Five or six days ago I was at M Cafe de Chaya, a very cool place that specializes in macrobiotic dishes, to meet a couple of ladies. It was just before 9 pm. I ordered something or other, went out to the patio and noticed this pretty blonde in her late 20s. (Maybe her early 30s.) She acknowledged my glance and smiled. We chatted a bit. She told me her name. I asked what she did and she eventually confided that she worked as a hostess at a high-stakes Beverly Hills card game. Me: “You mean one of those games that guys like Tobey Maguire and Ben Affleck attend?” She nodded. Me: “The money, the tips are pretty good, I imagine.” She: “If somebody wins big…”
In a 2014 interview with former “poker princess” Molly Bloom, who hosted one of the hottest high-stakes games in Los Angeles (and also one in New York) and who wrote a book about her experiences called “Molly’s Game“, Bloom is asked “about the models that hung around the games to provide eye candy.” Bloom: “The girls I chose weren’t stupid and they weren’t bimbos. I tried to mentor them and empower them. I told them, ‘Don’t sleep with these guys.’ They’d make $10,000 for doing nothing.”
The not-to-be-named blonde and I spoke a bit more and then my two friends showed up. I introduced them to poker lady, lah-dee-dah, greetings all around, chit-chat. And then five or six minutes later she finished her sandwich, got up, smiled and waved goodbye.
Three days later I spoke with Maguire at an after-reception for Pawn Sacrifice. After taking his photo with costar Michael Stuhlbarg, I asked Tobey if the name of the not-to-be-identified MCafe lady rang a bell. I prompted: “Pretty blonde, works as a hostess at a poker game…?” He beamed, a burst of laughter. “A pretty blonde…?” He knew her. I was just curious. You never know if people you run into are levelling or exaggerating or what.
There’s a great little story about Maguire that was passed along by the New York Observer‘s Ken Kurson in a 5.22.14 post. It’s an excerpt from “Molly’s Game”: “Maguire was in a big hand that had come down to himself and one other player. The other player wondered aloud if Maguire might be bluffing, but Maguire said, ‘I swear on my mother’s life I have you beat.’ [Which was] a way of saying, ‘I actually do have the nut hand in this deal.’ The other player folded. Then, instead of just throwing his cards into the middle face down and taking his winnings, Maguire showed his hand to the table to reveal that despite the maternal oath, he had indeed been bluffing and wanted the table to know it.”