Soccer chairman and former professional poker player beats odds again

  • Football chairman made $3.3 million from poker tournaments
  • From online bookmaker to boss of Premier League club

UK Soccer team, Brighton & Hove Albion’s chairman, owner and lifelong fan, Tony Bloom has seen one of his biggest gambles pay off, as Brighton won promotion from the Championship last weekend. The club is now set to enter the English Premier League, and stands to make up to $260 million from commercial and media agreements.

brighton hove chairman
Brighton & Hove Albion chairman, Tony Bloom knows a fair bit about beating the odds

Used to playing the odds

As a professional gambler and high-stakes poker champion, Bloom has long been playing the odds and winning. While a poker player, Bloom earned himself the nickname “The Lizard” for his coolness under pressure and cold-blooded calculations, winning $3.3 million in tournament prizes to date.

A maths graduate from Manchester University and former city trader, Bloom has also enjoyed business success.

His success as a professional gambler caused bookmaker Victor Chandler (now BetVictor), to recruit him to head up its Asian betting operation. There, he learnt the more complicated Asian handicap points system and famously won a big bet on France to win the 1998 World Cup. Like so much about Bloom, the exact amount remains a mystery.

Betting as business

In 2002, Bloom set up the online bookmaker PremierBet. This business was sold for $1.54 million to Interactive Gaming in 2005. The sales of two other online poker sites Bloom helped start, St. Minver and Tribeca Tables, were valued at up to $204 million overall.

Then, in 2006, Bloom set up Starlizard, a specialist betting consultancy company. The firm uses its own proprietary software to calculate the probable score for any football match using the Asian handicap system. High rollers then pay to access the odds which they use to place high-stake bets on the market.

Starlizard also manages Bloom’s invitation-only gambling syndicate, with estimated profits of $26 million to $128 million depending on the year’s wins and losses.

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