Maria Konnikova is a bestselling author who also loves to play poker

Maria Konnikova: Biography


Maria Konnikova has been called a “writer turned poker pro.” Several years ago, Maria Konnikova was known throughout the world as the author of the best-selling books “Think Like Sherlock Holmes” and “The Psychology of Mistrust.” Now, being a regular at major tournaments and a regular winner, she can safely call herself a professional poker player. Maria Konnikova was born in Russia, but at the age of four she moved with her parents to Massachusetts, USA. The girl received a higher education in psychology and defended her doctoral dissertation at Columbia University. Maria regularly publishes in such major publications as the New York Times and Scientific American and deals with the application of psychology in various life situations.


The girl very quickly began to master the game, and already in the first year of participation in live tournaments, Maria achieved results that she can be proud of: in early 2018, Konnikova won the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure series tournament for $84,600. According to Maria, she pays special attention to poker ” good luck”, which she cannot control at the gaming tables. She has a specific goal: to take part in as many live tournaments as possible. Proof of this is her frequent participation in major series such as the WSOP and EPT.

Interesting Facts

  • Maria completed her PhD at Columbia University.
  • At first, Maria Konnikova performed at tournaments with the PokerStars patch. Many believed that the girl was already in the poker room team, however, Maria became a PokerStars Ambassador only in the middle of summer 2018. At the end of 2019, Konnikova left the Red Spades team.
  • Maria mainly plays NLH tournaments, and sometimes pot-limit Omaha. Konnikova has received coaching advice and support from some of poker’s top players including Eric Seidel, Phil “MrSweets28” Galfond and Jason Koon.
  • The Psychology of Distrust was awarded the 2016 Robert P. Bales Prize by the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.
  • Maria pushed back the publishing date of the poker book to 2019, due to the fact that she began to devote much more time to poker than expected.
  • Konnikova has written two of The New York Times’ best-selling books.

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