then heading to Europe for some serious poker. I am playing in the WPT Venice, Vienna and National Series in Paris for my sponsors PartyPoker.com.

2) Can you tell us how you fared in 2010? Did it meet your expectations?

My report card would read below average and not up to my expectations. That said, I didn’t actually play that much poker – the first half of 2011 provides me the first opportunity to concentrate solely on my game for a long time.

3) Did you set any specific goals or resolutions for 2011?

A WPT, WSOP Main Event title and to bring my dogs to as many tournaments as possible. To bust Hellmuth very hard and watch him exit Dancing With the Stars in the first week after having a sizeable wager on it.

4) We’ve been following your recent challenge against the now infamous Isildur1. Can you tell us about the match and how it went?

I offered to stake him in the PartyPoker.com Big Game in London last year – the condition was he would wear a mask. He pulled out the night before, something about a driving test so when his Superstar Challenge was launched I had to be one of the first people asked to play. He beat me fair and square, he is the better player but I have offered an extra $50k if he plays me on PartyPoker.com. I think any player should have the opportunity to play home and away.

5) Can you tell us your motivation for taking on Isildur1? Also, did you do any specific preparation first or do you approach a game like that just like you would any other?

I like to test myself against those that are deemed to be the very best. In honesty, I did very little preparation – actually none!

6) Looking back on the match and possibly looking forward to a rematch are you able to identify any areas that you can improve upon so as to win the next round should it happen?

I have definitely identified areas of my game that need improving ahead of another match but I am not going to give those secrets away!

7) Of course many young players are fascinated with the epic ups and downs of Isildur1 and would love to emanate him to some degree. Would you have any advice for players like this? How can a new low stakes player really take his game to the next level? What is it about Isildur1’s game do you think that sets him apart from the rest and gives the high stakes pros such difficulties?

I think that Viktor’s unpredictability and fearlessness is what sets him apart. The fact that he doesn’t seem to care at all about the stakes has contributed to his cult following. I would say this, however, how sustainable is this – we’ve all seen sensations explode on to the circuit but eventually their hyper aggressive game gets worked out.

8) You are also well known for playing in a lot of private high stakes cash games in Eastern Europe and Russia. Can you tell us about these? What stakes do you play there and who are the opponents? Also, how come other top high stakes players aren’t trying to get a seat in these games?

I say nothing! Simply because I want to play in these games and I don’t want all those other pros crawling all over them.

9) Can you share with us a favourite high stakes story that we might not have heard before?

I have been betting a lot on the cricket in the last couple of weeks. I think Roland de Wolfe may owe me enough to buy a nice house!

10) When you were coming up in the game did you think you would rise to become one of the toughest high stakes players? And even now, are there certain games you wouldn’t play or certain opponents you wouldn’t play against, or any who there is always a seat available for?

I will take on all comers and dip my head into any game. I am under no illusions though – there are a lot of people out there who are a lot better players than me. I am a businessman who also plays a lot of poker. Nobody in particular really strikes the fear into me.

11) Would it be fair to say that you have become a more amiable guy in recent years? It seems you still have a larger than life personality but have become more playful at the tables?

I have definitely chilled in recent years – I am spending a lot of time looking after my health. I still like to party a bit but take last night for example. It was a Saturday night and I was tucked up in bed before midnight as I was playing basketball this morning! I love basketball and Lithuania are one of the best countries in the world at the game!

12) Can you tell us about your recent retreat in New Zealand? Also, do you think it’s important to take stock of life like that in order to refocus and get back to your top levels of thinking and clear headedness?

Lee Nelson owns the Split Apple retreat on South Island – you exercise, eat the right things and breath in all that pure air. It is my special place. Before the Aussie Millions I took some Russian friends there – we played a bit of poker, drunk some fine wine. This place is paradise, it certainly isn’t cheap though. To me it is worth every penny.

13) Tell us about your new companion, your now famous dog 😉

Zasko my German Shepherd couldn’t be with me in Australia – he has some visa issues. He spends a lot of his time in New Zealand and Lithuania. Is mate TJ came along the ride for the 100K Aussie Millions event with me. I am talking to my sponsors PartyPoker.com about getting my dog officially sponsored.

14) If poker never existed what career direction would you have chosen instead?

I cannot envisage life without poker but I suppose I would have been a Forex Trader.

15) What actor would play you in the film of your life?

Jake from Two and a Half Men. (Now ain’t that the truth! Ed.)

16) Can you share with us another amusing story from the world of poker that we might not already have heard about?

Did you know that whenever I shout ‘Mariah Carey’ my dogs attack poker players that are stuck up and a bit into themselves?

17) What do you think are the keys to success both in poker and in life?

Keep it simple, look after your health, family and dogs.

18) If you could offer just one piece of advice for all players looking to improve their games what would it be?

Get Poker Training!

19) Can you tell us something about Tony G that nobody else knows?

I love my bike but I am not going to enter the Tour De France this year!

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