I’ve become an advisor for a new project that I really believe is the future of poker. Here’s an interview I did with the people over at HSDB talking about www.CoinPoker.com and more.
HSDB: Tony, you have been a vocal supporter of blockchain and cryptocurrencies both in and out of the European Parliament, and now you’re backing coinpoker.com – do you believe that decentralized online poker could eclipse or even replace the traditional online poker rooms? or simply serve as an alternative to those players around the world who find themselves hamstrung by certain legislative interference?
TONY G: I sure do believe that this is the future, however, decentralized poker isn’t real, it’s just a concept which with today’s evolvment of technology is barely impossible. This being said, that’s the main reason I love the concept of CoinPoker. They offer a hybrid which they call a semi-decentralized system, where they will be able to give instant transactions, boardless games, shuffling transparency and a transparent fariplay programme. In the future, when conditions of blockchains are met ,they are going to look into becoming fully decentralized. I love their vision.
HSDB: Poker players, probably more than most, are somewhat familiar with digital currency and how it operates. However, there is no doubt that it is still a highly complex issue. As someone who has been actively promoting crypto and its manifold applications, what advice would you give to those who want to find out more about the space? What sources of information would you recommend to a complete newbie?
TONY G: Nowadays there’s so many Crypto related websites, videos and guides. I do not believe that this is complicated. It might have been so couple of years ago, but now everything becomes easier and easier every day. Simple ways to educate cryptocurrency is moving at great speed and I think things will get simpler and simpler by the month. Don’t get me wrong – i think things need to get simpler in educating cryptocurrency but we are moving in the right direction.
HSBD: A lot of our readers (myself included) will best remember you from your (often hilarious and outrageous) televised poker appearances in the mid-late 2000’s, and many of them probably don’t realise that by that time you were already a highly successful entrepreneur. Do you think any of the skills you have learned through business helped you in your poker career? After all, not too many “amateur” players achieved the level of poker success you did.
TONY G: Of course, I’ve built many businesses all over the world, even before I started to play poker at a high level. There are certainly parallels – sound judgement as well as psychological and analytical skills that translate great from poker to business and vice versa.
HSDB: Talking of which, you ‘officially’ retired from competitive poker back in 2014 after you had been elected to the European Parliament. However, we saw you at a couple of high roller events in 2017 in which you did rather well (finishing 1st and 2nd in a couple of 25k high rollers for a combined $700,000 score) as well as featuring in some big live televised cash games. Will we be seeing more of Tony G the poker player on TV in the future, or just more of Antanas Guoga the MEP, entrepreneur, and philanthropist?
TONY G: Poker is my passion, my game and my hobby. I love playing it, I love putting people to the test by stepping on the edge of them. I’ll always be there, it just won’t be my primary activity. The bike is in the shed but it can easily be removed checked over and made ready for action again! Ready to pounce!
HSDB: Staying with poker for the time being, you are friendly with Kings Casino owner Leon Tsoukernik, whose casino recently successfully hosted the WSOP Europe. Are you willing to give your take on the current ongoing situation between himself and Matt Kirk? Recently information from Rob Yong has suggested the situation was not quite as simple as it at first seemed to be?
TONY G: I am unable to comment in detail at the present time. In general though, I think they both have a lot in common and would enjoy playing each other.
HSDB: As a poker fan, I’m presuming you followed the WSOPE and know that Chris Ferguson won WSOP Player of the Year after making an impressive 22 cashes, including a bracelet and two top four finishes in $10k events – how do you feel about Chris having his banner displayed at the Rio throughout next year’s WSOP considering his part (whatever that may have been) in the Full Tilt scandal?
TONY G: What Chris did is a disgrace and in my opinion he should be excluded from the poker community, however I have to give him credit for also being a very good player. He had a run and now he’s Player of the Year – quite an achievement. Im sure he is always a big target at the table and adapted his game accordingly.
HSDB: Your list of achievements over the years and your current responsibilities are quite staggering, (MEP active on numerous assemblies, delegations, and committees; entrepreneur and investor active in many businesses around the world, CIO to the Mayor of Vilnius, entrepreneurship and education ambassador in Lithuania). That’s a hell of a full plate you have there, not to mention being a husband and father with young children. What drives you every day to keep on achieving?
TONY G: Life is for living – I love the buzz of making things happen. Imagine being someone like Phil Hellmuth who sits there basking on his past glories while the kids have him by the throat. You have to innovate. What drives me every day though is to make sure my friends and family are healthy and happy. Everyone’s a winner – especially my dogs Nordas and Muras!
HSDB: What are your political, business, and poker aspirations for the future?
TONY G: I’m open-minded at the moment but i really want to see crypto breaking through and changing the world. I was an early adopter and am convinced of the positive benefits blockchain can have on the world. As for poker – I never ever rule out a big, big comeback. The game has moved on but if you have the heart and commitment you can catch up in qualifying yourself!