Wordfest Online Happy Hour with Maria Konnikova

Wordfest Online Happy Hour with Maria Konnikova

Wordfest Online Happy Hour with Maria Konnikova

Jul 09 @ 5:30 PM - 6:15 PM MT 

Join us for Wordfest's Happy Hour event with Maria Konnikova, the New York Times bestselling author of Mastermind: How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes and The Confidence Game. Pour yourself your favourite libation and watch on Wordfest.com at 5:30 PM (MT) for this conversation about her new book The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win hosted by Wordfest's CEO & Creative Ringleader Shelley Youngblut.

The pre-show reel will begin at 5:20 PM MT. The interview will start at 5:30 PM MT. 

This event is free but if you RSVP, we'll send you easy instructions to help you get set up, as well as our unique Digital Doggie Bag after the event, sharing all the links, goodies and references that Maria and Shelley mention.

We are so grateful to Penguin Random House for making it possible for us to connect with Maria. To get a copy of The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win, please get in touch with your local book stores (let's keep them in business!). Here are direct links to Calgary booksellers that would love to be able to deliver through curb-side pickup or to your home: 

 Owl's Nest Books | Pages On Kensington | Indigo.ca

About The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win

It's true that Maria Konnikova had never actually played poker before and didn't even know the rules when she approached Erik Seidel, Poker Hall of Fame inductee and winner of tens of millions of dollars in earnings, and convinced him to be her mentor. But she knew her man: a famously thoughtful and broad-minded player, he was intrigued by her pitch that she wasn't interested in making money so much as learning about life. She had faced a stretch of personal bad luck, and her reflections on the role of chance had led her to a giant of game theory, who pointed her to poker as the ultimate master class in learning to distinguish between what can be controlled and what can't. And she certainly brought something to the table, including a Ph.D. in psychology and an acclaimed and growing body of work on human behaviour and how to hack it. So Seidel was in, and soon she was down the rabbit hole with him, into the wild, fiercely competitive, overwhelmingly masculine world of high-stakes Texas Hold'em, their initial end point the following year's World Series of Poker.

But then something extraordinary happened. Under Seidel's guidance, Konnikova did have many epiphanies about life that derived from her new pursuit, including how to better read, not just her opponents but far more importantly herself; how to identify what tilted her into an emotional state that got in the way of good decisions; and how to get to a place where she could accept luck for what it was, and what it wasn't. But she also began to win. And win. In a little over a year, she began making earnest money from tournaments, ultimately totalling hundreds of thousands of dollars. She won a major title, got a sponsor, and got used to being on television, and to headlines like "How one writer's book deal turned her into a professional poker player." She even learned to like Las Vegas.

But in the end, Maria Konnikova is a writer and student of human behaviour, and ultimately the point was to render her incredible journey into a container for its invaluable lessons. The biggest bluff of all, she learned, is that skill is enough. Bad cards will come our way, but keeping our focus on how we play them and not on the outcome will keep us moving through many a dark patch, until the luck once again breaks our way.

About Maria Konnikova

Maria Konnikova is the author of three books. She is a regular contributing writer for The New Yorker, and has written for The AtlanticThe New York Times, SlateThe New RepublicThe Paris ReviewThe Wall Street Journal, SalonThe Boston Globe,  Scientific American, Wired, and Smithsonian, among many other publications. Her writing has won numerous awards, including the 2019 Excellence in Science Journalism Award from the Society of Personality and Social Psychology. While researching The Biggest Bluff, Maria became an international poker champion and the winner of over $300,000 in tournament earnings. Maria also hosts the podcast The Grift from Panoply Media and is currently a visiting fellow at NYU’s School of Journalism. Her podcasting work earned her a National Magazine Award nomination in 2019. Maria graduated from Harvard University and received her PhD in Psychology from Columbia University.



  • "How to Think Under Pressure" — The Guardian
  • "How a Writer with a Ph.D. in Psychology Became a Poker Champ" -- The New York Times
  • “Maria Konnikova Parts Ways With Pokerstars Ahead Of Poker Book Launch” — Poker Industry Pro.com
  • "The Biggest Bluff with Maria Konnikova" — Pokerfuse.com
  • “Mastermind Maria Konnikova On What Poker Can Teach Us About Life Decisions” — Forward
  • "A Writer Who Learned How To Play Poker For A Book Wins £95,600 And Becomes A Professional" — Independent
  • "What Winning $250,000 at Poker Taught Me About Money" — The Cut

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