April 1, 2020, 5:26 am

Poker's Perfectionist Never Forgets

For someone who has accomplished so much in his brief 35-years, the wins should overwhelmingly outshine the losses (he just won the WSOP title at the Rio in March). Not true for Andy Bloch, "He's always motivated to be better" says girlfriend Jen Creason.

That's why Andy relentlessly keeps his meaningful defeats fresh in his mind. "I guess I'd have to say the unconditional worst finish would be any tournament that I've gone out on the first day, but that first World Series always gets me."

Andy first became famous as the subject of numerous articles on the leaders of the legendary MIT blackjack team. "Our winnings were inflated," he admits.

Nevertheless, over the years he's gradually made a different name for himself, as a sensation in the game of poker. "I was always playing cards when I was little, but after graduating from MIT (1992) I became more motivated to play poker."

As a mathematical mastermind (one East Coast casino was once forced to change its rules because Andy and several fellow MIT colleagues figured out how to beat the game), each hand is a potential tournament win. Known for his intelligence and extraordinary comprehension, it's that exact aptitude that cost Andy his first big loss.

While waiting to hear if he was going to be accepted to law school (which transpired during the first full season of the World Poker Tour), Andy acquired two 3rd place tournament finishes and made the decision to follow the poker tour more closely. After winning a trip to the WSOP, he made it his goal not only to do well, but to win. Maybe that's why he sees it as his biggest loss. "I always want to achieve my goals."

And even eight years later, Andy can still recite step-by-step what he did that momentous hand. "I was the chip leader after the first day, but late the second day I got knocked out on a heartbreaking hand." The 44th place finish still haunts him and causes him to strive to be better.

So what happened that momentous round? "I was up against Rod Peete," Andy explains with his trademark grin. "I raised $3,400 and Rod called. So I bet $10,000 and Rod called again after the 3-2-3 flop. I should have pushed in. That's where I got in trouble."

Could it have been the stress of knowing he was later going to rush to the airport for a flight back to Harvard to take his law school exams? "Nope, I just didn't play a good hand and I shouldn't have called Rod's final bet."

"After the 9 of diamonds on the turn, I bet $20,000 hoping Peete had A-10 or A-8 and was bluffing. But he countered and I went all-in."

With over $100,000 in the pot, Andy calculated his odds to be 3 to 1. And still believing Peete was probably bluffing, he called all-in. "After the ten of hearts on the river, Rod wouldn't show his hand first, so I flashed him my king of clubs and nine of spades, thinking I was still good, but then he showed his 9 of diamonds and then the ace of spades."

If he could replay that haunting hand again, would he fold? "After playing this hand over and over hundreds of times, I should have folded after the turn or made a big bet or moved all-in after the flop."

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