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Poker book put on hold as Maria Konnikova continues to cash

“It felt like my game had suddenly gone to a new level,” she said. With the plot thickened, Konnikova and her editor decided to be patient with the book and go all-in on her poker career. The decision paid dividends in March, when Konnikova won $57,519 for placing second at an Asia Pacific Poker Tour event in Macau. Konnikova, who also writes for The New Yorker, has been working on her book during breaks in her poker schedule. She wrote her first book on con artists and said her background in psychology has been a huge part of her success on the tables. “I think that’s what gives me one of my biggest edges, that I do come from this outsider perspective and do have tools to kind of analyze things on a different level because I’ve studied decision making,” she said. “I actually did my dissertation on risky decision making under emotional conditions, so it’s very applicable to the poker world.” Konnikova came up with the idea for her book in 2016, when she learned that poker was the inspiration for John von Neumann’s groundbreaking 1944 book on game theory. “I wanted to write about skill and chance and kind of the balance of the two and basically answer the question of how much of our lives do we actually control,” she said. “(Von Neumann) thought solving poker would give him the rubric for being able to solve the most complex strategic decisions in life.’” Konnikova solved the first starting flight for the Main Event on Monday, bagging 33,500 chips, and will return to action Thursday.

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