Molly's Game: From Hollywood's Elite to Wall Street's Billionaire Boys Club, My High-Stakes Adventure in the World of Underground Pokerby Published 24 Jun 2014
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When Molly Bloom was a little girl growing up in a small Colorado town, she watched her brothers win medals, ace tests, and receive high praise from everyone they met. Molly wanted nothing more than to bask in that glow a little herself, so she pushed herself too—as a student, as an athlete. She was successful but felt like she was always coming from behind. She wanted to break free, to find a life without rules and limits, a life where she didn't have to measure up to anyone or anything—where she could become whatever she wanted.
Molly wanted more, and she got more than she could have ever bargained for.
In Molly's Game, Molly Bloom takes the reader through her adventures running an exclusive high-stakes private poker game. Her clients ranged from iconic stars like Leonardo DiCaprio and Ben Affleck to politicians and financial titans so powerful they moved markets and changed the course of history. With rich detail, Molly describes a world that until now has been shrouded in glamour, privilege, and secrecy, one where she fearlessly took on the Russian and Italian mobs—until she met the one adversary she could not outsmart, even though she had justice on her side: the United States government.
Molly's Game is an incredible coming-of-age story about a young girl who rejected convention in pursuit of her version of the American dream. It's the story of how she gained—and then lost—her place at the table, and of everything she learned about poker, love, and life in the process.
"Molly's Game: From Hollywood's Elite to Wall Street's Billionaire Boys Club, My High-Stakes Adventure in the World of Underground Poker" Reviews
guess who made a list of molly's game readalikes that Ben Mezrich retweeted?
FURTHER READING FOR FANS OF MOLLY'S GAME
Poker? I barely know her!
Molly's Game is a memoir written by a woman who went from being a cocktail waitress to running an exclusive, but illegal, high-stakes underground poker enterprise and coming into conflict with entitled celebrities, mob bosses, and the FBI. It's one of those off-kilter American dream stories where an outsider takes initiative and enjoys success in a big glitzy celebrity-gossip-filled way and the criminal aspect just makes them that much more appealing. We do romanticize our outlaw figures.
Nonfiction book lists, even for highly narrative nonfiction like memoirs, tend to be closer to readarounds than readalikes, and this list is no different. It identifies some of the most prominent elements of the book: poker, gambling, crime, secrecy, fringe people, etc., and provides thematic matches for readers interested in exploring these topics from different angles or perspectives.
This is my hand, you tell me if I won.
And don't miss our Molly's Game giveaway! Ahead of the movie adaptation release on Christmas Day, we're giving away tickets to see Molly's Game on the big screen, and copies of the memoir that started it all!
Click through to enter to win! <--- you'll have to actually go to the link above to do this part. do it! WIN!
Molly’s Game walks a delicate tightrope between star fucking and drooling over rich people. This chick is just about the most materialistic idiot that you could ever imagine. Champagne, yachts, VIP lists, and everything and anything expensive dazzle her like a prehistoric fish to a shiny lure.
She tolerates her ex-boss, a guy who treats her worse than an animal. If ever there were a guy in need of an ass-kicking it was this creep yet she goes on to become actual friends with him. Then she branches off on her own, watching filthy rich assholes throw away fortunes on poker games. When the next revolution comes around, this gal’s address book will provide the list of names to be first in line for the guillotines.
I realize that this book belongs on the crap pile but I liked the movie, which was a huge surprise for me. I hate gambling of any sort. It’s a pastime for morons and hucksters. Aaron Sorkin did a great job of pulling a gem out of this turd of a book.
If Toby McGuire is half the asshole she makes him out to be in this book then someone should throw him down a long flight of concrete stairs.
If I had been in a room where he demanded a woman get up on a desk and bark like a seal to get a $1,000 poker chip I would have beaten the living shit out of Spiderman. What a creep! Whatever, she put up with it instead of packing up and leaving. Instead of lumping her in with the #MeToo she needs to be in the “me total coward” group. Believe it or not, men often find themselves in situations in which they are the weak party. If they tolerate their situation without standing up for themselves they have no one to blame but themselves.
There is nothing glamorous about gambling. It's a pathetic addiction like smoking meth and every bit as destructive. The very idea that you can somehow get something for nothing is moronic and goes against every principle of what forms an adult human being. I never understood those Bond movies where he is wearing a tux and playing in a casino which is no different than rolling dice in a filthy alley. Would it be glamorous if instead of handing over a stack of chips the loser had to suck the other dude's cock? Maybe that's your thing, I'm not being judgmental. Your move, Mr. Bond.
You were workin' as a waitress in a cocktail bar
When I met you
I picked you out, I shook you up and turned you around
Turned you into someone new
Now five years later on you've got the world at your feet
Success has been so easy for you
But don't forget, it's me who put you where you are now
And I can put you back down too.
Molly Bloom moved to Los Angeles from Colorado, seeking fame and glory. Working as a waitress in a cocktail bar, she stumbled into a job as personal assistant to an abrasive guy named "Reardon" with nebulous business dealings and connections to all sorts of rich and famous people. This leads to Molly running poker games attended by Hollywood A-listers and billionaires. At first working for tips alone (which could total tens of thousands of dollars a night in games where celebrities are dumping half a million dollars on the table), Molly climbs her way up until she is running the games herself, with an exclusive invitee list in LA and New York. This ultimately proves to be her undoing - when she is merely collecting tips, her job is in a legal gray area, but she's pretty safe (she actually retains a lawyer, makes sure to pay taxes on her earnings, and so on). But as she became more ambitious, and greedier, once she's actually organizing the games and collecting a "rake" (the house's share of any money bet), she has become the operator of an illegal gambling enterprise. And that's how the book ends, with Bloom given the full FBI home-invasion treatment and then awaiting trial.
As a casual poker player myself, I sometimes wonder how I'd do against celebrity poker players. While a few, like Ben Affleck and Tobey Maguire, have reputations for being very skilled players, most of the big names known for playing poker probably aren't serious students of the game. You can see this when you sit down at tables with people who will make the most (statistically) ridiculous bets because they see poker as "gambling," and not a game of probabilities and long-term odds. Of course those people are really annoying when they get lucky and crack your aces with a 9-4 offsuit "because it's my birthday hand! Hahahah!" Grr, DIAF, you donkey.
Anyway, I found this book very interesting as a rags-to-riches-to-convicted-felon story of a former cocktail waitress, but Molly's Game is not really very much about poker. (Molly herself was never really a player, and I think her knowledge of the game never extended beyond what she needed to run it.) Instead, it's really a glimpse at celebrity culture and the world of the 1%-ers at play, and also a story about Molly herself, whom I found to be an interesting and somewhat sympathetic character, yet rather lacking in self-awareness for all that she writes a tell-all about herself.
One of the interesting things about her memoir is that she freely names names - big names. A few people she keeps obscured (like her original boss, the mysterious "Reardon"), but she talks openly about games involving Ben Affleck, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, A-rod, and numerous Hollywood executives and billionaires who also came to her games. Surprisingly enough, there really isn't a lot of "dirt" on any of them, since all she has to say is that they liked to play poker and play at being alpha males, as you'd expect.
Except Tobey Maguire, who really comes off as a dick in this book. According to Bloom, Maguire actually organized the games (using Bloom as his intermediary) for his own profit. His not-so-secret scheme was basically to go "whale fishing," luring very rich, very bad players to his game with his buddies like Leonardo DiCaprio, whose buy-ins he was actually paying for. It worked very well for Maguire, who has actually won poker championships, but as Bloom tells it, Maguire was cheap, a bad tipper, a sore loser, and eventually he squeezed Bloom out of the game because he resented the relatively small amount she was making for her work to keep it running. She tells about one night when he tried to make her "bark like a seal" for her tip after a game, and when she refuses, this seems to be the point where he starts moving to get rid of her.
All of that is interesting if you like celebrity gossip and poker stories, but I was also interested in Bloom's own development. She's never exactly bad, but it's clear that she went swimming with sharks, knowing what she was doing, and wanting to be involved in that world of money and glamour, but thinking she could somehow avoid becoming either a shark or shark-bait herself. The breakdown in her personal relationships, as she loses one rich boyfriend after another to her career ambitions, does not make her reconsider her life choices.
Eventually, having been essentially run out of Los Angeles (by Tobey Maguire, if her account of his behind the scenes machinations is correct), Bloom succeeds in starting up in New York City, running games for super-rich Wall Street types on a level above even what she was running in LA. Suddenly she is collecting a rake from games with $250K buy-ins, and making millions.
This is the point where she runs into organized crime. What struck me was her naivete - did she really think she could be running games like this in New York City and not attract the attention of the big boys? Apparently she did. Even when a couple of goons corner her and explain to her that she's just acquired some partners and how things are going to be, she thinks she can just say no thanks.
This works about as well as you'd expect, though she is saved from her own stupidity by a fortuitous major FBI operation that rounds up all the guys who were about to continue her education the following week. She flees back to Colorado, but in the aftermath of the FBI operation, her name gets dropped and eventually the FBI comes after her too.
Following the publication of her book, Bloom ended up getting a mere slap on the wrist, since her only role was basically to organize poker games. Although she was theoretically facing prison time, she got only probation and a $1000 fine. Of course, she'd also had all her previous proceeds confiscated, and now she's an unemployed ex-cocktail waitress with only a book to her credit.
My impression of Bloom, reading her own memoir, is that she was hungry for money and glory, but neither ruthless enough for that world nor scrupled enough to maintain boundaries. So it was no surprise that everything came crashing down. Still, it's clear she wasn't a hardened criminal, and the super-rich, entitled men she was organizing games for would certainly never face any consequences.
I'll be interested to see if Bloom is actually able to parlay this into any sort of meaningful future. According to her post-publication interviews, her current angle is trying to get it turned into a movie or TV deal... naturally.
This is the story of an attractive, sheltered, spoiled young woman who grew up in Colorado in a family where success was expected not pursued. Even though she made the US national ski team she appeared to live in the shadow of her other siblings and it didn't seem good enough for her father. Arriving in Los Angeles with no goals it isn't surprising she began as a waitress and caught the eye of a pompous blowhard. What follows is a lucrative but demeaning job as his assistant and eventually leads to the secret high end poker game with the likes of mediocre movie stars. This book feels like there's many details missing and probably for a very good reason. The writing is sophomoric which screams a Hollywood movie in the distant future.
This was a great story. The Poker Princess totally has won me over. Her life makes for a very entertaining read. Between the action of the game and the celebrity names involved, Molly’s Game is one hell of a ride.
Molly starts off with a life of privilege. Her father pushes her and her siblings, so no wonder she ends up on the on the US Ski team and take a medal, even after back surgery. That isn’t even the main issue in this story, it just shows her drive and determination not to fail. Once Molly hits LA for a year off of college she lands a job working for a hot headed hustler who gives her an education that takes her to the top of her game. Running games for him, she learns how to network and make the right contacts to eventually take over the game. What follows is a woman in her element and makes for one hell of an entertaining read.
Right from the start I was turning pages. This was a quick read but definitely worth it. I am sure there was a lot left out of this story. There was quite a bit of insider information and loads of celebrities in these games. To think Spider-Man Tobey Maguire was such a dick. Now the truth is out. Ben Afflack seemed like a pretty cool guy, but her old boss Reardon has some issues. Of course, we are only getting her side of the story, and the fact that she didn’t disclose in her book exactly what made her a felon was suspicious. Especially since she tried to follow the law throughout most of the story. It was a good read anyways.