133: Poker, Hollywood Elite, Billionaires, the Mob, and the FBI with Molly Bloom

On this episode of Build Your Network, Host Travis Chappell interviews Molly Bloom an inspirational keynote speaker, entrepreneur, and best-selling author.

Here’s what Travis and Molly discuss in this episode:

  • About Molly Bloom
    • She’s most excited about how different her life looks at the moment.
    • She hoped creating her book and movie would create financial resources where there were none.
    • She’s getting the opportunity to speak and working on another book.
  • Give us a birds-eye view of your story.
    • She was a serious student and athlete skiing for the U.S. ski team.
    • She tripped on a stick at the olympic qualifier.
    • She moved to L.A. and became a waitress at a poker game that wasn’t just any game.
      • There were major famous players at this game and she saw a business opportunity.
    • 8 years later she was running the largest most successful poker ring and towed the line of illegality.
    • Eventually the Feds and the mob got involved.
    • She lost everything and at one point she was dealing with the FBI, the IRS, the department of justice, the Russian mob and the Italian mob.
    • She then decided to treat the story like a startup and used it to bail her out.
    • She decided to meet with Aaron Sorkin and pitched the story to him.
    • The movie came out and was nominated for tons of awards.
  • Was it weird having someone play you in a movie and did you have any say in who that was?
    • Once Aaron signed on, all the big name actresses wanted to play Molly.
    • Jessica Chastain uses her platform in real life and she was excited.
    • She didn’t really get a say in who played her.
  • Walk us through your emotions when your boss said he would no longer pay you for being an assistant.
    • She knew what she wanted to do with the game and she wasn’t going to give up that easily.
    • She was always trying to add more value and be the hardest working person in the room.
    • True failure is to not give it a shot.
    • She was making six figures in tips and that was a lot to be taken from her.
    • She then started her own game and invited everyone.
  • What were you thinking when you started your own game and had to tell your boss.
    • She thought he was going to kill her, he ended up telling her he was proud of her.
    • That was a teaching moment for her.
  • One of the celebrities decided that she was making too much money and took the game from her.
    • She decided to go make a Wall Street game.
    • She thought there was a direct correlation between traders and gambling.
    • She moved to New York when Wall Street was a mess and brought what she learned in L.A.
    • She was selling an experience, but this time she didn’t want to be replaced.
    • She decided to bankroll the game so she wouldn’t be expendable.
    • Minimum buy-in for the game was $250,000.
  • What was the biggest pot you remembered seeing on the table?
    • It was common for them to get up to $5 million.
    • She saw someone lose $100 million in one night.
    • She was trying to grow the game and it wasn’t intelligent growth.
      • She was getting stiffed a lot.
      • She was in fear and allowing a massive game to go on happened out of fear.
    • How much of your story stemmed from the way you were raised?
      • She was raised as a competitor and that played into it.
      • Up until this point she never developed a sense of worth that was complete on the inside.
      • Her self-worth and self-esteem was being sought on the outside.
    • She started racking up a debt sheet.
      • She had collectible debt of $3 million and $2.5 in uncollectible.
      • This is where the mob gets involved.
      • They called her for weeks and then showed up at her apartment and beat her.
      • She had the New York Times delivered and she then saw the the mobsters who beat her were arrested.
      • She got ready to go to one of her games and then the FBI was there.
      • She tried to book a flight home and all her credit cards were declined because her accounts were seized.
    • What experience through all of this was the most frightening?
      • Having a gun in her mouth and then dealing with the Feds.
    • Can you talk about how the psychology of persuasion helped you control a room of powerful men.
      • She knew how to defuse bombs in the room when aggression showed up.
      • When people fought with each other, she could stop an argument before it happened.
    • What were some of the biggest networking skills you picked up?
      • The best tactic was truly caring about people and what was going on in their lives.
      • As humans we have an inherent curiosity, indulge in that because connections are really important.
      • When you make people feel important, it will get you everywhere.
      • You have to decide who and what you need in the world.
      • Meditation is important and she knew she needed to create a habit.
    • How well do you think Kevin Costner portrayed your dad in the movie?
      • Her dad was really tough on her, like a coach – it didn’t feel like he loved her.
      • Her relationship with her dad is great now.
    • Do you believe that what you know or who you know is more important, and why?
      • She’s always learned from other people.
      • She treats the people she meets as a graduate class, you can jump the learning curve.

The Random Round:

  • What profession other than your own do you think it would be fun to attempt?
    • Lawyer
  • If you could sit on a park bench with anyone for an hour who would it be, and why?
    • Einstein
  • How do you like to consume content?
    • Books
  • What is a book you would recommend.
    • Untethered Soul
  • Give us a glimpse of your morning routine?
    • Wake up around 5am
    • Meditate for 20 minutes.
    • Go to a 12-step program
    • Does hot yoga.
    • Tries to spend the rest of the day in that head space.
  • What is your go-to pump up song?
    • It varies, sometimes Eminem’s 8-mile soundtrack
  • What is something that you are not very good at?
    • Cooking
  • Have you been able to keep your network in tact?
    • She’s built a completely different network.
    • She’s more interested in impact.
  • What is one place where we can find you the most?
    • Instagram or Twitter @immollybloom

Tweetable Quotes:

  • True failure is to not give it a shot.
  • I had to do some work to get some humility and return to reasonability.
  • If you can sit and focus on your breath for 20 minutes in the morning, your life will change.

Resources Mentioned:

Buildyournetwork.co – Podcast website

BYN.media/fb – Facebook Group

Molly’s Game – Molly Bloom’s Book

Untethered Soul – book by Michael Singer

Headspace app


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