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
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
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
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.
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