PokerNews Interview: Tony Dunst on the WPT, Online Poker, the WSOP and Women
The ninth season of the World Poker Tour is currently wrapping up with the last event, the $25,000 WPT World Championship at the Bellagio. Plenty of new things happened on the WPT this season and one of them was the addition of Tony Dunst to the hosting team. Dunst hosted the WPT’s newest television segment, The Raw Deal, and brought a younger, bolder look to the events, among other things. PokerNews sat down with Dunst to discuss how things went with him and the WPT, the upcoming World Series of Poker, his relationship with online poker, and women.
With the WPT's ninth season coming to a close, how successful did you feel it was and what did you think of your new role working with the WPT?
Feedback from my employers, the industry, friends and the Internet has been near entirely positive, so I'm feeling pretty good about how everything went. The WPT intends to continue the segment and my employment with them into the future seasons, so it seems things were successful enough.
Which stop on the WPT this season was your favorite and why?
The event at the Hard Rock near Fort Lauderdale, Florida. There was plenty to do on the property, weather was beautiful, cash games were soft, the tournament had a great turn out and there was never a lack of things to do around Florida. Can't wait to go back.
It's no secret that you were big into online poker. How has Black Friday affected you personally?
It f***ed me up real thoroughly. It near ruined me financially (and still might!), brought all the credibility I'd worked to establish with my friends and family outside the industry for seven years into question and deprived me of a freedom and option that had been available to me my entire adult life. The only upside is that I have more free time, but I might end up being so broke because of all this shit that I'll just have to spend it all rebuilding my roll.
You previously made your residence in Australia for quite some time. With no online poker in the United States, do you see yourself possibly relocating back or maybe to somewhere else outside of the States?
I wish. I wanted to be a real Australian more than Pinocchio wanted to be a real boy. I was unable to legally acquire permanent residency in Australia so there is no opportunity for me to return there for a long duration. Additionally, I love my job at the WPT and that requires that I stay located in the U.S., so I won't be going anywhere.
What are your plans for the 2011 WSOP? Which events will you be playing and how busy will your playing schedule be?
I'll be immensely busy during the WSOP. I have a long time live-only (redundant at this point isn't it?) backing deal that allows me a lot of flexibility with events that I play. I'll play all the small- to medium-sized no-limit events at the WSOP as well as some at the Venetian and Caesars and try to keep myself in action six or seven days a week.
What is some advice you have for those coming out for the Series this summer?
Never rely on taxis to get anywhere important or at a set time. If you know you're going to need a taxi on numerous occasions over the course of the summer, then make sure to have conversations with some of the driver's you take and get a card or number off the ones who seem sane and reliable. Call those guys directly instead of going through dispatch, which is highly unreliable. Once you build a relationship with a driver, he'll make sure either he or a friend of his can be at your place within 10-15 minutes, and they'll never flake on you.
Socially, assume all people you meet are guilty until proven innocent and will f**k you over given a good enough opportunity or reason (unless they are a reputable member of the poker community, in which case you should downgrade them from guilty to potentially-guilty). Vegas is full of scumbag hustlers on an angle in all kinds of absurd ways so you need to keep your eyes open. This goes for casino employees, cab drivers, people at the poker table or anyone who might have some way of getting money off you, be it seemingly legitimate or otherwise.
Register for events the night before if not earlier. Although the WSOP has made major progress in preventing huge lines the morning of an event, it's still not worth risking it, so just handle it before hand.
- Korean BBQ: Honey Pig in China Town or Kim Chi on Las Vegas Boulevard just past the Wynn, both open 24 hours
- Thai: Lotus of Siam in China Town
- Indian: Gaylord's inside the Rio is pretty sweet and depending on your food preferences, may be the best meal you can get within the Rio during dinner break
- Sushi: Naked Fish, a poker players favorite
We all know you're quite the ladies' man, so the following two questions are geared toward that. First, who's your favorite WPT Royal Flush girl of the bunch?
In matters of evaluating female beauty, I always find it best to think in terms of "and" as opposed to "or/which." Stay thirsty my friends.
Second, what's one tip you could give to poker players for picking up women during the summer at the WSOP?
If you would like a Vegas specific tip, it would be to avoid the clubs. It's not that you can't find plenty of available and willing girls there, it's that they're an expensive hassle created as a bullshit middleman in the process of meeting girls. Clubs in Vegas fight over girls and literally send armies of promoters out into the streets to try and talk them into coming to that club with a monetary reward for each girl the promoter gets on his list and they get paid double for hot girls, seriously. F**k all that garbage and side step the process by chatting up girls in all the other places they hang out all over Vegas: random bars, restaurants, the casino floor, casino/hotel hallways, sidewalks, shops, malls, etc.
A great thing to do is go out on Friday or Saturday night and chat up girls who are going out. They probably won't bail on their friends/plans for you immediately, but just grab their number and keep accumulating them over the course of the night. Stay in contact with the girls you meet through the night and some percent of them will either become available, ditch their friends, or fail to meet a guy in whatever club they went and then you're the most viable option. You can meet up with girls leaving the club at 2 to 4 a.m. that you've just been texting while opening up more and more possibilities and completely avoid having to step foot in those places and spend hours hoping the one girl you went out with is keen on you come nights end. Boo yah!
PokerNews will surely be looking out for Dunst in a few weeks when the WSOP is in full swing. Last year, Dunst cashed six times at the Series for a total of $199,962. One of those finishes was a 50th-place run in the WSOP Main Event, good for $168,556. We'll see if he can top all of that this year. It sounds like he's ready to.