Michael Mizrachi

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Michael Mizrachi

Andy Bloch

In the world of online poker bonus codes, what is happening with the full tilt poker referral code? The first question is what is Full Tilt Poker, and one way to answer that is to introduce one of its foundings members, Andy Bloch.

Take away the money, fame, MIT engineering degree, blackjack infamy, and World Series innovation, and Andy Bloch is still a pretty good poker player. For a lawyer.

With two engineering degrees from MIT and a law degree from Harvard, Andy Bloch isn't exactly what you would call a typical poker player. At least that's what his extensive pedigree would have you believe. But one look across the felt at his calm, ice-tinged demeanor should leave no room for doubt that this man was born for the card tables.

"My style is based on mathematics, which means I try to figure out what the optimal play is," says Bloch. "I don't go just based on gut instinct, but I combine tells and my opponent's betting history and patterns and figure out what I think the best play is."

To watch him in action, so comfortable and perfectly at home under even the most stressful poker predicaments, you'd think that playing cards was Bloch's lifelong ambition. But like many of the pros drawn to the game, Bloch originally aspired to a much more conventional lifestyle.

"Before poker I thought I was going to be an electrical engineer, designing computer chips for different companies," he says. "But I was getting bored on my first job, and I got myself fired."

As fate would have it, an event transpired that hurtled the newly unemployed Bloch headlong into his career to come: Foxwoods Casino opened up nearby. "I started to go a couple of times a month," he says. "I never really heard about a poker tournament before but it looked interesting and I decided to try and play and see if I could win one the next year. So I started to play in these $35 buy-in tournaments that they had every week on Wednesday night".

True to his mathematical background, Bloch began to look for ways to exploit weaknesses in the casino's various other games. "I noticed that there was a game at Foxwoods called 'Hicock 6-Card Poker.' It was much like Caribbean Stud, or Let It Ride, in that you played against the casino and not other players. I looked at the game, and it looked interesting. I went home and did some calculations and it was enough to make me think that I should look into this more. So I wrote some computer programs and figured out the player could have an advantage. With a basic strategy, about a two percent advantage, and with an advanced strategy†counting all the cards (the game was dealt face-up)†you could have about a six percent advantage."

But if Hicock 6-Card Poker was so popular and easy, then why don't more poker players take advantage of the game? Simple. It's gone. "The reason you never heard of it is because we killed it off in about a year."

After literally beating the casino at its own game, Bloch's success took him away from poker games and into blackjack. More specifically, it took him into the waiting arms of the notorious MIT blackjack team. "I got involved with the MIT blackjack team after Hicock," says Bloch. "That was in the end of 1994 and I started playing the beginning of '95 with the team. It was very profitable; the team won several million dollars."

Around the same time, Bloch, always with one eye towards academia, decided to hit the books once more and go to law school. Of course, that was contingent upon gaining acceptance to one of his three choice schools: Harvard, Yale, or Stanford. While Yale and Stanford passed on the prospective student, Bloch was accepted to Harvard and began attending classes in fall 1996. Thanks to his concurrent work with the MIT blackjack team, his tuition and expenses were more than covered, although he had to curtail most of his Vegas trips. Most, but not all.

"For the 1997 World Series of Poker, a friend of mine, Tom Sims, was looking for someone to sweat and record all of their cards for the whole tournament," says Bloch. "Basically he wanted a human hole card cam, before they even existed. I wasn't sure if I was going to play, but I told him that if I did, he could follow me. I decided at the last minute to play, and miss my last week of classes at law school."

Although he didn't make it to the money that year, finishing about two tables away in 40th place, Bloch did make history of sorts, acting as a human guinea pig for the precursor to what has since developed into the modern-day hole card cam. His records turned into a two-part Card Player magazine article and the entire play-by-play can still be found online at conjelco.com/wsop97/bloch.html.

Despite reaching the end of his legal training, Bloch managed to stomach only a single summer of work with a firm, doing high-tech intellectual property work. To him, it simply wasn't stimulating. So after graduating from Harvard in 1999 he quickly returned to poker and blackjack, while simultaneously writing a book. Over time, Bloch began to grow weary of poker and once again started looking towards another career path. That's when the World Poker Tour started up. "In the first WPT season, I finished in 3rd place in two tournaments, and I decided to follow the Poker Tour more closely."

While he no longer competes in WPT events, Bloch has won more than $1 million playing in poker tournaments, written the popular Pocket Idiot's Guide to Poker Tells, and has even rekindled his love of blackjack, recently releasing a new DVD, Expert Insight: Beating Blackjack with Andy Bloch, which details both his MIT blackjack days as well as the strategies the team used.

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