Tony Bloom likes nothing more than a gamble.

Nothing more that is except for Albion.

Which is why he took the biggest punt of his life on the club he adores and owns.

A punt which has hit the jackpot as they face Manchester City in their first-ever match in the Premier League, watched by a capacity crowd at the stadium he has funded.

The landscape was rather less rosy when Bloom took the decision to pour a sizeable chunk - pushing towards £300 million according to latest estimates - of his personal fortune into the Seagulls.

They were slumming it at League One in temporary housing at Withdean, without permission for a new home.

So Bloom, who has been described as one of the most successful gamblers of all time, did not have to think too long and hard when asked to identify his best single punt.

"I guess when I made the commitment - and that was a long time before I took over the club - of investing in Albion," he said, speaking at the club's luxuriously-equipped training complex in Lancing which he has also paid for.

"All the money I was putting into the club prior to getting planning (for the Amex) was pretty much worthless if we didn't get planning.

"And then you've got getting the planning, which was a magnificent time in our history, but then I knew even then that the majority of the money needed to put into the new stadium I would have to put in.

"Then I knew there was always a training ground that we needed and I also knew that, until we got to the Premier League, there were substantial losses every year with no guarantee you would get to the Premier League.

"I guess such a large amount of money - that would have to be it."

Albion and gambling have always been inextricably linked for Bloom. When he was a young boy he used to play the fruit machines in West Street, Brighton.

The Argus: The betting bug was inherited from his late grandad, Harry (above), a motor trader and hotelier. Growing up, Bloom was often in a lounge next to the directors' suite at the Goldstone with his father Ronnie and brother Darren, when Harry was vice-chairman.

Harry, a calming influence on the sometimes rocky relationship between flamboyant chairman Mike Barmber and charismatic manager Alan Mullery, died of a heart attack on the team coach on the way to a game at Stoke, aged 71, in October 1980, months into Albion's second season in the top flight.

Now they are back in the big time under the guidance of Harry's publicity-shy but ultra-smart grandson, with a little help from the rain Gods.

Bloom told The Argus: "If you look back eight years, and a few months before I actually took over as chairman, we were near the bottom of League One and there was a point, just before Easter, when we were only six or seven points off relegation, and we got lucky with an away game at Bristol Rovers.

"We were down to our bare bones, with a lot of players out, and the game got postponed because of bad weather. We would have struggled that night, but we went back towards the end of the season and won the game and it was a big deal just to stay in League One.

"To get promoted two years later, for our first season at the Amex, was a great result.

"In terms of vision, the dream when we built the stadium and this facility as a training ground was to be in the Premier League – and I wouldn't have gone ahead with either project if I didn't think it was a distinct possibility.

"As we've seen, these things can hinge on small margins. We've had those three seasons where we reached the play-offs and didn't make it through, and then reached 89 points without going up automatically.

"You can't predict these things, but I just had a strong confidence that we would get into the Premier League one day – and to do it within eight years, from where I came in, is a very good effort and we've deserved it.

"I didn't set a target date, but I'm obviously very happy to be in this position, and now the goal is to be in the Premier League for many seasons to come."

Bloom was not at Albion's Football League relegation decider at Hereford 20 years ago. A world-ranked top 20 poker player when he had more time, he was in Las Vegas for a tournament and asked his grandparents to put the phone by the radio so he could listen to the Seagulls' nerve-jangling draw and escape.

He was at another draw, the last time Albion met Man City at Withdean in the League Cup at Withdean nine years ago. They won on penalties.

"I remember the celebrations afterwards," he said. "Seeing Michel Kuipers (goalkeeper). He was in seventh heaven. In that shoot-out it was great. They had just got taken over, so as a League One side we had beaten the richest club in the world. It was quite sweet. That will always remain in the memory."

The Argus: Can they create another? Bloom (above) is bullish after last Sunday's narrow defeat in the showpiece friendly against Atletico Madrid.

He said: "I feel great – it's superb for everyone connected with the club that here we are, our first-ever game in the Premier League with a full house, great atmosphere and we're playing the favourites to win the title.

"But for all Manchester City's spending power, they can only put 11 of their players on the pitch at a time. Our players will take confidence from our last pre-season friendly against a top, top club in Europe.

"I was talking to my fellow directors and we think they (Atletico) were probably the best team we've ever played in our history. It was a brilliant workout for us and now we can't wait for the tasks ahead."

What about another eight years, where does Bloom see Albion then? "Same again – to be in the Premier League," he said. "You can't imagine the top six not being in the Premier League, although you get the odd example like Leeds, who were there at some point and then collapsed.

"But if we remain there, have some cup runs and play some good football in front of sell-out crowds, I'll be delighted."

With Bloom running the show, you would be mad to bet against it.