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When Maria Konnikova (cover image), a psychologist and an author of 3 books decided to take a year off from her writing to learn all about poker – so that she could use it in her next book – little did she know that not only would she find the complex decision-making and skills required to win at poker intriguing, she would also win $200,000 along the way!
Through the past year Konnikova has beaten some top professional players belting tournaments like the PCA National 2018. Overall, she has raked in a whopping $200,000 and bagged a platinum pass for the 2019 PokerStars Players Championship where she will be free-rolling into the $9 million guaranteed $25,000 buy-in event!
Konnikova is currently trotting around the globe with her ‘poker reins’ and was recently spotted at the Asia Pacific Poker Tournament in Macau.
“I was interested in the question of ‘skill vs. chance in life’, and how much of our life we control. And that’s a huge question. We can approach it from a theological angle, philosophical, psychological and so on”, Konnikova said, talking about why she chose poker as her muse for the upcoming book ‘The Biggest Bluff’.
Konnikova came across poker in the book ‘Theory of Game and Economic Behavior’ by John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstein, where poker player Neumann propounds thatplaying poker can help understand the complexity of life. She decided to put his theory into practical use.
She started with learning the game from her guide Erik Seidel and advice from Jason Koon and Isaac Haxton.
“And so I have decided on the poker game, No Limits Hold‘em specifically because life is obviously ‘a game of no limits’ as a metaphor for life, and immerse myself in that world, learn to play poker with the best players in the world,”Konnikova said in a recent interview.
“I want to use that journey for exploring the question of ‘skill vs. chance’ to then ultimately go back to life and say how do we use poker to make better decisions in our everyday lives”, she added.
Konnikova now feels that poker is an even better metaphor in life than she thought. In January 2018 she won $86,400 by beating a 290-person field at the $1,650 PCA National. She played against players like chess grandmaster from Netherlands Loek avan Wely, Canadian pro Kevin McDonald and Alexander Ziskin.
Poker has certainly made an impact on Konnikova who has put her book writing on hold for now and delayed her book’s release to 2019 so that she can go on playing poker.