by Molly Bloom
Some books can bring on feelings of nostalgia like no other. This true story told by Molly Bloom was just that. She tells her own tale of how she went from a talented skier from Colorado, to a poker madam making millions running secret poker games.
5/5 cups from Joey
After moving to LA she starts as a personal assistant for a man named Reardon in a very serendipitous and “LA” way. She was literally standing on the corner about to quit her job as a waitress. Reardon is pompous, intense, and a bit maniacal.
She gets a crash course in “how to make the impossible, possible”. This type of education would prove to be invaluable in her near future.
Reardon and his partners purchase a legendary club in LA, The Viper Room. Once they gain ownership Reardon starts running a high stakes, top secret poker game. He invites celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire, along with other acquaintances of extreme wealth. Molly soaks up as much of this knowledge as she can. She sets up the games every week, acts as liaison to the stars, and caters to Reardon and his guests’ every whim. She is compensated in generous tips from the players. Which only fuels her drive to make more magic happen, memorizing the details of their likes and dislikes and going above and beyond in service and attention to detail.
With this knowledge and now power, she takes over the game and Reardon couldn’t be more proud. She develops a healthy black book of celebrities, professional athletes, trust fund babies, hedge fund tycoons, and many other ridiculously wealthy men. These men are drawn to the exclusivity of the games, the opulence, and the risky stakes with buy-ins ranging from 10-250k.
Her life changes dramatically in the next few years with the onslaught of money, power, and respect also comes an onslaught of responsibility and expectation. But like all things that seem to good to be true, they usually are and she finds herself having to start over in New York when a competitor takes her weekly games in LA and makes them his own. Her success in New York is imminent, but doesn’t last long. All good things must come to an end and she is humble by a series of events that will change her life once again, dramatically.
I identify with Molly in so many ways. Not with who we are, but with the education we both received in hospitality and rubbing elbows with the wealthiest of wealthy. She made a name for herself in the poker world just as I had made a name for myself in Nightlife. She eventually got burnt out as did I, as do most people that work in the industry.
It’s a lesson in moderation for me, the more you do something the less special it seems.
Now, as a mother, champagne toasts are far and few in between. But I am able to appreciate them more. In the end I wouldn’t change a thing because much like Molly, it was one of the greatest adventures of my lifetime.
My husband and I just recently watched the movie “Molly’s Game” starring Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba. I am always curious if the book and movie are going to be similar or different. This one was pretty spot on as far as I was concerned. The only major difference is that it focused more on the aftermath of Molly’s "poker madam" career. It also had a very important and emotional scene with her and her father, played by Kevin Costner, that was really telling. I enjoyed the film almost as much as the book and was pleasantly surprised that my imagination was parallel to Aaron Sorkins depiction of the book.
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