Already as small kids, we’ve been told and taught that books can be very powerful. After all, those who read a lot, know a lot. And it’s true that books can teach us a lot of things. The author Maria Konnikova is an example of that – a single book changed her life forever.
Maria is an American author whose books focused on psychology and personal development. She published a number of bestsellers and her upcoming book was supposed to be about good and bad luck, randomness, and skill. As part of her research, she started reading about poker – a game she had no previous experience with.
She started reading “Theory of Games and Economic Behaviour”, a book by John von Neumann, who was fascinated by poker and its strategies. The book truly caught her attention – in fact, she decided to go beyond theoretical reasoning. Indeed, she wanted to apply her new-found knowledge in practice.
The first games were very difficult. Maria was a beginner and so she struggled at first. But then she sought out Erik Seidel, a true master of poker who later became her mentor. Erik noted that at first Maria was making many fundamental mistakes. It was clear that she had little to no experience with poker. However, she was not discouraged by her initial failures, quite the opposite. The author started working even harder. She became so obsessed with poker that she said goodbye to her safe job at the New Yorker newspaper in order to become fully immersed in the game.
And hard work together with her new-found love for the game meant that, over time, she moved higher and higher. “In my first years, I spent 5-6 hours per day studying poker”, said Maria. Her primary means of study consisted of watching videos and reading books. She made notes and discussed these with Erik.
Her biggest success came during the national event “PokerStars Caribbean Adventure $1,650”, where she beat 229 other players and brought home an amazing 84,600 dollars. To this day she won over 100,000 dollars, and her luck seems to be getting better and better. But she did not say goodbye to her career as a writer – indeed, she claims that her main motivation for playing was to finish her book “The Biggest Bluff”. The book is scheduled to arrive at bookstores by the end of 2019.