She was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar but Molly Bloom had already enjoyed a taste of the big time and wanted more. When telling her story as a poker mogul, much is made of a humble beginning but the high life was already in her blood.
A promising winter sports career was cruelly cut short due to injury and maybe that’s why the thirst for notoriety remained unquenched. Fast forward to 2013 and Bloom was charged with running an illegal high stakes poker game which involved a number of celebrity players.
You can read the full story here and it really is an intriguing one. In her book, Molly Bloom reveals little about her early life but it’s apparent that she came from a competitive family and that she was driven to excel in skiing.
Both her mother and father were heavily involved in winter sports and young Molly originally strived to follow in their combined footsteps. She rose through the ranks but a serious injury sustained while attempting to qualify for the Olympics took her career in an entirely different direction.
Biding her time
Molly took some time out and it was at this point that she began to work as a cocktail waitress. It was a humble start but one that would eventually lead to a much more high profile post in the hospitality industry.
By this time she had moved to Los Angeles to swap the winter chills for some sun. There had been a vague plan to study law but Bloom’s talents and rapport with customers was about to lead to something completely different.
The Big Breakthrough
By 2004, Molly Bloom had made the acquaintance of Darin Feinstein who was one the co owners of the infamous Viper Room. Opened in 1993 and located on the Sunset Strip, the Viper Room is a famous hang out among the great and the good of Hollywood.
Feinstein had been approached by actor Tobey Maguire about hosting a high stakes poker game in the basement of his club. It was the perfect location for an underground tournament and the Viper Club set about making the arrangements. Molly Bloom was hired to serve food, drinks and to serve the music but this would only be the beginning.
Molly Bloom was good: In fact, she was a little too good as far as her boss was concerned. On that first evening she pocketed around $3000 in tips and had clearly made an impression on all those who were present.
Further games followed and these were lucrative assignments for a waitress who would normally earn just a few bucks per night. Eventually she would run these gaming nights but her boss wasn’t happy. It’s said that he was confused by her methods in running the poker games and, in particular, her use of spreadsheets. After accusing her of taking his money and of having an affair with one of the players, Molly was inevitably fired.
Just the Beginning
The sacking was by no means the end and, in terms of the subsequent book and film, it was just the beginning. Bloom had, by now, a full understanding of how to run high stakes poker nights and she just needed a venue and the means to carry on.
Fortunately, she had attracted the attention of a key figure in this story – known simply as Player X.
Molly switched play from the underground dingy basement of the Viper Room and brought it out into the open. Luxury hotels provided the venue and her former clientele gradually followed.
The Value of X
Player X is the key figure in this part of the Molly Bloom story. His or her identity has never been officially confirmed but, according to reports, this is the player that everyone wanted to be at the table with. Their personality was said to be abrasive and merciless and that could be a clue to X’s character.
X went too far in demanding a cut of the tips and that’s where Bloom eventually cut ties with the LA Gambling scene. She would decamp to New York and, while her poker games remained successful, they started to attract unwanted attention.
The Mafia and the FBI were drawn after a particularly heavy loss of $5 million by one player in a single night. At the hands of the Mafia, she was beaten and robbed while the Feds charged her with illegal gambling and money laundering. It was the end of the poker nights but Molly’s Story wasn’t quite over.
The Glamorous Co-Stars
Among those who have been correctly identified among Molly Bloom’s batch of players are Ben Affleck, Leonardo di Caprio, Matt Damon, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen and many more.
There was a story to be told and, following the publication of her book, Molly’s Game was turned into a blockbuster Hollywood Movie. It’s a fascinating tale and one that proves you can rise to the top of the poker tree in more ways than one.