Andy Bloch - Professional Poker Player and Former Member of the MIT Blackjack team
Andy Bloch, otherwise known as "The Rock," is one of the most intelligent players you will ever meet. Having degrees from both a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering and a Juridical Degree from Harvard Law School, Bloch probably could have gotten any job he wanted, but he chose to take a much different career path instead.
His career in the gambling world started when he was a member of the MIT Blackjack team, but as he got older his interest moved towards poker. He has won over $4 million throughout the course of his poker career so far and he's the proud owner of a prestigious WSOP gold bracelet.
Andrew Bloch was born June 1st, 1969 in New Haven, Connecticut. As a young child and throughout high school, he was always playing different card games with his friends and family.
While attending school at MIT, Bloch got recruited to be a part of the MIT Blackjack Team. By using the process of card-counting, Bloch and his other team members were able to win millions of dollar from the casinos of Las Vegas. Bloch claims to have won over $100,000 in a single session.
After the hype of the MIT Blackjack teams started to fade out, Bloch started working full-time for a small electrical company in Westchester County, NY. A couple years later, he had a huge debacle with his boss, causing him to lose his first job.
Due to his temporary unemployment status, Bloch was able to spend more time at the Foxwoods casino, where he discovered a new version of poker called, "Hickok 6-card." He was able to develop an advanced strategy for the game that gave him a 6% edge over the house. Despite this huge advantage and his tendency to win more games than he lost, the payouts for this variation of poker were never substantial.
Journey to becoming a Professional Poker Player
Bloch knew that in order to make a significant amount of money in poker, he would have to start playing a more popular version, so he took a huge risk and entered a $100 buy-in No- Limit Texas Hold'em tournament. Despite never having played that version of poker before, he took first place, showing his natural talent.
Bloch was still hesitant about relying on poker as his career, so he chose to further his education and enroll in law school. He applied to all the top schools including Harvard, Stanford, and Yale, but the only school that accepted him was Harvard. He continued to play in blackjack and poker tournaments to fund his tuition needs.
In 1997 and 1998, he had to skip his last week of classes to attend the main event of the World Series of Poker, but despite his absence he still passed his classes with flying colors. Bloch passed the bar exam prior to the turn of the century, but decided to hold off his law career to instead focus on his career as a professional poker player.
In 2001, he made two WSOP finals tables and took third place in two World Poker Tour events. The following year he won the seven card stud tournament at Foxwoods. Andy landed two first-place finishes winning the WSOP Circuit Limit Hold 'em tournament at the Rio in Las Vegas and the Ultimate Poker Challenge in 2005. Full Tilt Poker offered him a full sponsorship, as the saw the great potential in this young player.
At the 2006 World Series of Poker, Bloch finished runner up to Chip Reese in the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E event, winning more than $1,000,000 from that event and his five other money finishes in the WSOP that year.
Bloch came out victorious when he went head to head against Phil Laak in the Pro-Am Poker Equalizer, winning the whopping $500,000 cash prize. It was such an intense game that it was later featured on an ESPN special. More recently in 2012, Bloch won his first and only WSOP bracelet in the Seven Card Stud event, abolishing the 367 other competitors and bringing home over $126,000.
Other Poker Related Endeavors
Bloch donated all of his winnings from Full Tilt Poker.com to various charities around the world and since he qualified for the 2006 World Series of Poker main event through an online tournament on the site, he decided that any money he won in the event should be donated to charity too.
Earlier in his career he made the award-winning instructional DVD, Beating Blackjack with Andy Bloch, which is used as a reference for blackjack players everywhere. With the help of Dr. Terry Bordan and Dr. Kristin Schaefer-Schiumo, he was also able to write the book, Life Lessons: Hold'em Poker Style which was published in April, 2013.
Author: Nicole Miller
Updated: November 2016