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Poker Player Turned Politician Banned From Russia

Tony G Blacklisted By Russian President Vladimir Putin

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Lithuanian poker player Antanas “Tony G” Guoga, who is also a member of the European Parliament for his home country, has been banned from Russia.

He’s one of 12 European politicians blacklisted by Vladimir Putin, according to the center-right EPP Group. According to a statement from Guoga, he was banned for “speaking up for freedom and democracy.”

“What is my crime?” Guoga said. "Poker fans at large say it’s because of my famous victory against Ralph Perry. He played terrible and I sent him back to Russia. Since then I have been telling plenty of Russian players to get on their bikes. It seems like they have had enough. The truth is that I always respected and continue respecting Russian poker players and common Russian people. After winning the Russian Poker Championship in Moscow in 2007 I donated all my prize money of $250,000 to a Russian special needs orphanage.

“The more obvious reason for being blacklisted is speaking up for freedom and democracy, as my EPP Group in the European Parliament colleagues noted. That’s the price of politics and I’m ready to pay it. It’s a shame I wasn’t able to play in the recent partypoker Million event in Sochi.”

Guoga’s political career has taken a front seat in recent years. He hasn’t cashed in a major poker tournament since 2013. He has nearly $5 million in lifetime scores.

Here’s the video of the hearing in the European Parliament that likely led to Guoga’s ban.

 
 
Tags: Tony G,   Russia