According to Wikipedia, Anthony Grant “Tony” Bloom (born 1970 in Brighton, Sussex) is a Football Club Chairman and successful Poker Player however in sports betting circles he’s known to be one of, if not the biggest Football (Soccer) punters in the world.
Bloom who is Jewish and grew up in Brighton, supports various Jewish causes through his own charity, the Bloom Foundation.
He went to school at Lancing College, an established private school founded in 1848 whose alumni feature the likes of Evelyn Waugh and Sinclair Beecham.
He grew up around his beloved Football Club which he now also owns – Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club. His grandfather Harry Bloom served as vice Chairman back in the 1970’s.
“He also had a big love of gambling and betting,” Tony said last year, “Through the blood it came into me, and I was fortunate enough to be successful at that.”
“Tony is a hugely mathematical and analytical type of person, so clearly he looks at numbers as a means of gaining confidence in decision-making,” said Paul Barber, Brighton’s chief executive, adding that his team had its own data and scouts apart from Star Lizard (see below).
No sport holds more in annual turnover than The World Game and Tony along with his infamous sparring partner Matthew Benham (who also owns a Football club) contribute an enormous amount to this global hold.
Tony, nicknamed The Lizard is a betting rockstar. Equally respected as he is feared by bookmakers and still to this day turning over billions of dollars on sporting events around the world.
Find out more about his incredible story below.
Tony Bloom Poker Player
Whilst it is fair to assume with great confidence that Tony has won the majority of his fortune from sports betting, he has also developed a fairly accomplished poker playing CV over the years.
Bloom has a World Poker Tour final table appearance to his name as well as twice finishing in the money while doing so once on the European Poker Tour.
He’s finished in the money 11 times in the World Series Of Poker but is yet to land a coveted Bracelet.
He’s represented Britain at the Poker Nations Cup and is known to play high stakes games with close friends and colleagues in his spare time.
Tony Bloom Sports Bettor
Ok, now time to move onto the really juicy stuff. Imagine Bloom as like the Zeljko of Football betting.
Tony studied Mathematics at the University of Manchester where he went on to refine the betting skills he had developed while using a fake ID in his teens to sneak into high street betting shops.
Out of school Tony got a job working for Accountancy firm Ernst & Young but he only lasted six months before branching out to bet professionally.
“I believe in betting aggressively,” he told Mike Atherton in his 2006 book “Gambling” .
“And, occasionally, to win big, you have to risk losing.”
In the same book Tony revealed that he had “an addictive personality,”
“At university I made myself a promise that I would become fiercely disciplined. I wanted to gamble because I enjoyed it and therefore I needed to do it properly in order to win. I didn’t want to lose my money.”
Tony cut his teeth on the Asian Handicap bet type and spent some time working with UK bookie Victor Chandler before eventually founding his own book, Premier Bet.
Bloom told The Argus in 2009: “I was one of the first people outside of Asia to take a keen interest and an understanding of it. I worked in Thailand for seven months, then Gibraltar for three years.”
He later sold Premier Bet and purchased two online poker sites (Tribeca Tables and St Minver) of which he sold both for healthy profits.
In 2006, Bloom brought his ever expanding bankroll to the biggest table of his punting career – forming Star Lizard.
Bloom’s intimate knowledge of Football betting markets and expertise in predicting scorelines has enabled him to exploit various markets – in particularly Asian Handicap markets over time.
Tony Bloom and Star Lizard
Star Lizard Consulting is the backbone to Tony’s betting syndicate and features a team of traders, quantitative analysts, data scientists, game analysts, software engineers that form a group of what is believed to be well in excess of 200 employees.
Many of the employees are offered a free stake in the Syndicate in return for their hard work and undivided attention to the business that is Star Lizard.
Located in Camden, in the Iceworks building, Star Lizard operates very much incognito. There are no signs on the building or logos on the door and there is no way of seeing in the windows.
In fact, Tony Bloom’s name doesn’t even show up on Star Lizard’s business fillings.
Everything is top secret about Lizard HQ but it is said that employees and even those who go for job interviews have to sign detailed NDA’s.
There is a fully functioning cafeteria that operates all day to feed the staff, a gym, pool tables, tv and lounging area and a library. Not to mention the company box at Stamford Bridge, the home of defending EPL Champions, Chelsea and packages at various other top level London Clubs that employees can enjoy.
Star Lizard doesn’t do things by halves!
Star Lizard also contract analysts and contributors from all-around the world to provide valuable data and insight so that they can fine tune their prices and squeeze out as much margin as possible on their turnover.
The markets Star Lizard often play in are high volume, low margin and highly competitive markets.
If the estimates of 100 million pounds of profit annually are correct at lets say a 2% margin then the syndicate is turning over roughly 5 billion pounds annually?
All speculative of course but whatever the true numbers are, there is no doubt we are dealing with phone book type arrangements.
A visit to the Star Lizard website doesn’t reveal much, most information is pretty standard and broad. However, if you’re looking to apply for a job with the consulting firm, you can do so online!
Tony Bloom Football Chairman
Tony owns the majority stake and is Chairman of Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club as a result of his $130USD investment back in 2009. Since then, Brighton have spent time between England’s top-flight and lower tier leagues over the years but currently sit 11th on the EPL table.
In 2009 Tony was quoted as saying “I’ve been a football fan and a gambler since the age of about seven or eight. My interest in both developed at the same time.”
Since purchasing the Football Club, Bloom has reportedly sunk another 200 million pounds and to his credit, has now got them into the top flight.
Brighton and Hove Albion’s players “are aware that Tony is a professional gambler,” they are more interested in his poker skills, Paul Barber said, adding, “Some of them like to play cards.”
English Football’s association with gambling is full-on in terms of sponsorship and even ownership.
Betting is ostensibly banned by the Football Association, the governing body of Football in England but the FA revealed to the New York Times in a recent article that there is also a set of unpublished rules for Bloom and other owners involved in the betting industry like the owners of Bet365 who own Stoke City Football Club (and half of Stoke!) and Matthew Benham who like Tony is a gambler and owns the Brentford Football Club.
It is said however, that Bloom does not place any wagers on or against his club, Brighton.
The following articles were used as research when pulling together our piece on Tony Bloom.
Britian Bans Betting In Soccer But Not For The Lizard – New York Times
Tony Bloom Biography – Business Insider
Thanks for reading!