Why Tough Talk?
At first it was simply a joke. My Philly dialect and mannerisms were pretty out of place. I seemed tough at first impression. But, the truth is I want to know who and how I can help. Sometimes, we help best with a push, a challenge and an uncomfortable reminder. We all need that voice to get us to the next level of our potential. I help with a little bit of “Tough Talk from Tony.”
“My goal is to help people improve themselves thereby achieving greater success, balance and fulfillment in their lives. Whether you are an entrepreneur, small business owner, author or speaker I can help teach you ways to transform your mindset and behaviors and in turn transform the structure, operations and results of your business”
“The last 35 years have been a learning process for me and I just want to share with others what I have learned because I know I can help them. I am a pay-it-forward kind of guy and I have been blessed to have the platform to help me pay forward my “education”.”
Born in June 1956 and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pa. I grew up in a large Italian family environment. At the age of 19 I was diagnosed with a disabling disease and was not expected to live past the age of 25. I guess this is where things started to change for me. I started doing things that maybe the average person might not have done. I got involved with working on the streets and experienced making large amounts of money illegally. I must admit, making fast money was exciting. The more money that I made the more excitement I experienced. The only problem was after a while I became greedy. We all know that once you become greedy the chances of getting in trouble greatly increase. You get caught up in your own headlines, so-to-speak, and you get sloppy in your daily actions.
Let me explain what took place…..
In the late seventies I was living and working the street from Philly to Atlantic City. It was awesome I went to Dealing School in Atlantic City to be a dealer and my plan was to get a job in the Casinos. This was a dream because I already had relatives living in Las Vegas and I figured I could move there and work in the casinos once I had some experience. Well, things never really go as planned especially when you are not living right and the same was true for me. Remember I mentioned getting greedy and being caught up in my own headlines (very common with people who are gamblers). I can’t really explain how fast the bottom fell out of my plans but I can explain that I went from making $10,000 a week to having to show up to court in Atlantic City. Once I went through the process of court (lucky to say I was found not guilty) and I got back home my father decided that it was time to send me to Las Vegas to get a new start in the casino business.
I landed in Vegas on a Super Bowl Sunday in 1980 with $400 dollars in my pocket and the hope of help from my relatives already living in Las Vegas. I can tell you that at the age of 24 it was very exciting to be living in Las Vegas. I stayed with one of my cousins for a few months until I got on my feet. I had cousins that worked in casinos as dealers and some in management positions. I had to start out downtown to learn how to deal all the games properly. As I worked my way up the strip and back downtown I learned how to deal every game in the casino. I worked 8 hours and played 8 hours every day. I had the time of my life. I could gamble with the best of them and I dealt poker to people like Gabe Kaplin, Tellie Savlis, and Red Fox, just name a few. I learned how to count cards, “clock” the roulette wheel, the best way to play craps and most important how to play poker.
In 1991 I was working for Lady Luck Casino and had the opportunity to go to Natchez, Mississippi to open up a dealing school. This was their first Riverboat in the South. The following year I was asked to go to Tunica, Mississippi to open another property for Lady Luck Casino. I stayed there for approximately 2 years as the director of casino operations (Casino Manager). In doing so I had the opportunity to teach all the games and help with all the training of the casino staff; it was then when I realized how all of my knowledge of the casino and games was able to be utilized. I returned back to Las Vegas in 1994 to work at the Imperial Palace Casino in the 21 and dice pits as a floor boss. In 1995 I opened a local casino called Barley’s, it was the first micro-brewery casino of its kind. I was the casino manager there until 1998. After all of this I was still getting caught up in my own headlines when it came to gambling. I would spend my days off playing poker around the clock in the casino. One day my wife, Wendy, explained to me that she and my son where moving to Houston with or without me. Well, needless to say, that got my attention; I knew one thing for sure, without my wife and family there would be no way I could survive. I rented a U-Haul truck and we were in Houston within the week. My casino days were over but the lessons that I learned would continue to help me almost every day. I decided to start writing different books and speeches on how to maximize your chances of winning when playing Texas Holdem as well as how lessons from gambling can be applied to just about every aspect of life and business.