Did Gambling Legend Tony Bloom Lose $680K On One Horse Bet?

Professional gambler Tony Bloom is no stranger to placing massive sports bets. Indeed, Bloom made his fortune through gambling and playing poker. He is not afraid to put his money where his mouth is, but his doggedness may have cost him more than $680,000.

Bloom owns thoroughbred racehorse Energumene, whose meaning is a person possessed by an evil spirt. The horse won eight of its first nine races before Bloom entered it into the Clarence House Chase at Ascot over the weekend. Racing columnist Matt Chapman stated there was no chance Energumene would beat Shishkin in the race. However, someone, possibly Bloom, did not agree. That much was obvious when a mystery punter back Energumene at 6/4 for £240,000 ($681,224).

Chapman contacted Bloom and asked if he “backed your big gun.” The Godfather of Gambling confirmed he had backed the best horse.

Energumene led from the front from the off. Everything looked like an Energumene victory, but there is a reason Shishkin is unbeaten over fences. Shishkin came from behind as the horse approached the second last fence, and held on to win. An Energumene victory would have netted the monster-sized bet £540,000 ($1,021,751) profit.

Tony Bloom The Gambler

Bloom first appeared on the live poker scene in 1994, but did not win his first tournament until 2001. He triumphed in a £525 Pot Limit Omaha event for £37,410. His breakthrough result came in 2004 at Crown Melbourne. Bloom won a $10,300 event at the Aussie Millions for a cool $426,500.

The multi-millionaire frequented Australia for several years because the Aussie Millions was his favourite tour. It helped that he enjoyed several big results here. He scooped $600,000 in 2009 after finishing second in a $100,500 Super High Roller. He finished fourth in the same tournament in 2010 for an additional $200,000. Amazingly, he finished second in the very same event in 2011 for another $975,000.

Bloom accumulated US$3,530,086 in his poker career, although he rarely plays tournaments these days. He last cashed in 2019 at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.

His fellow players nicknamed him “The Lizard” because of his cold-blooded demeanour at the tables. He used his nickname in his gambling consultancy business, Star Lizard. Bloom employs a vast team of industry experts who analyse dozens of variables across football matches. Star Lizard brings in £100 million ($189.2 million) to Bloom’s coffers annually, but only accepts punters prepared to invest at least £2 million ($3.78 million).

His Other Passion

Bloom grew up in Brighton, United Kingdom, and is passionate about the city’s football team. His passion runs that deep he bought Brighton & Hove Albion in 2009. He invested more than £100 million ($189.2 million) on the development of the club’s new ground. Brighton plies its trade in the Premier League, having gained promotion in 2016-17.

The mysterious owner and chairman regularly visits games, but prefers staying out of the limelight for the most part.

In May 2018, Bloom purchased a majority shareholding in Belgian football team Royal Union Saint-Gilloise. The club is one of the most successful Belgian teams. However, most of its success happened in the early 1900s. That said, they gained promotion to Belgium’s top flight in 2021 for the first time in 48 years.

How Much Is He Worth?

It is challenging to put a figure on Bloom’s net worth because he is a secretive man. He does not appear in any published “rich lists” because he keeps his cards close to his chest.

Latest estimates put the Brighton owner’s net worth in the region of £1.2 billion ($2.27 billion). “The Lizard” has invested more than £350 million ($662.45 million) of his own money into his beloved football club.