Maria Konnikova goes from author to winning poker player

Maria Konnikova is a celebrated author, holds a PhD in psychology from Columbia University and is a regular contributor to the New Yorker magazine. She can also now add winning poker player to her list of credentials.

Konnikova started playing poker last year as research for a new book on poker titled “The Biggest Bluff.” When we say she started playing poker, we truly mean she started, as in she had never before played. According to Konnikova, before she took up poker for her book she was so unfamiliar with cards she didn’t even know there were 52 cards in a deck.

Despite being a complete poker novice, she has caught on quickly and done quite well at the poker tables. In fact, she’s done so well the release of her book has been delayed so she can continue to play.

Coached by poker legend Seidel

Konnikova made sure to get a good teacher before beginning her journey into poker. She has been coached by Erik Seidel, a poker legend who has won eight World Series of Poker bracelets, World Poker Tour and European Poker Tour titles and cashed over $35 million in live poker tournaments.

It didn’t take long for Konnikova to post her first cash. She finished second in a cheap $125 No-Limit Hold’em tournament at The Aria in March 2017 to pocket $2,215. She continued to post small cashes before her big breakout in the 2018 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA). In the 2018 PCA, Konnikova won the $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em tournament, outlasting a field of 230 players to pocket $84,600.

That success continued in Macau, China where she posted three cashes when the Asia Pacific Poker Tour stopped there in March 2018. That included finishing second in an HK$20,000 No-Limit Hold’em tournament, and placing seventh in the HK$5,000 main event. In total her three APPT cashes earned her just over $60,000 US.

Since posting her first cash in March 2017, Konnikova has won just over $200,000.

According to Konnikova, she’s determined to play in this year’s World Series of Poker. There was no word on which tournaments she plans on playing in, but keep an eye out for her when the 2018 WSOP begins at the end of May.