Molly Bloom (author)

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Molly Bloom
Born (1978-04-21) April 21, 1978 (age 40)
Loveland, Colorado, U.S.
Nationality American
Occupation Entrepreneur, author
Notable work Molly's Game

Molly Bloom (born April 21, 1978) is an American entrepreneur, speaker,[1] and author of the 2014 memoir Molly's Game: The True Story of the 26-Year-Old Woman Behind the Most Exclusive, High-Stakes Underground Poker Game in the World!. She had trained for years to become an Olympic skier, but was injured while trying to qualify for the Olympics.

In April 2013, she was charged with running a high-stakes poker game that originated in the Viper Room in Los Angeles which attracted wealthy individuals, sports figures, and Hollywood celebrities.[2] In May 2014, after pleading guilty to reduced charges, she was sentenced to one year of probation, a $200,000 fine, and 200 hours of community service.[3]

A film adaptation of her book, Molly's Game, starring Jessica Chastain and directed by Aaron Sorkin, debuted in December 2017.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Bloom was born on April 21, 1978, and grew up in Loveland, Colorado. Her father, Larry Bloom, is a clinical psychologist and a professor at Colorado State University.[5] Her mother, Char, was a ski and snowboard instructor and a professional fly-fisher with her own line of clothing.[6] Her father is Jewish and her mother is not.[7] Her brothers are Jordan Bloom, a surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital and Jeremy Bloom, who was an American Olympic skier and professional American football player with the Philadelphia Eagles.[8] She was a competitive skier and at one time ranked third in North America for women's skiers. She attended the University of Colorado Boulder, where she graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor of arts in political science.[9]

Poker game[edit]

In 2003, Bloom moved to Los Angeles and found work as a cocktail waitress. In 2004, Darin Feinstein, one of the co-owners of The Viper Room, was approached by actor Tobey Maguire about hosting a high-stakes poker game in the basement of the club. Feinstein recruited Bloom to cater to the players and manage the game. In 2007, Bloom started her own business, registering Molly Bloom Inc. as an event and catering company to host poker tournaments.[10] By 2008, the games had graduated to private homes and hotels like the Peninsula Beverly Hills, with hands going as high as $4 million.[11] In addition to Maguire, many wealthy individuals, celebrities and sports figures were known to frequent the games including Leonardo DiCaprio, Alec Gores, Macaulay Culkin, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Alex Rodriguez, Nelly, Mary Kate Olsen, Ashley Olsen, Phil Ivey, Rick Salomon and Andy Beal.[12][13][14][15] Underground poker games, like the rest of the economy, were hurt by the financial meltdown in 2008. Bloom decided to go on the road in 2009. Bloom landed in an Upper West Side high-rise near Lincoln Center in New York and started organizing games in a private apartment at the new Astor Place and suites at the Plaza hotel. She recruited girls from 1 Oak and Avenue and bought sophisticated dealing equipment used in casinos. But she had fewer connections in the Big Apple and the scene was more chaotic. Raids on underground Manhattan poker games meant the action often shifted to Long Island. Bloom’s games attracted Wall Street types, but also more degenerate gamblers. Opening bids sometimes averaged only $10,000 — which was much smaller than her LA games. [16] In June 2010, Bloom was served with a $116,133 tax lien for failing to pay appropriate taxes on her New York events.[12]

Arrest and sentencing[edit]

In 2011, one of Bloom's games in Los Angeles was shut down as part of a bankruptcy investigation into a Ponzi scheme run by Bradley Ruderman, one of the players.[17] Bloom, who had received money from Ruderman as part of the game, was accused of receiving $473,000 from Ruderman's bank to settle his debts and sued by the bankruptcy trustee for $473,200, but she denied that she was involved in organizing illegal gambling.[17] Bank records showed 19 transfers to Bloom in 2007 and 2008 for amounts up to $57,500.[12]

On April 16, 2013, Bloom was arrested and charged along with 33 others as part of a $100 million money laundering and illegal sports gambling operation.[2] Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, charged 12 people with racketeering. Others were charged with money laundering, extortion, fraud and operating illegal poker rooms in New York City. Bloom, who was 34 at the time, faced a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, six years of supervised release, a fine of $1.5 million or twice the amount gained from the crimes or twice the amount lost by victims, and a $200 special assessment.[18][19]

In May 2014, Bloom pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and was sentenced to one year of probation, a $200,000 fine, and 200 hours of community service.[20] At the sentencing, Bloom's lawyer, Jim Walden, told the court that Bloom was in severe debt which included forfeiting $125,000 in poker proceeds as part of the plea. He stated that Bloom had "been ordered into the gambling business" by her boss at a Los Angeles real estate company,[21] then went on to create her own illegal poker game in New York in 2009.

Book and film[edit]

Bloom's memoir about her experiences, Molly's Game: The True Story of the 26-Year-Old Woman Behind the Most Exclusive, High-Stakes Underground Poker Game in the World, was published in 2014.[22]

A film adaptation of the book, called Molly's Game, written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, premiered at the Toronto Film Festival on September 8, 2017.[23] Jessica Chastain plays the role of Molly Bloom.[24] The film received a 2018 Academy Award nomination in the category Best Adapted Screenplay.[25]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "How to Create An Authentic Customer Experience, According to Poker Entrepreneur Molly Bloom - Business101.com". Business101.com. 2018-06-19. Retrieved 2018-07-26.
  2. ^ a b Nancy Dillon; Robert Gearty; Daniel Beekman (April 17, 2013). "Feds take down high-stakes poker, sports booking ring used by A-list celebs, Wall Street fat cats". New York Daily News. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  3. ^ "Poker Princess gets probation after guilty plea". USA Today. May 2, 2014. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  4. ^ Ray Rahman (August 14, 2017). "Aaron Sorkin on Directing His First Movie With 'Molly's Game'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  5. ^ Nate Day (March 8, 2017). "New book-to-movie adaptation has connection to daughter of CSU faculty". Rocky Mountain Collegian. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  6. ^ Charlie Meyers (February 25, 2006). "Bloom to appear at sports show". The Denver Post. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  7. ^ "Hollywood's Celebrity Jews - Movies and more". Detroit Jewish News. 2017-11-22. Retrieved 2018-05-05.
  8. ^ Pullen, John Patrick (March 2013). "World-Champion Skier Jeremy Bloom's Unconventional Path to Entrepreneurship". Entrepreneur. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  9. ^ John Wenzel (August 27, 2014). "Molly Bloom's 'Game' reveals stacked deck of ambition, drama in world of high-stakes poker". The Denver Post. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  10. ^ Robert Kolker (June 30, 2013). "Manhattan Fold 'Em". New York Magazine. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  11. ^ Seth Abramovitch (September 10, 2017). "Hollywood Flashback: In 2008, Molly Bloom Was Tinseltown's Poker Queen". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  12. ^ a b c Heather Haddon (July 10, 2011). "The queen of secret celeb poker". New York Post. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  13. ^ "How the underground 'Poker Princess' managed to school Hollywood bigs". New York Post. 2018-01-03. Retrieved 2018-05-04.
  14. ^ "Hollywood's Elite Exposed in Gambling Crackdown, Guilty Plea Entered - PocketFives". PocketFives. 2013-08-08. Retrieved 2018-05-04.
  15. ^ "Hollywood poker madame spills the beans on A-listers". Mail Online. Retrieved 2018-05-04.
  16. ^ https://nypost.com/2011/07/10/the-queen-of-secret-celeb-poker/
  17. ^ a b Duke, Alan (June 23, 2011). "Celebs play high-stakes poker in Beverly Hills hotels, lawsuits say". CNN. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  18. ^ "Manhattan U.S. Attorney Charges 34 Members and Associates of Two Russian-American Organized Crime Enterprises with Operating International Sportsbooks That Laundered More Than $100 Million". FBI (Press release). April 16, 2013. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  19. ^ Santora, Marc; Rashbaum, William K. (April 16, 2013). "Agents Raid Gallery in Carlyle Hotel in Gambling Probe". The New York Times. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  20. ^ Rich Calder (May 3, 2014). "'Poker princess' gets probation for role in $100M gambling ring". New York Post. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  21. ^ Dareh Gregorian (May 2, 2014). "So-called 'Poker Princess,' implicated in $100 million gambling ring, ducks jail time, gets probation". New York Daily News. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  22. ^ Bloom, Molly (June 24, 2014). "Her House of Cards". Vanity Fair. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  23. ^ Debruge, Peter (September 9, 2017). "Film Review: 'Molly's Game'". Variety. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  24. ^ "'Molly's Game': Film Review | TIFF 2017". The Hollywood Reporter. September 8, 2017. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  25. ^ "Oscar Nominees Writing Adapted Screenplay Nominee". Retrieved March 14, 2018.

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