Poker Coverage: Poker Tournaments Casino News Sports Betting Poker Strategy

Gambler Lost $100M In Single Night And Paid The Following Day, Molly Bloom Says

Was The Game The Most Expensive Ever On U.S. Soil?


Did former poker organizer Molly Bloom witness the biggest gambling loss ever?

The film adaptation of Bloom’s 2014 memoir hit U.S. theaters on Christmas Day, and to promote the project Bloom has been making her interview rounds. In a recent chat with Ellen DeGeneres, Bloom revealed the biggest poker loss she ever saw first-hand.

“I saw someone lose $100 million in a night,” Bloom told DeGeneres.

“$100 million?” DeGeneres asked incredulously.

“$100 million,” said Bloom, “and he paid the next day.”

Bloom said the buy-in for her most expensive and exclusive games, which ran in L.A. and later New York City, was $250,000. That was presumably the minimum buy-in. According to Bloom, it wasn’t unheard of for someone to lose an entire buy-in in the first few hands of the evening.

“This game was populated by some of the world’s most famous, wealthiest, and most powerful men,” she said in a Business Insider interview. “My regular game in New York City was a $250,000 buy-in, no limit. So people were burning through that, a lot of times in the first 30 minutes.”

Getty/BloombergThe $100 million loss raised a lot of red flags for her. The game, which took a rake, eventually fell into the cross-hairs of federal prosecutors in the early 2010s.

“When you watch that, as an owner-operator of a game, you realize that these numbers are incredibly unsustainable, incredibly unhealthy,” Bloom recounted. “So, I was not happy about this loss. It brought me no joy or adrenaline. I recognized it as really unhealthy and unsustainable.”

Celebrities in her games, which kicked off around the height of the poker boom in the mid-2000s, included Alex Rodriguez, Dan Bilzerian, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Toby Maguire and Nick Cassavetes, as well as billionaires such as Alec Gores and Andy Beal.

Beal, as the poker community knows, etched his name into poker history thanks to his losses between 2004-2006 against the “Corporation,” which was a group of bankroll-pooling poker players that included the likes of Phil Ivey, Jennifer Harman, Doyle and Todd Brunson. Beal lost more than $16 million alone in a heads-up match versus Ivey.

Bloom took a plea deal and received probation in 2014 for her poker games, which were linked to a wider illegal gambling operation involving Russian organized crime. A lawyer for the former Olympic-class skier said she profited $1 million for her work hosting the games.

That’s a pretty small sum considering the amount of money exchanging hands.

None of the aforementioned celebrities and businessmen were accused of any wrongdoing. However, Maguire was sued in 2011 over his winnings in the game, because one of the game’s participants, businessman Brad Ruderman, was orchestrating a Ponzi scheme. The government said that Ruderman lost about $25 million of investor money in the poker games.