It’s not often that the words notorious and poker slot together in seamless fashion, however, as delegates at SBC Summit Barcelona discovered, that is certainly the case when it comes to the incredible story of Molly Bloom.
Over the course of 30 fascinating minutes, a tale of determination, success, defeat, rebuilding, self forgiveness and much more was regaled to leave those watching captivated.
Inspired by advice issued by her mother many years earlier, Bloom recounted a focus of making people feel like James Bond for the evening in building, and eventually witnessing the collapse of, the largest private poker game in the world.
Recounting the shared experience of those in attendance, Bloom began with delight that those watching could, to a certain degree, understand the appeal and allure of the game at the centre of attention.
“This doesn’t always happen that I get up here to tell my story and the lessons and I know that their shared experience in this room. I learned more about the world about myself, about life, from running a gambling business,” began a story of the world’s largest and most notorious private poker game.
From a skiing passion that was ever so close to being curtailed, before determination overcame medical advice in the first example of determined motivation of the keynote, to a $4m a year income, one example of a $100m loss, armed Italian organised crime raiding a home and an FBI raid, Bloom held nothing back in telling her story.
“I learned more about the world about myself, about life, from running a gambling business”
However, away from the shock and awe of the details that accompany the saga, this is a story about innovation and, ultimately, the importance of self forgiveness to move beyond those obstacles, however big or small, that will inevitably be placed in front of us.
Following her skiing ambitions, Bloom told how she went down a different path from her family’s law school aspirations and moved to LA “for the sole purpose of just being warm for 12 months in a row”.
This eventually saw an opportunity present itself to serve drinks at a poker game, which she admittedly knew nothing about and included names such as Ben Affleck and Leonardo DiCaprio as well as the head of one of the biggest investment banks in the world and an unnamed politician.
The rest, as they say, is history, and this innocuous opportunity ended up changing Bloom’s life. From here a story that ventured across the globe, with key drop offs in Los Angeles and New York, was retold, which included low points of seemingly inevitable jail time to a contrasting night at the Oscars dazzled the audience.
However, it is with the concluding comments that Bloom perhaps resonated the most: “We have to reinvent ourselves from time to time. Sometimes the world falls on us and we don’t have a choice. But sometimes it’s in small, subtle ways.
“The dictionary says the opposite of reinvention is death and exploration. And so what I’ve learned from this fantastic journey in the gambling world, the sports world, from the ashes and ruination is that there’s always another chance another tomorrow, that if we believe in ourselves, if we’re willing to get uncomfortable and continue to walk through the fear, the discomfort, the the disbelief, from from people outside of us if we’re willing to take those calculated risks, and use our rational mind, but really, the sky’s the limit.”