Tony G has a great win recently in the Singapore BAPT. Here's an interview he did shortly after :-
Hi Tony, how are you and where are you at the moment? Still celebrating your win?
Iím good thanks. Iím currently in Australia just relaxing and preparing for the Aussie Millions in early January.
Congratulations on your BAPT win, how does it rank alongside your other career achievements?
I feel this is a huge win for me and itís certainly as important as the European Championship I won in 2005. I played what I considered to be the best poker of my life and felt whether I would win was never in question.
Indeed, you were incredibly confident going into the final table, and I hear you were even saying that you were going to win before the tournament began. Are you like that before every tournament you play?
I donít have quite the same confidence before every event, but for some reason this time I really felt I was going to win! After playing great in some of the side events in Singapore and I guess I just felt I was seeing the ball big.
It certainly looked like it! Your offer to donate half your winnings to local charities was indeed a tremendous gesture. Was it something youíd planned to do in advance or more a spur of the moment thing?
The day before I decided that if I won, Iíd do it. As I said at the time, I just wanted to show people that poker is indeed a sport, and winning matters so much more than just the money Ė itís all about the competition.
How strong do you feel the standard was? And what was your opinion of the Singaporean players?
The Singaporeans certainly showed they can match the Worldís best. There were a few players who you could tell were new to the game, but you get that wherever you play. As a whole the event was extremely well run, and it was certainly great value for me in every way!
You say on your blog that youíve never played in front of a crowd as big as the one in Singapore, what were your favourite memories of the event?
I just think the fact that everyone was so excited was amazing, and I was certainly amazed by the fact that people were paying entry fees to come and watch all week! As far as individual moments, obviously the moment my hand held up on the final hand was fantastic and one Iíll savour.
What do you think this Event will mean for Poker in Singapore and Asia in general?
I hope that poker will now be held in a different light to other forms of gambling, as I said after I won I believe it to be more of a sport, and I hope thatís the way itíll go over there.
The Singaporeans did seem to go mad for it! How do you see poker developing in the coming years, especially considering the situation in the USA?
I strongly believe poker will be considered to be more of a game of skill and will also become a huge sport all over the world. People that donít understand poker should not be allowed to regulate it. If they stopped people from playing basketball in America, would that make everyone stop? Of course not Ė it would just go underground.
On your blog, you often seem very open about your play and have posted hand histories explaining your reasons for certain plays youíve made. Arenít you worried that this might help your opponents Ďwork you outí?
To be honest I donít worry too much, as Iím always inside my opponents heads and feel that I can make the correct play no matter what they know about me.
Are you purely a tournament player, or do you dabble in cash games too?
I mainly play in cash games, tournaments are just a hobby for me.
And are you purely a Holdem player, or do you play other games too?
I love all variations and play pretty much all the games. Omaha Hi-lo and Pot Limit Omaha are my favourite games.
Other than the Aussie Millions, which other major events have you got on the horizon?
To be honest Iím not thinking about much else at the moment! One thing I hope will take off though is the ĎPPL Pro Leagueí which has been talked about. The top players in the world have been drafted into it, but itís unclear when and if that will start. I can only pray that it does.
How do your family feel about your lifestyle of travelling the world to play poker?
Itís certainly not easy, but Iím very lucky that my family is incredibly understanding and donít put any pressure on me in regards to my travels.
That must certainly help things become less stressful. Talking of stress, have you ever blown your whole bankroll?
Iíve been fortunate enough never to be in that position, but I had no bank roll when I started, and it was only $5,000 when I began playing seriously back in 1999.
Youíve certainly come a long way then! How much pre-tournament preparation do you go in for? Do you follow any kind of strict physical / mental regime?!
I just find the main thing is to be relaxed on the day, and the day before I do things that make me feel good.
Ok. Other than the big pairs, are there any hands that seem to be particularly lucky for you?
8-10 of diamonds has always seemed to be very lucky for me. I won the WPT bad boys of poker all in pre flop vs Mike the Mouths K-K and it has been a great hand for a long time.
Lol, I bet he wasnít happy! Youíre very well known for being a persistent trash talker. Did you mould your style on someone else? Or is there only one Tony G?!!
Nope, I am the real thing and the one and only original version.
I wonít mess with you then! When you blow up at the table, are we seeing the real Tony G?
Blow up? I donít get on tilt, but I put pressure on other players by behaving like I do Ė itís simply all about winning for me when I play.
A lotís been made of your shenanigans on YouTube, particularly the ones against Surinder Sunar and Ralph Perry. Were they personal attacks due to any Ďpreviousí between you and them, or was it merely just to gain an edge?
Itís nothing personal. As I say, I see my time at the table as my Ďpoker lifeí, which is different to real life. Life off the table is much more important than how they perceive me when I play. Itís just about winning and having an edge on those other players.
How much of an advantage do you feel your talking antics give you at the table? I guess itís all just to get that Ďtable captainí badge?
Itís absolutely huge, but Iím ready to adjust and if I donít need it I will not use it.
Of the Ďnameí pros, which do you feel are the best youíve played against?
For me, I think Ivey is a mile in front of the rest. No one else can compare.
And which do you think are overrated?
Most of us are overrated really Ė weíre only as good as the last result. I think I must probably be the most overrated player in the world Ė how could I start favourite to win the BAPT?
Well, I think that just goes to show the skill of the layers on the markets! You proved them right! Who would you say is your biggest nemesis?
Once again, so far Iíd have to say Ivey, but Iím sure Iíll get him soon.
Iím sure everyone would love a heads-up battle between yourself and Mike ďthe MouthĒ Matusow. Is there any chance of it the ever happening?!
It has happened and I crushed him several times before we got it heads up with even stacks for the WPT bad boys of poker title. I would crush him every time we played - I am way ahead of a player of his calibre.
Thatís an incredibly bold statement! How do you feel when your table banter blows up in your face? For example, when you told Singaporean eventual runner-up Ang to Ďbe a heroí and go all-in? (Ang did push, and Tony was forced to fold with nothing)
Its all part of the game - I couldnít call him whatever bet he made (I had 2-3) and was setting him up for a bluff later. It didnít matter what he did, I just wanted to control him and he did what I told him to do. Later that would come to hurt him - when I told him to call me later he didnít do it when he had the best hand. I had nothing, and it was the pot that pretty much put the result beyond doubt.
A very skilful play then! Has anyone else ever talked back to you and given you a rub down?
Many times, and I love it.
Do you ever feel you have to bite your lip at the table? As if thereís something youíd really like to say thatís just too offensive?! Or, as it seems, do we see everything thatís on your mind?!
Yes, I can make myself shut up, and I donít have to say things that are obvious. If itís to my advantage I can of course stay quiet for long periods.
Iím sure your opponents prefer it when that happens! Do you find it more difficult playing online, as you canít use your mouth to get you out of trouble?!
Online has been good to me so far, and of course I can still chat lots as well when I play online.
Online or offline then, has there ever been anything youíve wished youíd said, but hadnít?
No, I tend to get it all in!
Haha, and have you ever regretted anything youíve said?!
In the long run no I havenít but sometimes for a moment I sometimes wonder if Iíve gone too far. As a whole, I believe everything happens for a reason, so I never have any regrets in life.
Have you ever seen a fight break out at the poker table?
Yes, but fortunately never against me!
I think Iíd be scared to take you on! If you were stuck playing poker on a desert island, who would you want for company and why (other than a load of timid fish!)?
Ivey heads up for ever, just because it would be an amazing game.
Ali G, Warren G or Gina G. Who would you rather be for a day and why?!
Ali G - I reckon we might be related. I love the show the guy puts on.
Would you ever consider appearing on a reality TV show such as Celebrity Big Brother or Love Island?!
Everything is possible, Iím very open minded.
Iím sure the TV producers will be flocking to their phones! Thanks alot Tony.