May 7, 2018

A New Yorker writer is putting her book about poker on hold to keep winning at poker


Here’s a story for the ages: last year, Maria Konnikova, a New Yorker columnist and the bestselling author of The Confidence Game, announced her plans to write a book about the world of high-stakes poker after spending some time learning the game from scratch. Last Wednesday, Dennis Young at Deadspin reported on the postponement of said book. Why, you ask? Because Konnikova’s too busy being a boss and winning at high-stakes poker to find time to write the whole thing.

According to Young, Konnikova has been under the guidance of poker pro Erik Seidel, and has recently won over $140,000 after competing in two major tournaments.

The New York Post’s Max Jaeger reached out to Konnikova, currently in Monte Carlo preparing for the PokerStars tournament. According to Konnikova, her writing and poker careers will sync back up… eventually. “I’m not abandoning writing. I really want to give it my all, but this is for the book ultimately,” she said. “There’s definitely one version of the future where I still write and play poker professionally. Why in the world wouldn’t I do both?”

Young cites other writers-turned-athlete aspirants, like Paris Review founder and popcorn aficionado George Plimpton, who in the 1960s went amateurishly pro “with [the] NFLMLB, and NHL.” But Konnikova may be the first writer to rule at poker, and possibly find a new career entirely: “I’m a total poker outsider. I came to this as someone who’d never had any experience with the game.”

According to Jaeger, Konnikova’s book, The Biggest Bluff is set to be released “summer/fall” of 2019.



Alex Primiani is the associate director of publicity at Melville House.