book hack

The Biggest Bluff

Maria Konnikova

5 mins

3 key insights

Visual, audio & text

The Biggest Bluff chronicles Maria Konnikova's surprise success in the world of poker, having been sucked into playing the game after setting out to study its psychology.


The Biggest Bluff

The Biggest Bluff

by Maria Konnikova


In 2016, Maria Konnikova, a writer with a Ph.D. in psychology and a complete poker novice, persuaded world-renowned poker champion Erik Seidel to take her on as a student.

Konnikova's goals were clear, if unorthodox: play poker for one year, enter the Main Event of the World Series of Poker – complete with $10,000 buy-in price – then write a book about the role of chance in human psychology. The universe had other plans, and two years after the outset, Konnikova's writing was put on the back-burner so she could become a full-time professional poker player.

The Biggest Bluff is not the book Konnikova planned to write; it is part psychology, part memoir of her unexpected successes in poker. Just as Seidel guided Konnikova through the poker world, Konnikova guides us through her adventures in the game, breaking down human behavior along the way.

Favorite quote

Through poker, I wanted to tame luck – to learn to make a difference even when the deck seemed stacked against me.

- Maria Konnikova

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