Andy Bloch: In It for the Long Run

Andy Bloch
Andy Bloch on Day 2 of the 2008 NBC Heads-Up Championship

Few players in recent memory have repeatedly come as close to winning a major tournament as Andy Bloch. He's finished second in the the WSOP $50,000 H.O.R.S.E., the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship, and most recently the WSOP $10,000 World Championship Pot-Limit Hold'em.

I caught up with the Full Tilt pro this afternoon during a break from the $3,000 H.O.R.S.E. tournament and talked to him about today's mixed-game field, coming in second place, and how we keep score in poker.

You're playing in the H.O.R.S.E. event today. This is a game where a lot of people would name you one of the favorites to win a bracelet because you know all the variants so well. How soft do you think the H.O.R.S.E. fields are compared to, say, two or three years ago, now that a lot more people have started to play?

Well, the field seems to be pretty soft. I've got a couple of experienced players at my table, but other than them I think a couple of people don't know all of the games. That's a big disadvantage.

If you're playing Omaha, and you're playing it like it's Hold'em and raising up hands where you've got something like two queens in your hand, you're going to be giving away your money. I think at my table right now the people are playing Hold'em very well, but I think they're making a lot of mistakes in the other games, and that's where I've been making my money.

I hate to bring it up, but you're "always the bridesmaid, never the bride." You seem to handle it really well, and your attitude reminds me of what Chip Reese told Norman Chad after he beat you in the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. Chad asked if winning that tournament made him the best player in the world, and Chip's response was, "It's not being the best over two or three days that matters, it's being the best every day." Is that sort of your approach, the long-term mentality?

Yeah. I learned a lot from Chip. I wasn't that close to him, but he was one of my idols from the beginning, back when I first got started in poker. And a lot of what he says is true. It's like, you have to look at it every day - if a person wins a tournament or comes in second once, it doesn't really mean that much. You have to be in it for the long run.

You can't let yourself get beaten up when you go into a final table or heads-up with a chip lead and lose. That's going to happen, even to the best players.

So with that long-term approach, if you went another seven or eight years finishing in second a couple of times a year, that would be okay with you.

Yeah. I've had a couple of good seconds. So even though I haven't won what most people consider a real major tournament, like a WSOP event or a WPT, I have a couple of big seconds and thirds. I'll take another second in this Series.

If tournament results aren't the end-all in poker, is money really the scoreboard for the game? Even though bracelets are important at the WSOP, if you have all the cash at the end of the day, you're still fine, right?

Money is one way of keeping score. But ultimately it's also what you do with the money and what you do in your life. Some people will throw away their money, and the next year they're broke and have to be staked again.

If you look at the all-time money leaders, a lot of the people didn't win all that money. Their backers won a lot of that money, and people they traded action with. I almost never trade action or sell a piece of myself anymore. Very rarely, only under special circumstances, will I do that. So 90-95% of the money that shows up on those lists was money that I won and I still have.

As far as life is concerned, a lot of those people on the leaderboards have an asterisk next to their figures. If you were to look at how much money they still have, a lot of people aren't going to rank as high.

So we're not going to see you with an asterisk next to your winnings anytime soon.

Hopefully not.

Thanks for your time Andy.

Thank you.

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Be sure to follow the $3,000 H.O.R.S.E. tournament here at to see if Bloch can break through and win a bracelet - or at least finish a satisfying second.

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