Andy Bloch was born June 1, 1969 and grew up in Orange, Connecticut, a small suburb of New Haven. From a very young age and throughout high school, he was always playing card games with friends and family, and quickly learned how to win. Along his way to becoming a professional gambler and poker player, he managed to squeeze in two degrees in electrical engineering from MIT, and a Harvard law degree for good measure. Bloch’s academic inclination, and his close proximity to Foxwoods Casino, played very important roles in determining his destiny.
In 1993, Bloch used his intellectual skills to write computer programs to help determine a player’s strategic edge in a particular table game newly introduced at Foxwoods. His noted success at beating “Hickok 6-card Poker” (which forced the casino to first try changing the rules adversely and ultimately abandoning the game altogether) led Andy to his first real foray into professional gambling. By 1994, he was part of the infamous MIT blackjack team and subject of the book Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich, which chronicled that undertaking. His blackjack team experience was also featured in a DVD documentary called “The Hot Shoe”, and led to a TV appearance on the reality series “The Casino” in 2004. His investment and participation in the MIT venture paid for his law school tuition, and he somehow managed to be at school and in Las Vegas seemingly at the same time. His expert knowledge of blackjack is also shared in an instructional DVD called, “Beating Blackjack”. Despite the best efforts of higher learning institutions and “white-collar recruitment”, Bloch eventually chose gambling over the corporate world for which he is so aptly suited. After a few attempts to put his formal education to use by working various engineering and legal jobs, casinos are now his workplace and poker provides his income.
While 1992 was the year Andy had his first taste of (small buy-in) tournament poker, he didn’t get serious about it until a few years later. While achieving some success in his earliest events (he won the first No Limit tournament he ever played, a $100 buy-in), Bloch was soon boring of the lifestyle. However, his waning interest in tournaments suddenly skyrocketed with the overnight launching of the World Poker Tour. The allure of competing in this new televised poker spotlight rekindled his competitive juices. He had two 3rd place finishes in the first season (the 2002 Foxwoods World Poker Finals for $102,350, and the 2003 Commerce LA Poker Classic for $125,460) and decided right then to continue following the tournament circuit more closely. He now travels the world from tournament to tournament.
Bloch has won several million dollars playing poker tournaments. Besides his World Poker Tour final table appearances, other major accomplishments include a $1 million payday for his second place finish in the first $50,000 buy-in H.O.RS.E. tournament at the 2006 World Series of Poker and winning the Pro-Am Poker Equalizer tournament in Las Vegas. Andy has also made television appearances on NBC’s late-night “Poker After Dark” and “Heads Up Poker Championship.”
Not surprisingly (given his scholarly acumen), Bloch attributes his poker success to studying books and articles, reading and participating in Internet newsgroups (rec.gambling), using his intellectual skills to constantly analyze new situations, and delving into poker problems and discussions with fellow players. Poker was merely another arena to exercise his constant need to learn and conquer. His competitiveness and brains have made Andy a force to be reckoned with in a world of “finding the edge”.
Taking advantage of the poker boom, Andy joined forces with several other top professionals in helping to develop and represent the online poker site Full Tilt Poker. Bloch plays online exclusively at FullTiltPoker.com, a minimum of about 10 hours a week, usually making himself available to the low-limit players as well as participating in charity and promotional events on the site.
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