Molly’s Game: Is Bad Brad Based on a Real Person?

Brian d’Arcy James embodies a distinguishing role in ‘Molly’s Game,’ the 2018 true story-based crime film. Even though James’ character, dubbed “Bad Brad,” occupies relatively minimal screen time, the character’s actions end up assigning transformative consequences for others, including protagonist Molly Bloom. Brad enters the film as a Poker Player involved in Molly’s private games, where the woman runs the show. A regular at the table, Brad loves to play even though he sorely lacks the skill for Poker.

Consequently, once the man finds himself in some federal trouble, Brad brings the FBI knocking on Molly and the others’ door as well. For the same reason, considering Brad’s instrumental in Molly Bloom’s professional downfall in the film, people are bound to wonder if there’s a real-life counterpart behind his character. SPOILERS AHEAD!

Bradley Ruderman: The Conman Behind Bad Brad

‘Molly’s Game’ charts a biographical narrative about the real life of Molly Bloom, focusing on her venture into the realm of high-stakes Poker Games that inevitably led to her criminal charge. The film dramatizes and glamorizes some of Bloom’s true story while heavily fictionalizing details about the high-profile clients that the woman did business with in order to retain their privacy— a practice Bloom initiated in her 2014 biographical novel.

Consequently, the film details Bad Brad’s character, whose involvement with Molly’s game led the FBI to her Poker Nights right as they veered off the ledge of legality. However, it simultaneously attempts to keep some distance between the character and his real-life counterpart. Even so, Bradley Ruderman, a real-life Ponzi scheme runner, emerges as the evident inspiration behind James’ on-screen Poker player character.

Like his on-screen persona, Bradley Ruderman got involved in Bloom’s Poker Games by introducing himself as a hedge fund manager. He led the life of a rich man with a company, Ruderman Capital Partners, a Malibu house, and an inclination toward Poker despite losing a ton of money on it due to his unpolished skills. However, as it would turn out, the man was really a con artist whose hedge fund was a Ponzi scheme. Targeting people, from friends and family to others, Ruderman managed to thwart around 25 million dollars from his investors.

Nonetheless, May of 2009 saw Ruderman’s downfall when his Ponzi scheme finally ran its course, landing Ruderman Capital Partners into bankruptcy, leading to his arrest at the FBI’s hands. As per Ruderman’s own admission, his gambling addiction worsened his financial status, trapping him under mounting debt as he continued playing despite his consistent losses. As such, after Ruderman’s arrest, Howard Ehrenberg, the court-assigned bankruptcy expert on his case, went after the players who won Ruderman’s money at Bloom’s games.

According to Bloom, who discussed her professional involvement with Ruderman, this same thread of events led to her own run-in with the FBI. “The feds first found out about it because a guy [Bradley Ruderman] in my LA game was running a Ponzi scheme,” The woman recalled on The Ellen Show. “He lost $5 million [of his investors’ money] in the game, and they [The FBI] came after all of us. That’s how the celebrities got outed. That’s how they found out about this game.”

Since Bad Brad’s narrative storyline unfolds in an almost identical fashion, the character’s connection with Bradley Ruderman remains indisputable. As a result, while the film may have added some details to his character to shape him into the narrative, Bad Brad remains an on-screen counterpart for Bradley Ruderman.

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