Controversy is never far away from poker legend Tony Guoga: “Phil Hellmuth has something up his backside”

Tony Guoga opens his heart on what it takes to be a true table monster – and why he would never be the same player without his famous bite!

Ever wondered if the poker bad-boy image is all just an act for the cameras? Or is there more lurking behind the eyes of a trash-talking menace than what we are led to believe? Is it tactical or just a way of getting your face embedded in the heads of the millions watching behind screens?

‘On TV, People are just looking to invent a character for themselves, and the easiest character you can invent is the obnoxious fng wr!”

Ross Boatman on Tony Guoga – 2007

‘Phil Hellmuth has something up his backside. He thinks he’s a God; he thinks that on and off the table.’

Tony Guoga – February 2008

For most people, the perception of a poker player comes after seeing his behaving on the Internet or TV. Indeed, you can bet that however productive a day might be in the InsidePoker office, there’s always time to waste chuckling at endless footage of poker’s egotists spitting fumes on youtube. Whether it’s Phil Hellmuth giving it the big one about being outdrawn or Mike Matusow dropping F-Bombs, poker has quickly become a game where the personalities draw more action than the cards themselves. But should it really be that way?

In most cases, poker players behave badly because they want to – not because they have some evil streak built into them. The majority are humble souls from a world completely alien to the one they live in today. And, make no bones about it, poker can be tough; you can do everything right and still end up on the losing pile, garnering little or no recognition for your excellent play. It’s natural tempers will flare; I’m certainly no saint on the matter.

So, after meeting with InsidePoker’s cover star for our April issue, I wanted to get under the skin of the man with perhaps the sharpest tongue in the business, Antanas Guoga – more notoriously known as Tony G.

Before meeting Guoga, I had of course done my research: the famous Ralph Perry incident was played time after time while I cringed in horror at the snarling blast directed at Surinder Sunar during the Grand Prix de Paris in 2004. He even had the nerve to talk down to the ‘Don’ himself, Doyle Brunson.

But then there was the flip side of the coin: what was Tony Guoga like away from the table? What about the guy who donated his entire Moscow Millions winnings to charity in November of last year? Even his biggest rivals had nice things to say about him. ‘He’s nothing like that in real life,’ said Dave ‘Devilfish’ Ulliott. ‘Away from the table, he’s a mouse; hardly says a word to anyone.’

Intrigued? You should be. Make sure you read the April issue of IP to hear Tony’s views on how the art of table aggression really works. He’s also gets stuck into Phil Hellmuth a lot – which is always good value.

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