048 – Maria Konnikova – The Biggest Bluff

048 – Maria Konnikova – The Biggest Bluff

When she started research for her book on luck and control, Maria Konnikova had no idea of the surprising path this project would take her on… She studied psychology at Harvard and got her PhD from Columbia University – who would have guessed that she would turn poker professional? Certainly not her grandmother!

What started off as a psychology book project turned into winning the internationally televised PokerStars Caribbean Adventure tournament and a Team Pro deal from PokerStars and eight months of full-time tournament play…

Maria went from having zero experience or interest in poker to becoming a professional in an impressively short amount of time. It takes commitment, self-awareness, and simply putting in the hours to achieve proficiency (and mastery) in anything you want to accomplish. Listen to this episode to hear Maria’s incredible success story…

Check Out Maria’s New Book: The Biggest Bluff

Time Stamped Show Notes

[00:00] Welcome to the show…

[01:49] Maria decides to write a book about luck and control…

  • [03:59] But she finds game theory and falls in love with poker…
  • [07:19] How is poker a game of skill? How does it differ from other casino games?
  • [11:04] Life – you can lose with the best hand and win with the worst…
  • [12:44] Grandmother Baba Anya horrified at Maria’s career change into evil poker…

[16:06] Maria’s PhD in psychology does NOT equal self-control in the heat of moment…

  • [18:54] But psychology does help with understanding opponents at the poker table…
  • [21:36] Maria finds the opportunity to go pro after winning an international tournament…

[24:41] What’s on the horizon for Maria Konnikova?

  • [26:13] Where can you find out more about Maria?

[00:27:44] Wrapping it all up…

3 Key Points

  1. Life wouldn’t be a journey without uncertainty, right? We could see the easiest path forward, and we’d never have reason to learn anything. It’s important to keep an open mind, even when you have a particular outcome in mind, because life can surprise!
  2. In life, you can lose with the best hand and win with the worst. It’s a game of incomplete information, just like poker. You can only do your best to make the right decisions in a moment, regardless of outcome.
  3. A PhD in psychology doesn’t keep your cool in stressful situations – doctorate-degree holding poker professional Maria should know! It’s the journey to self-awareness, mindfulness, and having a vocabulary for your own behavior patterns that helps you make rational decisions.

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