Molly’s Game by Molly Bloom is, from the author’s point of view, a true account of one woman’s remarkable ability to see opportunity and innovatively carve her own empire out of a niche previously dominated by males. Many of the males were hustlers, conmen, professional poker players, and members of criminal enterprises such as the Mafia or the Russian Mob. While male members of the mentioned groups all seem to have shadowy or incomplete backgrounds with little regard for anything described as a moral compass, Bloom decided to take a higher road. She did not employ criminal enforcers to collect a player debt. She did not resort to vicious gossip strategies to destroy the reputations of reluctant payers. She took a more relaxed, feminine approach. She simply cut off their rights to play. Sounds like a stern Mommy figure.
Why should she be telling the truth in this novel? We don’t completely know that she is but we have indications that lead one to believe what she has said/written is the truth. Without an independent investigation, we might never know if some things were left out. Lying by omission is still lying. This is a work of non-fiction. There are names of high-profile celebrities, sports figures, and wealthy businessmen which can aid those who want to investigate further to corroborate or refute information Bloom claims. For me, Bloom’s credibility rings true after a look at the final plea agreement and sentence imposed. Some in the judicial system believed her because the only jail time Bloom served after initial arrest was while she was waiting for bail to be posted.
Many people do not realize that in a nation with fifty states and a federal system there are at least fifty-one systems of law that cover different activities, in this case, gambling. Violation of federal rules brings a suspect into a federal court anywhere in the United States. A person can violate State law and be brought into State court but there are fifty different standards which are why lawyers pass State licensing requirements. Bloom consulted lawyers and was careful not to violate laws against illegal gambling. She did not take a portion of winnings (gambling term: “the rake”). She did not charge management fees. Those kinds of things might be illegal. She did, however, accept gifts or tips. Essentially, Molly Bloom was an event organizer.
Bloom does not write of her plea bargain as far as probation, community service, or fines. For that, go to Wikipedia and the sources listed at the bottom of the Wikipedia page. As with others who deal in vast sums of cash money (millions) Bloom seems to have attracted the notice of the IRS. The fine levied against her was small compared to the cash flow she indicates took place during her event organizing. Any account of dealing with the IRS belongs in my favorite genre: Horror.
Bloom recounts her childhood in a family of superstars, super performers, and a controlling, demanding father. Molly claims that she just wanted to be acknowledged as being good in her own right. Placing on an Olympic Ski team might seem worthy of accolades. This memoir reveals that her accomplishment, after recovering from serious disabling surgery such that doctors said she could not do what she in fact accomplished, did not garner the positive reinforcement she desired. She decided to listen to a different drummer.
I found her story amazing. There is no course or set of instructions she could follow to accomplish what she did. It was personal bravado, persistence, and chutzpah that allowed her to succeed. What brought her down was a combination of petty jealousy and true criminal activity on the part of some of her acquaintances. She was truly judged on the basis of the company she kept. I gave this four Amazon stars.