Over $200,000 in earnings over a period of 1 year came as a gift for New Yorker contributing journalist Maria Konnikova, who devoted time to poker for a book she’s writing, “The Biggest Bluff.” While researching for the book, Konnikova came across the nitty-gritty of poker and surprised herself by winning a title at this year’s PCA for $84,600.

History has it, many journalists while successfully writing books about poker conquered a few wins at the tables also. Like, Anthony Holden wrote- Big Deal: A Year as a Professional Poker Player and Victoria Coren-Mitchell penned For Richer, for Poorer: A Love Affair with Poker. They, however, had two things in common- love for writing and interest in poker. As for Konnikova, she had no experience in the game. Therefore, it is a commendable achievement for a newbie like her.

She tweeted-Oh I’m certainly far from the first writer to play poker! But as far as I know, I am the first to go from not knowing the number of cards in a deck to winning a major title within one year :)”

Maria Konnikova And Poker

Apart from writing research-based books and playing poker, Konnikova also holds a Ph.D. in psychology from Columbia University. The PCA title winner has already written a successful book on scamming and psychology- “The Confidence Game: The Psychology of the Con and Why We Fall for It Every Time.” Her winning spree doesn’t seem so surprising, now. Of course lessons from poker experts Erik Seidel, Jason Koon and Isaac Haxton paid off well.

Speaking to The IndependentKonnikova shared an insight about her next project. She said, “I was thinking about my next project on luck and whether we can learn to tell the difference between skill and chance and how much we really control.”


 The Motivation

It was reading John Von Neumann’s “Theory of Games and Economic Behaviour,” that motivated her to put the theory to test. And, that is how poker happened to her.

Konnikova candidly spoke about her share of uncertainties related to poker. She said, “I was doing horribly but I really worked hard. At first, I didn’t do well. I was really scared. I had never played live poker before.”  However, all the determination and hard work started to convert into success one after the other.

The writer turned grinder intends to pursue her aspirations without compromising on any one of them. “There’s definitely one version of the future where I still write and play poker professionally. Why in the world wouldn’t I do both?” said Konnikova.


The Winning Spree

Konnikova won the event #4 at January’s PCA in the Bahamas ($1500 NLHE). Here, she battled a strong field of 230 players to reach the top position and grab $84,600 as a winning amount. Later, she cashed the $10k Main Event for $22,020. She took home $57,519 after securing the 2nd position at the recently held $2,500 APPT Macau.

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