Writer Studies Poker to Publish Book, Turns Pro Instead

A common saying is “write what you know” so Maria Konnikova will probably be asking for an extension from her publisher. The best selling author and journalist from New York beat a field of 290 poker players and won the Pokerstars Caribbean Adventure while researching life as a poker player on the professional circuit.

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The book, The Biggest Bluff, which will track her progression from a bright-eyed rookie to a seasoned veteran will also examine the use of poker skills in everyday life. However, the book will have to wait for now as Konnikova seems to have a handle on the whole professional tournament poker thing.

“I should have had a first draft in long, long ago. I could never have predicted that I would ever be where I am now. I started this project with absolutely zero background in it.”

“I’m certainly far from the first writer to play poker,” Konnikova tweeted after the tournament. “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.”

With this victory, Konnikova has won more than $200,000 since beginning her “research” and is now automatically entered into next year’s Pokerstars Players Championship. It’s also known as a Platinum Pass. A pass that guarantees a $25,000 pay out. “I never thought that this would happen. I wanted it to, and I was working really, really, hard, but it’s just kind of incredible. It feels so validating to achieve this.” And this is not a lightweight tournament either. The final table featured Chris Moorman, who is one of the best online poker players in history, a former PCA champion in Harrison Gimbel, and a Dutch chess grandmaster, Luek van Wely.

Konnikova may be new to the game of poker, but she definitely has the credentials to become a great player. She’s not only a best selling writer and contributor to New Yorker magazine, but she also has a Ph.D. in Psychology. And smarts isn’t the only thing she has on her side. She also has Hall-of-Famer Erik Seidel as a coach.

Konnikova gave plenty of props to Seidel calling him, “the best coach in the world,” and that she was “very, very lucky to have amazing training to reach this moment.” She credited Seidel with helping her survive an early tough table and a few chip scares. Seidel, prepping for a final table of his own in a High Roller event, was unable to watch the final hands as Konnikova won but he was the first person she texted after her victory. “The second one was to my husband,” she quickly added.

The book is now scheduled to be out in fall of 2019 but, surely, this release date is tentative.

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