Maria Konnikova, the author of the Times best-seller “Mastermind: How to think like Sherlock Holmes” and “The confidence game,” decided to quit her day job to learn how to be successful at poker.
“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 can control,” she declared for The Independent.
Despite having a Harvard bachelor’s in psychology and creative writing, a Ph.D. in psychology from Columbia, two best-sellers, and over 90 articles written for The New Yorker, Konnikova considers poker a balanced game of both skill and luck. Even though she had no experience with the card game, the best-selling author earned over $130.000 in her first year playing the game.
Before embarking on her new career, Maria Konnikova said that “Rounders” (co-written by her friend Brian Koppelman) was the only time she’s ever seen a poker game. However, she argued that the movie wasn’t the reason why she started playing cards. Her inspiration came from reading the work of mathematician John von Neumann – “Theory of Games and Economic Behavior.”
Von Neumann had a great desire to solve the mysteries of poker. Once Konnikova understood that his theory was that the card game was a metaphor for life, she took a year off from the New Yorker to improve her skills. She reached out to Erik Seidel, who she referred to as one of the best players in the world.
“At first, I didn’t do well. I was terrified. I had never played live poker before,” said Maria Konnikova when asked about the early days of her poker career.
Shortly after, she started winning big. She played her first high-stakes game at the renowned PokerStars Championship in Monte Carlo, where she finished in second place. Quite an achievement for a complete beginner, huh?
We know that poker is marketed as having a steep learning curve. Still, there are mathematical strategies that can help you get a more thorough understanding of the game. Luckily, those that want to hone their card skills can visit specialty websites like KingCasinoBonus, which provide in-depth guides and strategies to defeat your opponents with ease.
Now that she is a pro player, Konnikova thinks that practice makes perfect, so it is essential to have experience with poker. She believes that the significant advantage she has over other players is her career as a writer and psychologist. She can easily read other people and make better bets by using her intuition.
“I’m going in as an outsider with a fresh set of eyes,” she declared.
Based on her experience, she concluded that poker is highly based on emotional decision-making. Even the most calculated stoic players (herself included), will give away some sort of emotion during the game. Her theory is that, as the game progresses, players will eventually become emotionally depleted.
She said, “That’s going to make your emotions rawer, and you can see how it affects them and potentially take advantage of that.” Of course, the same thing can also happen to her, so she is always aware of that.
While the ability to read people is a plus for any poker player, it doesn’t always mean that you will be able to determine if people are bluffing. The best-selling author considers that there aren’t any “universal signs of deception” like blushing or shifty eyes.
Even though every person has a unique way of concealing their emotions, Maria Konnikova can pick up subtle behavioral changes. These small changes are good indicators that a person is lying. The main reason why she was successful in poker from the beginning is her impressive ability to respond to emotional behavior. This skill is considered a must-have for any pro player.
According to the author, poker is a very keen analogy for life, as it has the perfect balance between the info you have and the info you do not have. Mainly, she considers this game to be one of the best models for decision making in real life, and she plans to continue playing poker as a career.
After spending countless hours gambling, and analyzing behaviors and probabilities, she released “The Biggest Bluff – How I learned to pay attention, master, myself, and win” on June 23, 2020. The book we’ve all been waiting for is finally here after Konnikova postponed it. At the same time, she was busy winning big at the poker table.
In her latest book, Maria Konnikova explores the fine line between skill and luck, attempting to learn what she can control and what she couldn’t.” She considers that poker illustrates these categories best because there are numeracy and logic to it. There are other lessons that you can learn from the book, such as forgoing complacency and paying attention to what’s unfolding before you. “Presence is far more complicated than the path of least resistance.“
“The biggest bluff” is a smart and subtle delight for the readers. The author parlayed a firm grasp between the science of decision-making and the feeble ignorance of cards into a life-changing adventure as a professional poker player. Fans of playing cards and brain-hacking will surely love this book, so make sure you won’t miss it!