In all the talk of the secretive, high-stakes poker games that attracted Hollywood celebrities, one name comes up time and again: Molly Bloom. The so-called “poker princess” organized and hosted some of the biggest underground poker games in America, with big names like Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon said to take part in the action.
Now, Bloom’s story is being told to the public. In her new memoir Molly’s Game: From Hollywood’s Elite to Wall Street’s Billionaire Boys Club, My High-Stakes Adventure in the World of Underground Poker, she is revealing what went on behind closed doors at her poker games, some of which she says saw as much as $2 million in play. They were also very lucrative for her: she says she earned up to $4 million a year as the hostess for the high-stakes cash games.
Affleck Said to be Big Winner
For poker players, the most interesting bits from the book are likely to be about who was winning and losing at the tables. According to reports, Bloom had particularly positive things to say about Batman Ben Affleck‘s poker abilities, something that doesn’t come as a surprise, considering his rather public infatuation with the game and casino gambling in general.
“He didn’t stay all night like a lot of the guys,” Bloom told People. “He always had a specific time when he would stand up at the table. He would leave at a reasonable hour. He never lost a great deal. He usually won.”
That sort of information might create a little buzz among the general public as well. But the real draw of Bloom’s book to most readers will probably be the gossip about various celebrities who found themselves in her games, which were also populated by professional athletes and the ultra-rich.
Bloom Shares Stories About Maguire, DiCaprio and Others
For instance, Bloom reportedly started with a good relationship with Tobey Maguire when the games first started, but one that soured as time when on. She recalls a time when he asked her to “bark like a seal” for a $1,000 chip. Bloom refused.
“It wasn’t like I was just hosting this game and bringing drinks to people,” she said. “I was doing a lot of the background to make it sustainable and come up with new players and new ideas. So I didn’t appreciate the fact that he hassled me about the money I was making and publicly humiliated me.”
Bloom also wrote that Leonardo DiCaprio “had a strange style at the table…almost as if he wasn’t trying to win or lose,” and that celebrities were always allowed into the venues for the games even if they weren’t playing, despite the fact that the meetings were meant to be discreet.
Bloom’s career as a poker hostess came to an abrupt end last year when she was among more than 30 people charged in connection with an international gambling ring with connections to Russian organized crime. Bloom was charged with running underground poker games at The Plaza hotel in New York, where Hollywood stars and professional athletes often shared the table with local business executives.
Ultimately, both prosecutors and the judge saw her role as a hostess who collected rake from the poker games as a minor one in the overall case. That meant that while she pleaded guilty to the charges against her last December, she was only sentenced to one year of probation.