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Friday, July 26, 2019

Real-life heroine Molly Bloom to deliver WSAA 2019 keynote

The Western States Acquirers Association revealed July 25, 2019, that Molly Bloom will deliver a keynote address at its upcoming annual convention, to be held Sept. 18 to 19, 2019, at the Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort, Rancho Mirage, Calif. The not-for-profit trade association, established in 2003, educates and serves merchant acquirers in retail and ecommerce.

“Molly Bloom is an inspirational keynote speaker, entrepreneur and bestselling author,’” event organizers stated. “She is best known for her memoir, Molly’s Game, which was adapted into an award-winning film of the same name by Aaron Sorkin.”

The book and movie portray Molly Bloom, a former Olympic-class skier who ran high-stakes poker games catering to elite clientele. When the Russian mafia became involved, Bloom was arrested in the middle of the night by gun-wielding FBI agents. Supported by criminal defense lawyer Charlie Jaffey, Bloom kept client names confidential, even when offered immunity.

Do the right thing

In a Jan. 6, 2018, interview with NPR journalist Nicole Cohen, Sorkin described Bloom as “an honest-to-God, real-life movie heroine found in an unlikely place,” who did the right thing “when the wrong thing would have been easier.”

“While looking for something to occupy her time before law school, Bloom stumbled onto the world of underground, high-stakes celebrity poker,” Cohen stated in the NPR All Things Considered episode “Molly Bloom And Aaron Sorkin On The Real Story Behind ‘Molly's Game.’” When U.S. prosecutors demanded the names of the “powerful men who played at her table,” she refused to comply, Cohen added.

“I made these choices. ... To turn around when I was in trouble and take people down with me felt wrong," Bloom told Cohen. She also noted she would have preferred to serve a prison sentence than to betray her sources and cause “collateral damage to their families.”

Record WSAA turnout expected

WSAA 2019 will feature 125 exhibitors, 25 professional speakers and 14 panel discussions. Conference planners will announce additional speaker lineups in the coming months. In addition to planned presentations, the event will include the 2019 Ken Elderts Memorial Golf Tournament on Wed., Sept. 18, 2019, at the Indian Wells Golf Resort, with an 8 a.m. shotgun start. 

“Registering as an attendee at WSAA will give you access to training, education and networking through various informative educational sessions,” WSAA representatives stated. “Your attendee badge includes admission to our exhibit hall with multiple innovative and relevant products and services and the opportunity to connect with over 100+ exhibitors to help take you and your business to the next level.”

Event organizers expect a record turnout at the September conference, which will feature educational seminars, exhibits and breakout sessions geared to ISOs, merchant level salespeople, technology companies and financial institutions. Conferences are funded through exhibitor sponsorships and attendee registration fees, WSAA pointed out. Registrants can purchase discounted tickets of $99 through July 31, 2019; general admission pricing will rise to $150 on Aug.1.

end of article

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