Last updated on: January 13th, 2022

Famous Sports Bettors: Tony “The Lizard” Bloom Bio

Tony “The Lizard” Bloom is a British professional sports bettor, poker player, and entrepreneur notably known for his ownership of the Brighton & Hove Albion soccer club in England. However, before his involvement in English soccer, The Lizard was even more famous in the gambling world. Nicknamed the Lizard because of his cold-blooded gambling approach, Bloom is estimated to be worth a few billion, though nobody knows for certain. He is believed to have accumulated his wealth through online gambling sites and property investments.

He now has a personal team of experts that operate his gambling efforts, which act more like a hedge fund and less of a gambling organization. Bloom has always known exactly what he was doing and can keep a straight face while doing so. It doesn’t matter if he’s placing a “small” wager down or a multi-million dollar one, his belief that his statistics and strategy are the only confidence he needs. Losing money isn’t really an issue for The Lizard though, as he has continually increased his net worth through his gambling background, which is why he is one of the most famous sports bettors around.

Growing Up With Tony Bloom

Tony Bloom was in the gambling world ever since his adolescent days. At the young age of 10-year-old, Bloom made his first wager on a slot machine with money he managed to collect himself over time. The young entrepreneur became enthralled with the idea of taking risks for potentially high rewards. This was the beginning of his career as a professional gambler. As he got older, he moved on from slots to betting on sports and he hasn’t looked back since. He used a fake ID while he was a teenager (not recommended) and was able to sneak into several sportsbooks to wager on his favorite teams. He started winning big at a very young age. Bloom was eventually caught and forced to postpone his gambling career until he was of the legal betting age. When he was finally old enough, Bloom returned to the sports betting world, mainly betting on soccer matches. Blooms credit his success in soccer betting as being a die-hard fan and not having any real strategy.

The Lizard Develops His Strategy

After graduating college and working for Ernst & Young for a short period, Bloom transitioned from recreationally betting on sports to deciding to make it his main focus. His strategy became to bet aggressively claiming that to win big, you have to be okay with the risk of losing. This mindset gave him the cold-blooded appeal that others seemed to admire, where walking away from large sums of money was easy. It also helped him to have a sizable bankroll to start with.

Another of Bloom’s other points of emphasis is to not overestimate the impact of an injury. Bettors and bookmakers often overreact to injuries, especially to big-name players. Bloom has noted this as a market inefficiency and would frequently bet on the team with the injured player. Another point of strategic emphasis for Bloom is his willingness to wait until the last possible minute to place a wager, as in his estimation the additional info available for patient bettors outweighs any benefits of betting early. 

Handicapping Soccer Matches

Working for Victor Chandler, Bloom took a deep dive into Asian betting styles. These are slightly different from the common wagering lines seen in Europe and the US, where a goal differential compared to the most recent form is required to hit in order for a wager to be successful. His mathematical background allowed him to analyze data and handicap games for the company. With the industry growing and rather unknown at the time, Bloom spent some months living in Thailand as well as on the south of Spain in Gibraltar.

Everything changed during the 1998 World Cup when Bloom realized the bet on the century. In a wagering tournament, The Lizard convinced the company to wager everything it had earned on the final matchup. There is no data as to how much was won by the company, but immediately after BetVictor was formed – one of the most renown UK betting brands. Bloom went his own route and developed Premier Bet, which also took a focus on the Asian handicap system.

Starlizard

Bloom founded Starlizard which can be described as a hedge fund for sports betting. While very limited data is released to the public and every member is required to sign a nondisclosure, it is believed to be the largest gambling syndicate in all of the U.K. The company uses statistical models to find value in certain wagers and sells picks to clients in order to gain more clients from their success. Unlike previous operations Bloom was associated with, Starlizard does not accept action but rather offers advice.

Their insight comes not only from league and player data but information from any source they can get their hands on. Whether a beat writer, a friend of a player, or expert, the company takes on the impact of morale and training to analyze every little data as much as possible. Their models would constantly be updated to reflect how much weight each determinant would carry and have very rarely offered losing bets to their clients.

Because Bloom now owns Brighton & Hove Albion, wagers associated with the club are off-limits. Bloom’s connection with Brighton stemmed back through his family’s lineage, as the uncle was a director and his grandfather was a vice-chairman of the team. Soccer is the clear favorite sport for Bloom, who also recently purchased Union SG in 2018. With two professional sports teams under his belt and the dedication to pay whatever it takes to succeed, Bloom has turned his gambling habits into becoming one of the wealthiest men in the world.

Bloom’s Time As A Poker Player

Bloom started as a poker player, where he has toured in a variety of series and tournaments, being labeled as one of the best poker players despite his limited professional status. Bloom appeared in the Late Night Poker British television series and has also scored a final table appearance on the WPT (World Poker Tour). He made two consecutive final table appearances in the Poker Million events and scored his first major win the 2004 Australasian Poker Championship. He has gone on to score an impressive poker purse while still maintaining his semi-professional status.