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"POKER PRINCESS" LEAVES MORE THAN HER CARDS ON THE TABLE

Updated: Jan 17

Most 20-something’s who come to Hollywood are looking for fame and fortune. After growing up as a competitive skier in Colorado, Molly Bloom just wanted some warm, year-round sunshine. What she found instead was the shadowy world of high-stakes poker and a path that would ultimately lead to her arrest by the FBI and the IRS demanding thousands in unpaid taxes.


In 2001, Bloom took a job as a cocktail waitress in Los Angeles’ Viper Room, where she helped run poker games. Players included actors such as Toby Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Ben Affleck. She discovered she had a talent for running the games. In a single year, Bloom earned over $4 million in tips.


Early in her career, Bloom legally paid taxes on her income but things became shady in 2009 when Bloom relocated to New York and started her own underground games. To encourage players to keep playing, Bloom began to extend credit. But, after getting stiffed $250,000, Bloom began illegally taking a percentage of the pot. The IRS, of course, doesn’t care how one earns their money. Legal or not, you are required to pay taxes on that money.


In 2011, the government came knocking – or, more accurately, 17 FBI agents armed with automatic weapons crashed through her door.


The government seized all her money and the IRS demanded she cough up nearly $1 million she owed in back taxes. Charged with a federal crime, Bloom could have spent years in a federal prison. However, the judge determined she was just a minor player in the gambling ring. In 2014, Bloom was sentenced to one year of probation, 200 hours of community service, and a fine of $1,000.


Although Bloom got a Hollywood ending, she’s aware of how lucky she is. Gifted with a second chance, Bloom is negotiating with the IRS to figure out a payment plan for her restitution and has launched a service to help women succeed in their own business ventures.





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