Poker author wins major PCA event

Within 10 months of starting a book on poker, journalist Maria Konnikova wins the PCA National Championship thanks to coaching from Erik Seidel.


In 2017, author and writer for the New Yorker, Maria Konnikova announced that she was to start work on her next book chronicling her journey from poker novice to professional. The book, the writer’s third, will be called The Biggest Bluff and is due to be released at the end of the year.

Her stated goal was to play poker for a year, travel the poker circuit, learn the game and document her experience. Since she started, Russian born Konnikova, who moved to the US at the age of four, has banked a number of second-place finishes and around $30,000 in tournament earnings.

Now, the 33-year-old writer, who has degrees from both Harvard and Columbia, has enjoyed her biggest success yet after she saw off 290 others over the course of three days to take down the $1,650 PCA National. The final table wasn’t short of big names either. Chris Moorman, Harrison Gimbel and Luek van Wely were all outlasted by Konnikova on her way to a successful heads-up with Alexander Ziskin.

Professional coaching from Erik Seidel


On her way to success, she wisely recruited an experienced pro to coach her. She selected eight times WSOP bracelet winner Erik Seidel who managed to mould Konnikova into a poker champion within ten months.

On her success, Konnikova said;

"It feels amazing. I started poker from scratch a year ago. I have the best coach in the world, Erik Seidel, so I've been very lucky. I've been working really hard and it's so validating to achieve this.”

For what it’s worth, she took home $84,000 for the win but is yet to announce plans to give up her day job. In fact, she now has her entry ticket to The Players Championship, neatly avoiding the biggest buy-in ever, set at $25,000.

Is it possible to learn the game to a professional standard within a year? Let us know in the comments:

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Comments (3)

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  • CucumbaMan


    I wonder how much is the hourly fee of Erik Seidel's coaching.... :)
  • GrindingNajra


    Loek van Wely mate!
  • dardoolb


    As far as i'm concerned she already had some publication at New York TImes when she met Seidel and Erik wasn't really coaching in terms we know it. In fact in the offline game he was showing his cards to her and then gave sort of advice