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PokerNews Podcast 460: A Tale of Two Marias

  • Maria Konnikova explores the relationship between skill and chance through becoming a poker player.

Sarah Herring and Brent Harrington have been teasing this episode for weeks!

Herring finally welcomes one of her favorite new faces in poker, and one of her favorite podcast hosts (The Grift), Maria Konnikova.

Konnikova is mysterious, brilliant and completely mesmerizing. Konnikova is a New York Times bestseller who tends to focus on psychology and its application in real life.

Konnikova's first books Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes and The Confidence Game seem like great segues into the poker world. However, when Konnikova started research for her new book, she didn't even know how many cards were in a deck. After a series of personal tragedies, Konnikova started looking more deeply into the relationship between skill and chance and how to more effectively use our minds to understand those elements of life. She discovered that poker was a perfect metaphor to explore questions of luck and expertise.

Konnikova was inspired to pursue poker professionally for a year as an exercise and experiment to inform her book. She approached Erik Seidel to coach her and help her in the project and he jumped on board immediately.

Konnikova has found a deep love of the game and shares and refreshing and insighful experience with the PokerNews audience.

You can find out more about Maria Konnikova HERE.

In case you didn't get enough Maria action, Brent Harrington also catches up with Maria Ho at the WinStar.

They also share a moment of silence for Rachel Kranz.


5:00 - Maria Konnikova joins the show!

7:15 - The personal losses that inspired Konnikova to look deeply into the issue of skill and chance

13:00 - How Erik Seidel joined the project

20:30 - Falling in love with Poker

21:00 - Game Theory

26:00 - Having the the best in the business on speed dial — do they approach the game the same?

31:30 - How to start learning poker

35:30 - The School of Hard Knocks and learning to play in Las Vegas

40:00 - Sleep studies that show decreasing decision quality

46:00 - Who is the target audience for the book?

49:00 - The Grift Podcast

54:45 - Maria Ho joins from WinStar

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