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Maria Konnikova: From Best-Selling Author to Professional Poker Player

Maria Konnikova was a best-selling author a few years ago, with books like “How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes ” and “The Confidence Game”. However, because she participates in massive tournaments and frequently reaches the reward zone, she is now a professional poker player.

Konnikova gets frequently featured in “The New York Times “and “Scientific American “publications. Her articles are about how to apply psychology to many life situations. Her wonder about psychology is what lead her to poker. But more about that, you can read in the text below.

Poker Career

Konnikova grew interested in poker after reading John von Neumann’s game theory research. She described it as a method of studying the mind’s reactions to situations involving both ability and chance. First, she played online casinos and poker to experience the game. It’s a bit of an unusual beginning for her because we doubt that any of her North American opponents went on to visit this Canadian online casino website for their first-ever taste of poker. Most professional players, especially old-school ones, played it face-to-face first and racked their experience that way. Still, Konnikova found that this worked for her better.

Not long after, she had her first significant tournament – The PokerStars tournament 2017 in Monte Carlo, which she won in April 2017. In addition, she won the PCA National tournament at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure No-Limit Hold’em Championship in January of 2018. The prize package included a $30,000 Platinum Pass to the PokerStars Players Championship in January 2019. Following her victory in 2018, Konnikova chose to put off writing her book, The Biggest Bluff, to compete in more high-stakes events. After that, she became a full-time professional poker player.

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Early Life

Maria Konnikova was born to Jewish parents in 1984 in Moscow, Russia. Her family relocated to the United States when she was four years old, settling in Massachusetts, just outside of Boston, after opening the former nation’s borders to allow Jews to immigrate to Israel.

When Konnikova was four years old, her father read her Arthur Conan Doyle stories in Russian, and she got introduced to the figure of Sherlock Holmes. She then proceeded to read all of Sherlock Holmes’ books. These stories inspired her to write later her debut book, Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes, a New York Times bestseller and was translated into 16 languages.

Education and Writing Career

In Massachusetts, Maria attended Acton-Boxborough Regional High School. She attended Harvard University after graduating from high school, earning a BA in creative writing and psychology. Konnikova was mentored by famous author and psychologist Steven Pinker while at Harvard. In 2013, she received her Ph.D. in psychology from Columbia University, where she worked with Walter Mischel.

The Biggest Bluff, a New York Times bestseller and Editors’ Choice, is Maria Konnikova’s most recent book. The Confidence Game, which won the 2016 Robert P. Balles Prize in Critical Thinking and Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes, is a finalist for the Anthony and Agatha Awards, is two of her earlier publications.

Maria is a regular contributor to The New Yorker, and her work has earned multiple accolades, including the Society of Personality and Social Psychology’s 2019 Excellence in Science Journalism Award. She also hosts The Grift from Panoply Media podcast. In 2019, she got nominated for a National Magazine Award for her podcasting work.

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