Anyone with a decent memory will remember a time when PartyPoker ruled to the roost in the world of online poker and the rise of PokerStars and Full Tilt was a mere figment of imagination. Then came the UIGEA, a bill that proved to have horrific consequences the company. Along with a large portion of the industry, PartyPoker immediately withdrew from the United States, their largest provider of player traffic. After many years rebuilding themselves in the European wilderness, Party appear to be back with a vengeance. Although the UIGEA still blocks their access to the America, they spent much of last year clearing the legal ground and, in recent months, have begun an aggressive campaign of acquisitions and signings.
Their latest move has been to capture the signature of powerful businessman, skilled poker pro, and renowned character, Tony G. As the owner of Poker News and TonyGPoker.com, the Lithuanian-born Aussie has crafted out his own sizable niche in the online poker industry. He has done all this while continuing to record the kind of tournament results that mark him out as one the world’s best players. Tony, born Antana Guoga, is now officially a member of Team Party and will commence his patch wearing duties in the Aussie Millions special $100,000 buy-in tournament. “I’ve always loved Party and what better way to kick off than at the Aussie Millions,” he said.
It hasn’t taken long for Tony to make his presence felt at PartyPoker, both on and off the felt. He is known for his abrasive table image, evidenced by his victory in the invitational WPT Bad Boys of Poker in 2006. Tony arrived at the $250/$500 Limit Hold ’em tables on PartyPoker before an official announcement had been made. He also picked up his keyboard and penned a typically forthright blog post, announcing that he wants, “to help PartyPoker become number one again!” Regarding his new employers, he commented that he had worked side-by-side with PartyPoker for a long time and was a big fan of their live tournaments.
Much of the blog post was dedicated to his fellow team members and his potential opponents in the upcoming PartyPoker.com Premier League of Poker IV. This popular televised series will be held next month in Las Vegas, featuring players likes of Phil Hellmuth, JC Tran, Yevgeniy Timoshenko, Luke ‘FullFlush’ Schwartz, and Roland De Wolfe. The shows are to be hosted by Party’s second most recent signing, Kara Scott. In his blog, Tony writes that he is, “looking forward to busting Hellmuth again,” and says of the divisive Luke Schwartz that he is, “rude, obnoxious and I cannot wait to bust him up.” He is less combative when it comes to describing his new Team Party colleagues. He refers to PartyPoker overlord Mike Sexton as,” the grandfather of online poker,” and, like any sane gentleman, is happy to be working alongside Kara Scott.
Details have also been released concerning the fate of TonyGPoker.com. Party reports that they have purchased all assets belonging to the site and that its players will be transferred over to Noble Poker. Tony will be playing online at PartyPoker.com under the screen-name ‘TonyG’. He has already made his debut in the high stakes cash games, but reports that he intends to, “play in both tournaments and cash games at all different levels.” Anyone who encounters him on the digital felt would do well to treat him with caution. In addition to his caustic wit, he is also a very fine player. Tony has 15 WSOP cashes and 2 WPT final tables. At the 2009 WSOP he recorded money finishes in some of the most challenging events, including the $40k Anniversary tournament, the $50k H.O.R.S.E. Championship and the pro-heavy $2.5k 2-7 Lowball – eventually won by none other than Mr. Phil Ivey.