Tony Bloom – From Poker Star to Billionaire Gambler

Tony Bloom is a name that has become synonymous with success in both the worlds of poker and football.

From humble beginnings, Bloom has risen to become one of the most successful and respected figures in these industries.

A maths graduate from Manchester University and now in his late-forties, on the surface Tony Bloom is a reclusive billionaire who made his first fortune on the poker tables and is currently the owner of Brighton and Hove Albion football club.

But how did he get to where he is today? What drives him to succeed?

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the incredible journey of Tony Bloom, from his early days as a poker player to his current role as a football mogul.

We’ll explore his strategies for success, the challenges he’s faced along the way, and what sets him apart from others in these highly competitive fields.

So if you’re curious about what it takes to go from poker champ to football mogul, grab a cup of coffee and settle in for an inspiring story of determination, hard work, and passion.


Early Life and Career

Tony Bloom was born in Brighton, England, in 1970. Growing up, he was surrounded by a family of gamblers, with both his father and grandfather being avid players.

It was no surprise, then, that Tony developed an interest in poker at a young age. He started playing with his family and friends, honing his skills and developing a love for the game.

After completing his education, Tony Bloom began working as a professional poker player. He quickly made a name for himself in the industry, winning numerous tournaments and earning a reputation as one of the best players around. 

Known as “The Lizard” due to his distinctive poker style, characterized by a close friend who claimed he had the tenacity of an alligator, he achieved recognition by reaching the final table of the World Poker Championship and amassing over £2 million in poker winnings throughout his career.

Nonetheless, his actual wealth far surpasses these poker earnings. Having invested more than £200 million into his football team, it is highly probable that his estimated net worth of several billion pounds holds truth, although the exact figures remain unknown, as he prefers to keep this information undisclosed.

His financial endeavors encompass a range of ventures, including city trading, founding the now-defunct online betting website Premierbet, which he subsequently sold for £1 million, lucrative property deals, and holding various directorships, having been associated with at least 12.

This enigmatic individual has granted only a limited number of interviews, yet he once famously remarked, “Poker equips you with valuable skills such as analyzing situations, understanding people, and making difficult decisions. These abilities can be applied to business and, certainly, to running a football club.”

Essentially, Tony Bloom is a lifelong gambler, having nurtured this passion since the tender age of 8. Reflecting on his inclination, he stated, “I engaged in gambling because I found enjoyment in it and, consequently, I aspired to excel in order to emerge victorious.

And he undeniably achieved precisely that, aided by the establishment of his clandestine enterprise, Starlizard—an extensive sports betting operation supporting his fervor for football betting.


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Situated within the inconspicuous Iceworks building in Camden, Starlizard is a secretive football betting syndicate that strives to maintain utmost confidentiality regarding its operations.

The Iceworks lacks any signage or logo that would identify the presence of Starlizard. Its windows are covered with reflective glass, preventing prying eyes from glimpsing the internal workings.

However, the company does maintain a website that offers limited insights into its activities, occasionally advertising available positions for suitable applicants. At present, the organization boasts approximately 160 employees.

According to its official website, Starlizard is a betting consultancy utilizing intricate statistical models to calculate football betting odds more accurately than established bookmakers.

These calculated odds are made accessible to customers for a fee, allowing them to exploit football betting markets. In essence, Starlizard operates as a betting advisor rather than directly accepting wagers.

This represents the publicly known narrative. What remains concealed is that the enterprise functions as a remarkably successful gambling syndicate, placing wagers worth hundreds of millions of pounds on behalf of affluent high-stakes clients globally, particularly in Asia.

While Tony Bloom is almost certainly the individual behind Starlizard, official records from Companies House do not list him as one of the directors.

Several plausible explanations exist for this, but one notable factor is that a significant portion of the bets placed employs Tony Bloom’s personal fortune, rendering a substantial portion of his income tax-exempt due to winnings.

Arguably, and as indicated by certain former employees, a primary function of Starlizard is to manage Tony Bloom’s personal football betting activities.

Starlizard’s business model is meticulously structured into various teams. The research team comprises football experts responsible for collecting detailed data on international and domestic league and cup competitions.

Every aspect of each match is meticulously recorded and analyzed, encompassing not only goals but also misses and passes.

Additionally, there exists a bet analysis team consisting of mathematical prodigies and IT experts.

Their role entails analyzing the amassed data to calculate odds and determine the most advantageous betting opportunities, typically involving Asian bookmakers, as UK bookmakers cannot accept such substantial stakes.

The team employs highly sophisticated statistical tools akin to those used by financial brokers to analyze stock market movements.

The betting team is entrusted with executing the wagers to attain the most favorable returns. Comprising rapid-fire specialists, they thrive on adrenaline and possess nerves of steel, akin to market traders.

Supporting these endeavors is the IT team, ensuring Starlizard remains at the forefront of technological advancements.

The majority of Starlizard’s bets are placed within the Asian market, where a football handicap system is employed.

In this system, when a weaker team competes against a stronger one, the latter receives a handicap. For instance, if a team is handicapped by two goals, a bet on that team requires them to win by more than two goals for the bet to yield a payout.

betting slip

Statlizard crunches the numbers on thousands of fixtures annually.

Starlizard’s success lies in its ability to predict score lines with remarkable accuracy. While the returns may seem relatively modest, estimated at around 2% or even lower, they are consistently profitable.

With sufficiently high stakes, these bets accumulate substantial winnings, presently estimated to exceed £100 million over a successful year.

Should one desire to partake in this endeavor, anyone with a minimum investment of £2 million can join the syndicate. Although the potential return on such an investment is challenging to calculate precisely, given an average return of 2% per betting cycle, it is likely to surpass gains from conventional investments significantly.


The impact of Tony Bloom on Brighton and Hove Albion

Tony Bloom’s impact on Brighton and Hove Albion has been nothing short of transformative. His investment in the club has not only saved it from financial ruin, but it has also created a culture of success and ambition.

Today, Brighton and Hove Albion is a club that is respected and admired throughout the football world, establishing itself as a serious player in the Premier League. 

One of the things that sets Tony Bloom apart as a football owner is his commitment to the community. He has invested heavily in the local area, supporting numerous charities and initiatives.

He has also created a sense of pride and identity for the people of Brighton and Hove, who see their football club as a symbol of their city’s spirit and resilience.


As well as being probably the world’s most successful sports gambler, Tony Bloom is also a philanthropist.

He founded the Bloom Foundation which supports organisations that run UK and international health and education projects. He is also a member of the Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis Board; his wife Linda, a psychiatrist, has suffered with MS for the last 12 years.


Challenges faced and lessons learned

Tony Bloom’s journey to success has not been without its challenges. He has faced numerous setbacks and obstacles along the way, from financial difficulties to personal struggles. But through it all, he has remained determined and focused, using each challenge as an opportunity to learn and grow.

One of the most important lessons Tony has learned over the years is the importance of perseverance. He knows that success rarely comes easy and that setbacks are inevitable. But he also knows that with hard work and dedication, anything is possible.

Tony Bloom’s achievements and recognition

Tony Bloom’s achievements in both the world of poker and football have earned him numerous accolades and recognition. He has been named the European Poker Tour Player of the Year and has won numerous other awards for his contributions to the industry.

In football, Tony has been recognized for his role in turning around Brighton and Hove Albion. He has been named the Football League’s Chairman of the Year and has received widespread praise for his commitment to the club and the community.


Tony Bloom’s journey from poker champ to football mogul is a story of determination, hard work, and passion.

He has faced numerous challenges along the way, but he has always remained focused on his goals and committed to his vision. Today, he is one of the most successful and respected figures in both the worlds of poker and football, and his legacy will continue to inspire and motivate others for years to come.


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