Player X: The Truth Behind the Anonymous Players of Molly’s Game

10 months ago
Player X: The Truth Behind the Anonymous Players of Molly’s Game
16:39
23 Apr

Molly Bloom’s book was a tell-all celebrity gossip goldmine, for years Bloom ran a semi-legal poker game for the super-wealthy and the super-famous. In her book, Molly uses real names for many of the stories and dishes out plenty of juicy details

But when it came to putting the actors on film with A-list celebrities like Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba and Michael Cera the names from the book were anonymised and combined together to protect the guilty and the innocent.

Here are a few of the real life people who made it onto the big screen from the page.


1. Tobey Maguire is Player X

Where most of the characters at the table are composites representing the types of player who in Molly’s game. Michael Cera’s Player X has only a barely legally protective layer of doubt. Player X, is almost certainly based on Tobey Maguire.

The real story is even worse that Cera makes it look. Maguire liked manipulating people even tried to make Molly bark like a seal for a tip on one occasion. On another he insisted on using his own shuffling machine, then charged the other players for it.


2. Celebrity Pays...

Maguire was the lifeblood of the game however and eventually the man who took the game away from Molly. He used his Hollywood contacts to bring in players like Leonardo DiCaprio – an anti-social player who always wore headphones according to Bloom, and close friend of Maguire.

Celebrity was vital to the game, Ben Affleck was another regular (Bloom describes him as a lovely guy) and Edward Norton was supposed to have played, so did Paris Hilton’s ex-Rick Salomon who immediately asked Molly if she wanted to have sex with him.

A-Rod makes a special appearance in the book but doesn’t play in the game. However his presence affects all the players there, Molly noted. He came to drink in the atmosphere, the other players came for A-Rod.


3. ...But So Does Money...

Wealthy individuals like tech tycoon Alec Gores, or Andy Beal who are specifically named in Molly’s book were among the rich who who came to play with the famous.

Sometime the Billionaires would even answer in kind. The Olsen Twins attended one game with a business leader according to Bloom.


4. … And the Odd Shmuck

One other player in the film who has likely real life counterpart is Maguire’s biggest victim: Houston Curtis, the movie producer. In the film he is played by Bill Camp and renamed Eustace

The terrible deal Maguire sets up for him remains the same from book to screen:

“If what Houston told me was true, Tobey owned Houston now,” Bloom writes. “And they must have both known it. He owned 100 percent of his downside and was only realizing 50 percent of his wins, and he was the only one at the table who was playing for his mortgage.”

So that’s a few of the real faces obscured behind the movie magic.


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Jon is a freelance writer and novelist who learned to play poker after watching Rounders in year 9. He has been giving away his beer money at cards ever since. Currently he is based in Bristol where he makes sporadic donations to the occasional live tournament or drunken late night Zoom session. He ...Read more

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