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Publisher's Summary

Molly Bloom reveals how she built one of the most exclusive, high-stakes underground poker games in the world - an insider's story of excess and danger, glamour and greed.

In the late 2000s, Molly Bloom, a twenty something petite brunette from Loveland Colorado, ran the highest stakes, most exclusive poker game Hollywood had ever seen - she was its mistress, its lion tamer, its agent, and its oxygen. Everyone wanted in, few were invited to play.

Hundreds of millions of dollars were won and lost at her table. Molly's game became the game for those in the know - celebrities, business moguls, and millionaires. Molly staged her games in palatial suites with beautiful views and exquisite amenities. She flew privately, dined at exclusive restaurants, hobnobbed with the heads of Hollywood studios, was courted by handsome leading men, and was privy to the world's most delicious gossip, until it all came crashing down around her.

Molly's Game is a behind the scenes look at Molly's game, the life she created, the life she lost, and what she learned in the process.

©2014 Molly Bloom (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    18

Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great until it’s Not

Great story. Great details. Great suspense..... And then it wasn’t. The end, more specifically, the last 45 mins, feels rushed. All the details throughout, and we get very few on the conclusion. Other than that, great narration and great listen.

57 of 59 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Great book. Zero payoff. *Semi-Spoilers*

I loved this book. Until the end and you feel like listening to it was time supremely wasted. She writes this wonderful story and then out of nowhere her entire life she worked so hard for is taken from her and she never really explains why. Also she loses tens of millions when the government siezes it and she implies that she just moves on with her life as if shit happens. It's over 10 hours of interesting story and then in less than 30 minutes she quickly ends the book with no explanation as to what happened and why it happened. OK then. It was entertaining but had no ending and makes you feel like you wasted all that time. Also makes you wonder how honest her story is without a real ending. If I was totally innocent and someone took everything from me I wouldnt just say oh well let's move on. Maybe that's just me. Whatever. I give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars for the first 2/3 of the story and 1 star for the ending. Very disappointing indeed.

101 of 106 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Money still seems to be everything

I bought this book after I saw the movie, and this is one, rare case where the movie was better. In this story, Molly seems still highly preoccupied with things—expensive things—and still unaware of the creeps with whom she did business. Nothing much is discussed about her substance abuse, her inner self, her motivations, her human relationships, save her one love, Eugene, and the myriad of assholes along the way to her millions. It left me bereft of sympathy for her. People don’t fall in with “the wrong crowd,” as a parent might say. They find THEIR crowd, and hers was a pack of assholes, who lived for money, wealth, pleasure, and were parasites. The movie, however, developed a person who had lost sight of her ethos, had an ethos (important to a protagonist), and pled guilty to save others. I guess that’s Hollywood, but I preferred their version and hope it was the truer version of events. This reads more like “I’ve no regrets,” of which I cannot imagine anyone With whom I could sympathize or who I could like and who chose her life would say. She insightfully says that everyone in LA is either on their way up or down but no one can hold on to anything resembling stasis. I agree with this statement, and it says more about that culture of cut-Throat ambition, gluttonous consumption, and emptiness than anything else she says as she discusses her love of the game, risks, and lifestyle she sought and loved. That she held on to her life there and in NYC for as long as she did says much to me about her absence of a creed for herself and humanity, but that is a judgement coming from someone 20 years her senior. In short, she got caught up and got literally caught, but only that stopped her—not the realization that she had attempted to fill her emptiness with stuff instead of the only thing that nurtures humanness, Love. That may be a byproduct of her life now—something the movie illustrates—but it is not evident in this book, so it falls short in my estimation, and it actually depressed me. I hope this lady is everything that the movie decries and not the lady this book depicts.

29 of 31 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

You were workin' as a waitress in a cocktail bar..

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 basically she's 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.

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 jerk in this book. According to Bloom, Tobey 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.

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.

45 of 50 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Insiders tale

Molly holds little back, and she names names (in most cases). Entertaining story of an unusual life told first-hand. Recommended.

20 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Over the top

What a story! So hard to remember that this is a true story. You really feel like you were right there with Molly every step of the way. and then when the story ends... you are just shocked and can't believe what you just read... or listened to. great narration of an incredible story.

18 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

The protagonist is very annoying

Driving across the country I found myself w limited entertainment options, so I pretty much “hate” listened this one. Molly Bloom attempts to convince the reader/listener that she accomplished something noteworthy, she didn’t...

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Addicted to wealth, glamour and risk were her undoing.

It meant a lot that this tale really happened although it unfolded like a fictional thriller. It was fascinating to see how Molly figured every detail out in creating her poker game business. She’s very intelligent on many levels. She could apply her keen awareness to almost anything and succeed. Her addiction to the big bucks, the glamour and the intensity of high risk wealthy gamblers was her undoing. I hope she finds another path. I like her.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

I'll bet the movie will be better than the book

Slow in development, but interesting story. it did drag in places. i am sure the screen play will bring more story lines.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable

Great book quite riveting. It does seem a lot is overlooked in terms of the mafia and the russians. But its interesting to learn that so much of hollywoods elite are either super generous or completely arrogant controlling ingrates such as Tobey Maguire. The high stakes world is pretty crazy, wouldve been good to hear what happened with Reardon since after she took the game over we dont hear about him again.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Robin Waite
  • 12-20-17

Excellent and Compelling

A really brilliant and compelling story. I flew through the audiobook which was narrated so well it pulled me straight into the guts of the story. Thoroughly recommended listening.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ross
  • 07-25-17

Interesting insight into the high stakes world

Any additional comments?

The book provided an interesting insight into the high stakes world, as told by Molly Bloom through her autobiography. I was drawn in by the recognisable names such as Toby Maguire and Ben Affleck as well as the eye-watering stakes that were in play.

The book fell short in 2 areas for me, which is why I have given it 4 rather than 5 stars. Firstly, the narration could be annoying at times, with the female narrator impersonating Bloom's squealing friends by squealing through the dialogue. Secondly, I would have preferred for there to be more focus on the poker content than on Bloom's personal life - I think it is the poker that draws most people to this book and at times Bloom is vague on detail in this area.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • James H
  • 09-23-16

Exciting, Adventure, Great True Story

Absolutely loved it. Molly is an incredible girl, very smart and switched on. Her drive and passion gave her such an interesting career and it was so brilliant to hear about it in her own words. Great adventure and no dull moments. I think this is going to be a film next year, so excited to see what they do with it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Fraser
  • 04-19-16

great book

i knew nothing about this book and bought it anyway as it was recommended by audible. i like to play poker and like reading players biographies and this book turned out to be excellent. finding out about high stakes private games and the authors story of making it to the top of hosting games was great. highly recommend.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-26-15

Worth a listen

Interesting story, especially if interested in poker or even if not interested in poker. Worth a listen although narrator somewhat annoying.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Trebor
  • 10-04-14

Great Story

Very enjoyable. If only half of it is true then she has had a wondeful lfe.
Some of the Hollywood characters do not come out of it in a favourable light.
Interesting to know who they are. I googled her name after listening to the book to find out what happened to her.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Miss
  • 02-11-18

Great read

Saw the film first but the book is a must read as it fills in lots of gaps. Great story and hope that Molly goes on to do something stunning with he rest of her life.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Muggie
  • 01-13-18

interesting account

interesting story, but it doesn't really have the highs and lows I was expecting, I exoect the film will add those in.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • michael ryan
  • 01-11-18

Nothing uplifting about the story

There is nothing uplifting about Molly Bloom’s story. There are no like-able characters. There is no redemption. There are more worthy stories to spend one’s time on.