With the World Poker Tour Festa al Lago kicking off today, we decided to catch up with the newest name on the WPT's payroll and the host of the Raw Deal, Tony Dunst.
What made you decide to audition?
Most of all I thought it would just be an interesting and fun opportunity. I've always enjoyed discussing poker, travel, and interacting with people in the industry, so finding a way to get paid to do that while appearing on TV seems almost too good to be true.
Did you ever, at any point during the audition, think "I've got this in the bag" or "Oh man, this competition is fierce?"
Nah. I just told myself I'd go in, by myself, and speak my piece. I never met any of my other competition, so I really wasn't sure what I was up against.
Do you think you're going to make any enemies in the poker community?
I have no idea. I've been pretty good about avoiding it thus far and I feel like I don't have the temper to get into those kinds of things with people, but you really never know how people will react when you hit them with something really blunt.
Are there any players you're going to needle more than others?
Nope. I don't have it out for anyone in particular. I'm just going to watch the footage and aim to find relevant things to say to each broadcast.
Donald Trump has, "You're Fired," Survivor has "The tribe has spoken." Have you thought of your own unique catch phrase?
Seems like that's the type of thing that should happen spontaneously and not be premeditated.
Do you think that you're going to need an accent to be a successful judge a la Simon, the Dancing with the Stars dude, etc. You did spend a lot of time in Australia, so maybe you should go full Aussie.
My fake Australian accent is good enough to fool Americans, but real Aussies would never buy it for a second. I've certainly got a peculiar way of speaking and pronouncing things after all the time abroad, so I like to think I'm not completely without intonation.
You've always been on the player side of things, what do you think it will be like to be on the other side of the felt?
I think it will draw a lot more on my people skills than analytical abilities, though given the job requirements there will still be plenty of need for that. Still, many modern poker players learn the game online and that can be a detriment to their people skills and enthusiasm for socializing, which fortunately is not something I have a lack of interest in. I'm fascinated to see how people's reaction to me changes with the notoriety that will come with being more recognizable.
What happens if you make a donk move? Are you going to rag on yourself?
Hell yeah, I've been doing that in my blog for years.
Who's better looking in a suit you or Vince Van Patten?
I haven't gotten a look at his wardrobe up close yet, so the jury's still out.
When are you going to improve your back hand?
Never, but Lord knows I try.