Tony G Elected to European Parliament
A man once said, “I am looking forward to smashing Hellmuth in the Premier League – I am going to call the clock on him, I will destroy him – I am drooling already – I hope he doesn’t pull out when he knows I am waiting for him with a big knife and fork.”
That man, professional poker player Antanas “Tony G” Guoga, was elected to the European Parliament this week, where he will serve a five-year term representing Lithuania. Guoga is a declared member of the Liberal Movement (LS) party, which received 16.5 percent of the vote and will send one other member to Parliament along with Guoga.
According to its website, the Liberal Movement party has three primary goals:
…fair-minded Lithuania, educated Lithuania and wealthy Lithuania. Our supreme value is a dignified person – all state system must serve him. Person’s dignity and welfare will be ensured by high standards of living, as well as by freedom of creativity and civil initiatives.
Tony G announced he would be running for office in October 2013 when he posted on his blog:
I have packed up the bike and I am going to EU parliament in Brussels to change Lithuania. I made second in the list as a candidate for the Liberal Party and am really happy. This result leaves me well positioned for next year. The Liberal Party has set a goal during the European parliamentary election to fight hard for two seats. Currently, the Liberal Movement in the European Parliament has one representative so there is a lot of hard work ahead of me.
I believe that Lithuanian politics needs new people and new blood and I want to be in a position to change policy and I qualify as “new blood.”
Of course, Guoga’s goal was released, as the Liberal Movement party increased the number of seats it won by one from 2009, guaranteeing his victory.
After the election results were tallied, Guoga made his announcement on his Facebook page, saying, “Today we made history in Lithuanian politics – for the first time Liberals have won two seats in the European Parliament. My sincere thanks go to all the voters, those who supported and helped me along the way!”
Tony G is an extremely accomplished poker player with nearly $5 million in live tournament earnings, according to TheHendonMob.com. His top cash came in 2009 when he made $552,239 for finishing third in the European High Roller Championship at the European Poker Tour (EPT) Grand Final in Monte Carlo. He has eight career World Poker Tour (WPT) cashes, including a victory in the made-for-TV Bad Boys of Poker II in 2006. He also has 17 World Series of Poker (WSOP) cashes and though he has made more than one final table, he does not have a bracelet.
Perhaps more than his poker prowess, though, Tony G has always been known for his mouth at the table. Never one to bite his tongue, he has always seemed to revel in his ability to trash talk and get under his opponents’ skin. As one might have noticed from the quote at the top of this article, he especially enjoys needling Phil Hellmuth.
One would hope he will tone down his act when on the political stage, though you never know. Shortly after announcing his candidacy, he made a lengthy Facebook post, starting with the recollection of when he berated “pseudo Russian Ralph Perry” during an episode of the televised Intercontinental Poker Championships in 2005. Gabe Kaplan, who was providing commentary for the broadcast, joked that Tony G was trying to reignite the Cold War. Tony G was doing his thing, making for entertaining television.
But the rest of his Facebook post in October was odd, as he linked that blowup to Russian political action against Lithuania in October:
I’m not sure what Ralph has been doing but after it was announced that I would be a candidate for the Liberal Party in Lithuania for the European Elections next year a trade dispute broke out between Lithuania and Russia. In short there has been a Russian blockade of Lithuanian exports – nothing was getting sent back to Russia. I am going through a popularity recession and it really seemed that some silly poker video had a negative influence on sensitive foreign relations.
The forecast is better now as this all got sorted out the next day. That said, I got my first experience of a political crisis and I am only a candidate at this stage! Do you think Ralph was responsible?
I think that Lithuanian politics needs new people and new blood and I want to change policy. What I need to show better though is that I have changed myself too. Everybody has a past but we need to look at a bright new future – the future’s bright – the future is Liberal orange.
Now, Guoga could very well have been joking here, but he comes across as quite serious. Either he has an extremely skewed opinion of his clout or he has trouble expressing humor through the computer.
It should be interesting to see how Tony G’s new career goes. Hopefully he will represent his country well.