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The real story behind Jessica Chastain's compelling new movie, Molly's Game.

Molly’s Game is a movie about high-stakes.

The biopic tells the story of Molly Bloom, the real life ‘Poker Princess’ who ran two high-stake poker games in the mid-2000s.

The book is based on Bloom’s memoir, Molly’s Game: From Hollywood Elite to Wall Street’s Billionaire Boy’s Club, My High-Stakes Adventure in the World of Underground Poker.

Bloom’s games attracted some of the biggest names in Hollywood, along with professional athletes and Russian mobsters.

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For a brief moment Bloom was the very definition of a high roller, but then it all fell apart.

From Loveland, Colorado, Bloom started out as a skier with Olympic dreams, and the talent and family connections to back it up.

Her father, Larry Bloom, is a clinical psychologist and a professor at Colorado State University. Her mother, Char, was a ski and snowboard instructor who also had her own line of clothing.

One of her brothers, Jeremy, is a two-time Olympian, who was drafted by the NFL, and went on to be named by Forbes as one of the 30 most influential people in technology under the age of 30.

The other is a Harvard Medical School graduate.

“Literally, if you weren’t the best in the world in my family, it wasn’t impressive,” Bloom writes in her memoir. “I was looking for this thing that was going to make me feel fulfilled inside.”

At 12 years old Bloom underwent a seven hour surgery to fuse together 11 of her vertebrae with the help of metals rods. The surgery healed her scoliosis and with years of intense training she made it onto the US ski team.

After winning a bronze medal, Bloom decided to step away from the slopes and build a new dream.

In 2003, Bloom moved to Los Angeles and started working as a cocktail waitress.

There she met Darin Feinstein, one of the co-owners of New York’s notorious Viper Room. In 2004, Tobey Maguire approached Feinstein about hosting a high-stakes poker game in the basement of the club. Feinstein asked Bloom to run the game and cater to the players.

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In 2007, Bloom started her own business, registering Molly Bloom Inc as an event and catering company to run her poker tournaments.

By the next year, the game had grown so large Bloom moved it to one of the player’s houses and then to the Four Seasons, The Beverly Hills Hotel and The Peninsula. The she moved the game to New York City to cater to the Wall Street high rollers.

In the years it was active the game attracted big name Hollywood stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Macaulay Culkin and Ben Affleck.

For a while Bloom was on top of her game, but then her past – and the law – caught up with her.

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In 2010, she was served with a $US116,133 tax bill for failing to pay the appropriate taxes on her New York events.

The next year, one of Bloom’s LA games was shut down as part of a bankruptcy investigation into a Ponzi scheme run by Bradley Ruderman, one of the players.

On April 16, 2013, Bloom, along with 13 others, was arrested and charged as part of a $100 million money laundering and illegal sports gambling operation.

She was 34 years old and facing a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Bloom ended up pleading guilty to a lesser charge and was sentenced to just one year probation, a $1000 fine, and 200 hours of community service.

The movie chronicles Bloom’s epic rise in the underground poker world and how it all eventually came crashing down.

Molly’s Game is in cinemas from February 1.

To read more from Keryn Donnelly, follow her on Facebook.

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