Molly’s Game by Molly Bloom – Book Review

Title: Molly’s Game

Author: Molly Bloom

Genre/Themes: Memoir, Underground Poker, Celebrities, Hollywood Elite, Wall Street Billionaires, Criminal Underworld, Glamour, Money, Power, Greed

Blurb from Goodreads

When Molly Bloom was a little girl in a small Colorado town, she dreamed of 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. She ultimately got more than she ever could have bargained for.

In Molly’s Game, she takes you through her adventures running an exclusive high-stakes private poker game catering to Hollywood royalty like Leonardo DiCaprio and Ben Affleck, athletes, billionaires, politicians, and financial titans.

With rich detail, Molly describes a world of glamour, privilege, and secrecy in which she made millions, lived the high life, and fearlessly took on the Russian and Italian mobs, until she met the one adversary she could not outsmart: the United States government.

It’s the story of how a determined woman gained – and then lost – her place at the table, and of everything she learned about poker, love, and life in the process.

My Review

Molly’s Game is a memoir written by Molly Bloom about her time as the *poker princess* when she was responsible for organising high stakes poker games among Hollywood’s elite, business tycoons and other stonkingly rich types and how she subsequently fell foul of the FBI.

Molly’s story only recently came to my attention because this book has been adapted into a biopic written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, and starring Jessica Chastain.

Molly’s story is couched as that of a small-town girl who has spent her life in the shadows of her supremely talented brothers moving to the big bad city trying to prove herself.

And though it makes for a fascinating read this character painting of herself that Bloom tries to create grated on me for the whole novel.

Molly Bloom is clearly a savvy woman. She is supremely intelligent who could buy and sell us all with how much grit and determination she has shown in her life…

But I couldn’t help feeling that I was being slightly manipulated by her interpretation of the events. However, I guess that is very much the way of life. That everyone sees themselves as some sort of victim type character. Granted, in the book’s epilogue she does accept a certain amount of responsibility for her lifestyle.

The story she tells however, is utterly compelling and makes for a great read.

While elegance of prose may not be her strongest suit the account she gives of her life as the poker princess is gripping.

It’s a fascinating insight into the murky world of gambling among the elite especially when it name-drops people such as Hollywood actors Tobey Maguire, Ben Affleck and Leonardo DiCaprio. Who doesn’t want to know what life is like when you can risk exorbitant amounts of money without a second’s thought.

However, according to Molly she could have name-dropped a great many more people but she still believes in discretion. A sort of honour among gamblers. And has only revealed the names of people already known to have been involved in these sorts of games.

Although, if you’re like me and you didn’t know the story at all prior to reading the book, then it’s so interesting. Especially all she reveals about Tobey Maguire. He comes off looking like one heck of a jerk. There’s a scene where he makes a very odd demand / request of Molly that is nothing short of demeaning and dehumanising.

Money, power, ego, sex, greed…

It’s at the heart of this book and when you sit back and think about the massive sums of money that all these gamblers were playing with it’s rather unsettling. Especially the New York games with the more businessman types… Not nice to think about how these powerful men with so much say in society can be involved in such shady activity.

Overall Molly’s Game is book that I recommend more for the fascinating insight into this little known underworld rather than a book recommended for merit of writing.

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