Not many people can say they became a professional poker player while researching a book, but in Dr. Maria Konnikova’s case, she can. In her latest book My Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win, journalist and award-winning author Konnikova explains how her research into the science between luck, skill, randomness, and the myth that hard work always leads to success led her to become an international champion poker player.
Konnikova explores the significant overlap between the game of poke and the game of life and finds that it is often what determines success: skill and chance. When playing a game with incomplete information, while you cannot control the randomness of the shuffle, if you can identify where skill ends and chance begins, you can master the skills necessary to succeed.
Dr. Konnikova explains how by learning to identify the difference between what is skill and what is chance, we hone our strategic thinking, learning to master what we can control and release what we can’t.
Meet our guest:
Maria is the author of two New York Times best-sellers, The Confidence Game (Viking/Penguin 2016), winner of the 2016 Robert P. Balles Prize in Critical Thinking, and Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes (Viking/Penguin, 2013), an Anthony and Agatha Award finalist. She is a regular contributing writer for The New Yorker, and has written for the Atlantic, the New York Times, Slate, the New Republic, the Paris Review, the Wall Street Journal, Salon, the Boston Globe, the Scientific American, WIRED, and Smithsonian, among many other publications.
Her writing has won numerous awards, including the 2019 Excellence in Science Journalism Award from the Society of Personality and Social Psychology. While researching The Biggest Bluff, Maria became an international poker champion and the winner of over $300,000 in tournament earnings. Maria’s writing has been featured in Best American Science and Nature Writing and has been translated into over twenty languages. Maria also hosts the podcast The Grift from Panoply Media and is currently a visiting fellow at NYU’s School of Journalism. Her podcasting work earned her a National Magazine Award nomination in 2019. Maria graduated from Harvard University and received her Ph.D. in Psychology from Columbia University.