A federal judge in New York decided that hosting illegal high stakes poker games for the rich and famous did not warrant a stay in jail and instead dealt a sentence of one year of probation to Molly Bloom, known widely as the “Poker Princess.”
Bloom hosted games in large cities throughout the country in which Hollywood stars, business executives, and professional athletes competed. While film stars such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Tobey Maguire were reportedly among those who played, none have been charged with any wrongdoing.
Bloom was one of 33 individuals who were charged with wrongdoing, receiving indictments in a federal gambling sting that had alleged ties to the Russian mob and money laundering. Just days ago, one of those defendants, art dealer Hillel “Helly” Nahmad, received a year and a day in the slammer after pleading guilty to his role in running an illict sports betting operation.
Along with one year of making regular visits to a probation officer, Bloom must also pay a $1,000 fine and complete 200 hours of community service. The 36-year-old, sister of World Cup skiing gold medalist Jeremy Bloom, admitted to U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman before her sentencing that hosting the games had been a mistake, but that she was now intent on using the experience as an “opportunity for growth.”
That opportunity will come in the form of a book entitled “Molly’s Game” that’s scheduled to hit book shelves next month. According to AP, HarperCollins is promoting Bloom’s memoir as a tell-all that will put readers right on the rail of those high stakes poker games in swanky hotels.
The original charge Bloom faced of operating an illegal gambling business carried with it a maximum punishment of five years in prison. In December, the Poker Princess pled guilty to a lesser charge that allowed the judge to decide on a penalty ranging from probation to six months in jail.
Bloom’s attorney successfully argued for leniency, claiming that Bloom at first only accepted tips from players until a co-host suggested that a rake be taken from each pot.