The phrase “like a phoenix rising from the ashes” has been thrown around, but the life story of Molly Bloom helps you envision it. Imagine having your aspirations taken away from you, then becoming a multimillionaire from a job you had to teach yourself. Unfortunately, greed always gets the best of us, and Molly Bloom’s net worth went from millions of dollars to a mere $500,000. Luckily, no situation is permanent, and now that she has learned her lesson, we hope she will make better financial decisions. Here’s is her story.
Determined To Be Successful
Bloom has said on several occasions that she was born into a family of high achievers. Her father was a professor at Colorado State University and a clinical psychologist. On the other hand, her mother, Char Bloom, owned a clothing line and fly fishing company. Additionally, according to ValiantCEO, Char was a snowboard and ski instructor who instilled the love for skiing in her children when they were young. As a result, Jeremy Bloom, one of Bloom’s brothers, became a three-time World Champion, two-time Olympic skier, and 11-time World Cup Gold Medalist. He also was later drafted in the NFL. Bloom’s other brother, Jordan, works at Massachusetts General Hospital as a cardiothoracic surgeon.
With the bar already set high, young Bloom had no alternative but to follow in her family’s footsteps. Her mother began coaching her into becoming an Olympic skier by taking the family to the slopes during winter. Bloom wanted to make her parents proud. Therefore, despite suffering from scoliosis at the age of 12 and undergoing surgery, Bloom was still ready to go back to skiing. As she told Vulture, even when donning a headgear and a back brace, she thought she had everything going for her. Consequently, after surgery, the young girl was ready to make it to the Olympics.
In 1996, she graduated from Loveland High School and joined the University of Colorado to study political science. It was still part of her quest to become an Olympian since the institution is reputed for producing Winter Olympians. Bloom made the U.S. Ski Team in her sophomore year and placed third overall in moguls, a freestyle skiing discipline. Unfortunately, her dream to be in the Olympics was cut short in 1998. As she prepared for the qualifying run for the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, Bloom had a horrific crash. Besides crashing her Olympics dreams, the accident also took away her aspirations to become a lawyer. She had taken her LSATs and applied to top-tier law schools but only returned to finish her degree. She wanted some time off to deal with the grief of burying her career aspirations thus took a break and went to Los Angeles.
Making Million from Poker
According to Los Angeles Times, her parents, especially Bloom’s father was not pleased with his daughter’s decision to go to L.A. They, therefore, cut her off, and Bloom had to sleep on a friend’s couch as she searched for a job. She worked several jobs including, waitressing and bartending. She finally became an executive assistant to Darin Feinstein, a real estate entrepreneur who co-owned The Viper Room, a nightclub. The two met had when Feinstein nearly ran over an absent-minded Bloom with his Mercedes. He was captivated by her charming looks and offered her the job of an executive assistant. One night, he asked the Bloom to help him manage an underground poker game that Tobey Maguire suggested they host. She was in a room with about ten rich and powerful people, and they tipped her at the end of the night. She recalled making $3,000 that night, more money than she had ever made in the entire month. Impressed with how lucrative the game was, Bloom decided to learn the ropes of the game while still getting hands-on experience from her job. Within a year, she was ready to start her own games. Despite not going to Harvard and becoming an Olympian, Bloom felt powerful controlling the list of who could play. She could even afford to bankroll and extend credit. According to Tie Breaker, she earned more than $4 million annually from tips alone. However, she wanted more because her athletic background resulted in her having a huge appetite for risk. Therefore she left L.A., upping the stakes to $250,000 buy-in poker games in New York.
Back to Square One
Unfortunately, everything started going downhill fast. Bloom could no longer stay sober to keep the business going for 24 hours; therefore, Bloom turned to alcohol and drugs. Her bankrolling began eating into her profits, and the Russian mob wanted to offer her protection. She was not interested in their offer, and they battered her. Besides the physical, emotional, and mental wounds that Bloom had to heal, her financial status was about to be affected a swell. The FBI was on the hunt for an underground poker ring, and since she had been illegally taking commissions, Bloom’s blooming poker-dealing career was about to crash. The FBI raided one of her games, seized her money, and froze her assets. She was eventually arrested and sentenced to five years unless she named her accomplices in the poker ring. Bloom did not divulge any information, and her mother had to sell her house to bail her out of jail. Her attorney had also put his firm up to vouch for Bloom, and in 2014, a sympathetic judge sentenced Bloom to one-year probation, 200 hours of community service, and $1,000. Also, she had to forfeit $125,000 from the poker games she operated. Since she was already drowning in millions of dollars of debts, the one-time multimillionaire was broke. She figured she could turn her story into a monetized asset by writing a book. She caught a break when Harper Collins offered her $45,000 for the book. It became a bestseller, and Aaron Sorkin thought it made a great movie; thus, “Molly’s Game” was produced. Having experienced riches and poverty, she is now determined to empower women and create a network of female entrepreneurs.
Written by Allen Lee
Read more posts by Allen Lee