Molly's Game Review: Ski Ace to Poker Boss with Mafia Ties

Molly's Game Review

/ 10 min

Visualise a poker game in a dark basement of a well-known LA bar. The players are A-list Hollywood actors and directors, Silicon Valley CEOs, rockstars, athletes and politicians. To get a seat, they need to pay $10000 each. And guess who’s keeping tabs of the stake scores? Molly Boom, our main character in this epic tale.

CasinoAlpha’s team of authors are casino specialists and movie fanatics. So, who’s better to review Molly’s Game, the 2017 flick about underground, dangerous poker games? Let’s go!

Spoiler alert!

We must warn our readers that this text contains details about the movie that some may consider spoilers. If you don’t want to know the story in-depth, stream the film and return to our Molly’s Game review later.

Molly's Game review: how the plot unfolded

This is almost the perfect story!

Our ratings

What we rate Notes we gave
Plot rate 9
Text adaptation rate 10
Overall story 9.5
IMDB Rating 7.4/10

The movie’s motto:

“Molly Bloom: You know what makes you feel okay about losing? Winning.”

We believe this is the driving force behind all the action.


As powerful as Molly’s words are, we have to say this up top: Chasing your losses is a gambler’s fallacy. Learn from us how your brain changes when you gamble and how to battle that from gambling addiction prevention strategies that you can use yourself.

What we learned about the storyline! – Mark: 9/10

This is an accurate representation of how getting starved for control can get to your demise.

Molly Bloom, a real-life ex Ski champion, gets into an unfortunate accident that almost kills her, as she fractures her spinal cord with severe damage. Twice…

What next?

Being very young, she postpones her Law career by getting petty jobs in Los Angeles. That’s how she gets to meet Dean Keith, a pretentious low life who is very rude to her; however, he’s the key that Molly uses to get in as a bookkeeper in an illegal Hollywood high stakes poker game.

She spends several months watching A-list celebs, business people, and other high-profile players stake a minimum of $10000 each Tuesday. When Keith fires her, she uses her saved money to get all the players to gather at the still illegal game she’s the boss of.

When she realises that Player X, a famous actor who keeps flirting with her, is sponsoring some of the regulars, she loses her chance to continue her game.

Moving on the East Coast…

Being the fighter that she is, she relocates to New York and sets up a new type of game with even higher buy-ins, with the help of three top-notch Playboy models.

Blinded by money, thrill, and a lot of drugs, Molly makes the mistake of getting a cut of one of the bets, an illegal thing to do under US law. It’s the moment that triggers hew downfall.

That’s when she gets in trouble with the Russian mobsters that were regulars at the NY games. When things slow down, she writes a book of her experience, lending her some money to survive.

Molly meets Charlie, soon to become her attorney

Being implicated with the mob, the FBI seizes her apartment, even after Molly stops organising poker events. She then looks for a “not in the least bit shady” lawyer and stands on trial.

We, as viewers, are told this story in between cuts of her talks with her attorney and court hearings.

Movie ending spoilers!

The movie ends when Molly decides not to snitch on all the famous people that she’s seen play. She pleads guilty in front of the judge and receives parole and community service.


Molly’s Game has been a 2017 sensation among fans of the genre. Numerous external Molly’s Game IMDB reviews have been written and posted on the matter. The overall IMDB score was 7.4 at the moment of us crafting this review.

An autobiography adapted excellently – Mark:10/10

Did you know?

Molly Bloom is alive and has lived all these moments. She wrote a book about her times as the “ringleader” of the high-stakes games, after which this plot was adapted.

Bloom’s story and her numerous near-death experiences along the way had to be brought to the silver screen to get even more exposure than the book had.

CasinoAlpha opinion: from text to screen

We believe that the adaptation is flawless. It is an alert story that does not let you breathe while you watch at the edge of your seat. For this reason, we scored it with a perfect 10.

Compared to other biopics of lesser-known individuals, we had to give good points in our Molly’s Game review to how the story translated from novel to movie!

Character development: Molly's Game cast shining

We have to applaud both Molly’s Game cast and casting directing for hitting the bullseye.

Molly’s role rate Larry’s role rate Charlie’s role rate Overall rate
9 10 8 9

We will give you a short run of how each character developed into a wiser version at the flick’s end than at the beginning of the roll.

Molly Bloom: The heroine from champion to mobster victim – Mark:9/10

In the last third half of the movie, we learn that Molly’s impulses that pull her down into the depth of her problems are prompted by her aversion to her dad.

In an impromptu therapy session in a dark New York park, we learn that Molly is not just a rebel that likes the thrill of illegality. She just wanted to take control of powerful men.

Why the thirst for control?

Her rigorous and callous father pressured her to be the best while cheating on his family in her childhood. After the ski accident destroys her athletic career, Molly builds in rage, consumed in the poker games.

In the end, she lets go of her ego and inclination to be a control freak and decides to save her name and not snitch to get a DA deal. She becomes a master of control, regaining it over her destiny.


Inspired by this character, we want you to know the steps needed to self-exclude from an online casino if you feel like you want to regain control of your healthy gambling habits.

Larry Bloom: Molly’s dad & the source of her problems and healing – Mark: 10/10

Therapists and TED talks have already told us that we need to heal the wounded child inside to fix our problems.

The same stays true here!

A compelling change happens in Molly’s dad, even if we, as viewers, see him in the background as a very crude man.

Towards the end, he confesses that he misses Molly and has put a bounty on the mobster that beat her up. And, most importantly, he explains to his daughter and us the root of all issues: he used to be a cheater, Molly saw it and repressed it and rebelled because of it all her life.

Even when she refuses a brilliant career as a Law Graduate for shady, illegal poker business with superstars.

Charlie Jaffey: the lawyer that isn’t “in the least bit shady” – Mark: 8/10

For the non-trained eye, Jaffey does not change much. He starts the movie as a professional with high standards both in his work and with his daughter (much like Molly’s dad).

But at a closer look, we see the subtle yet important change.

“(My name) is all I have left”

Jaffey spends half the movie refusing Molly and half of it trying to represent her in court and reduce her sentence.

When she decides to plead guilty and face the consequences dead on, he can’t understand why she would sacrifice her life by protecting others.

When Molly finishes her heartfelt argumentation, Charlie Jaffey gets it: it’s all about honour. And he is a man of integrity throughout this story. So, he agrees.

Directing & visuals: A dark story full of glam

A dark story full of glam

A director’s vision is of utmost importance when it comes to a movie.

Our ratings

What we rate What notes we gave
Director’s rate 9.5
Producers’ rate 8.5
Overall visuals 9.1
Cinematograpgy rate 9.5

The same goes for our review of Molly’s Game, where Sorkin’s decisions modified the actions of the impersonators like a puppeteer.

Aaron Sorkin: A remarkable director’s debut – Mark: 9.5/10

Even though Sorkin has worked on classics like A Few Good Men or The Newsroom, until 2017, he only worked in the writing business.

Fun fact

We’re not the only ones that appreciated Sorkin’s work in adapting the Poker Princess’ story! He received a nomination from the Academy for The Best Adapted Screenplay.

He made sure to let the female lead shine, told her story clearly, well and at a rapid pace and did not let us down.

Considering his vast Hollywood experience and his outstanding debut, we gave him an almost perfect score.

3 Producers: A team effort worthwhile – Mark: 8.5/10

Obviously, the end product that we’ve analysed in Molly’s Game review depended on the work of three talented people:

  • Mark Gordon
  • Amy Pascal
  • Matt Jackson

CasinoAlpha’s authors are not film school academics, so we won’t even try to get too technical with our production opinions. We are pros on online gambling products like brand new online casinos for United Kingdom players. We are just fans of films, especially the ones that relate to our industry.

So, we move on to aesthetics!

Molly’s Game: A full image of the visuals – Mark: 9.5/10

Elegant and high-end clothing, flawless make-up and hair, high-definition poker table images, cards, chips, and a break from the oversaturated blue light that is obsessive in cinema: Molly’s Game is a breath of fresh air for eye-pleasing images.

Let’s browse some of our favourite moments!

  • Molly’s outfits and looks

Inspired by the real-life person, the expensive outfits worn by Jessica Chastain, the actress playing Bloom, reflects her status very well throughout the story.

We appreciated how she transcended from a regular young woman trying to make a living in LA to a boss to a woman fighting for her liberty.

Fun fact

Insider reports that Chastain was inspired by the iconic contour and highlight make-up look by Kim Kardashian to construct Bloom’s character in the film.

  • Poker dealings

We look for close-ups of card games in every piece of media we consume; it’s only natural, as we are online casino specialists.

But we appreciated the rapid-fire sequences on our screen that closed in on how the multiple dealers in the movie handled the cards and how the players moved their stakes chips on the green table’s centre.

How the movie was received

How the movie was received – Mark 7.7-10

Our review of Molly’s Game would not be complete unless we gave you a speed run into how the public reacted to it.

Rate Note
Awards 7
Box Office 8.5
Overall reception 7.7

Remember that our opinions are subjective and influenced by our personal experience as gamblers. But there’re many more aspects to a comprehensive piece of film critique.

Won awards & other accolades – Mark: 7/10

Award won Category of interest
AARP Movies Best Screenwriter: Aaron Sorkin
Denver Film Festival Career Achievement: Aaron Sorkin
Mill Valley Film Festival Audience Favorite Gold Award: Molly’s Game
Palm Springs International Film Festival Chairman’s Award: Jessica Chastain
Zurich Film Festival Career Achievement: Aaron Sorkin

CasinoAlpha’s assessment on awards

We respect the success these wins represent, but there were many more instances when it remained just a nominee, 19 to be precise.

How much money it brought? – Mark: 8.5/10

Income Source Amount
North American Box Office $28.8 million
Other territories $30.5 million
Gross total $59.3 million


Molly’s Game debuted on Christmas of 2017, and it landed on the 13th position of the Box Office.

We believe that the numbers are impressive, but it could have gone to ever more remarkable achievements. The story is worthwhile, and since it’s true to the facts, you can learn much more about it.

We sincerely appreciated that it was massively entertaining without million-dollar special effects and no fantasy elements.

Bonus fact: Who is Player X?

There’ve been many rumours about which Hollywood actor was the LA cheater that triggered Bloom’s demise and move to New York.

Some sources say it’s Tobey Maguire, while others say it is a character combined from several A-listers such as Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Don’t believe the rumours you read!

We scouted these details when we created this page from several “hidden” entertainment sources. These are most likely myths. The only person who knows is Miss Bloom herself.

How CasinoAlpha rates movies?

We use an intuitive 1 to 10 scale, and we select elements that are of interest to the particular title we’re focusing on.

Of course, we always look at vital elements like plot, cast, directing. However, we focus on other characteristics that stood out and contributed to the entire experience on a case to case basis.

Anca Iamandi
Author Anca Iamandi Senior Author & Editor at CasinoAlpha

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