“My heart skipped a beat when I saw all the chips”: Molly Bloom visits Unibet Open Bucharest

She may have left the poker world for now, but Molly Bloom admits that her heart still skipped a beat at the sight of all the chips when she first walked into the tournament room at Unibet Open Bucharest.

Bloom is at Unibet Open Bucharest this week to chat to players and open the #QueenRules Ladies event which is taking place tomorrow at the JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel. Molly said: “The #QueenRules tournament is one of the things that most tempted me to come. I think it’s a great initiative.“

Unibet Open Bucharest is the first live poker event that Bloom has attended since the end of her four-year reign as the “Poker Princess”. Her high stakes cash games were legendary amongst Hollywood A-listers with stars such as Tobey Maguire, Matt Damon and Leonard DiCaprio all regular attendees, along with sports stars and millionaire amateurs.

After surviving for so long in a very male-dominated world, Bloom has plenty of tips for players of all kinds, including women. She said: “Overall I think discipline is the most important quality. Of course you need the fundamental skills – a proficiency in maths, a proficiency in psychology, but at the end of the day I’ve seen a lot of great players lose everything because they don’t have discipline. For women, I think that instead of repressing what is innate to women and to femininity, they should capitalise on it. It’s a different kind of style but I think embracing it – what it is to be a woman – is a great angle.“

This is Bloom’s first visit to the Romanian capital and she’s been loving every moment. She added: “It is incredible – such an interesting city, with beautiful architecture and a fascinating history. I have had the best welcome here ever and I’m falling in love with the city. Everyone has been super kind and even the players looked up from their chips! In the poker world, that’s like a royal welcome.”

Molly won’t be playing poker herself while she’s at Unibet Open however; in fact, even though she has spent hundreds of hours watching top poker players, she has never played a hand of poker herself. She added: “I think it’s a fantastic game but I don’t play. I always saw it as a liability in my business so I didn’t pick up the chips. I do know how to play. I have a very sophisticated understanding of the game – but I don’t know if I would win money from people because I have never ever sat down and played.”

Molly was delighted with the critical reception that the film Molly’s Game received when it came out last year, especially from the poker community. She said: “I told Aaron Sorkin, the director, that his toughest crowd was going to be poker players so he had better get it right!” She worked on the story with Sorkin every day for eight months but stayed out of the way once filming started and never visited the set. She said: “I wanted to let the experts do their thing. The first time I saw the film was in Toronto – with about 2,000 other people and my family.”

Nataly Sopacuaperu, Unibet Open’s Head of Events and Sponsorship, said: “It’s been absolutely thrilling to have Molly come to Unibet Open Bucharest. There has been huge interest in meeting her – from players and media alike. She has become a leading personality in the poker world and is full of fascinating stories and insights. It’s been a real pleasure to have her here in Bucharest and we’re looking forward to her opening the #QueenRules Ladies tournament tomorrow.”

This is Unibet Open’s third visit to the Romanian capital and it’s already proving a great success with Day 1a of the £1,100 Main Event starting today. In addition to Molly Bloom, other big names attending the event are Unibet ambassadors and sponsored eSports players including Irish Open winner Ian Simpson, Dara O’Kearney and David Lappin from Ireland, plus Espen Jorstad, Daiva Byrne, Rauno Tahvonen and two-time Unibet Open champion Dan Murariu.

Unibet Open Bucharest has a live stream running on twitch.tv/unibetpoker throughout the festival with Unibet Ambassador and expert commentators David Vanderheyden and Henry Kilbane following all the action from the feature table.


Photography by Tambet Kask | Unibet Open