Maria Konnikova

Welcome to my blog. I’ll do my best to update it regularly (or semi-regularly, at the least…) with news, writing updates, and other assorted thoughts. Read, enjoy, and please share your thoughts and comments. If you’re looking for psychology pieces at the New Yorker, you can find them here. If you’re looking for my old blog about literature and psychology, Literally Psyched, you can find it here.

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The poker adventure continues: WSOP, part one!

July 5, 2017

Hey everyone! I’m writing this from NYC, just before heading back out to Las Vegas for the final stretch of the WSOP. Part one went reasonably well – I played six bracelet events (not counting the Tag Team, where I didn’t end up playing a single hand), cashed in two of them, and bubbled two. (For my non-poker peoples, which is a substantial number of you, bubbling is busting a tournament right before the money; if you stone cold bubble, the next person out will get paid, while you go home with…nothing. And yes, I managed that lovely feat one out of the two times. The other time, there were a few people left.) Not terrible, but let’s try to do better on this return trip! Two big ones left: the Ladies, and, of course, the Main Event.

It was really important, I think, to leave Vegas for a bit and get re-energized. It tends to drain you to be playing so much, getting so little sun, and having so little mind space to think. Vegas is meant to be done in small doses, at least for me. And now, fully recovered, here’s to a winning return…and lots of tasty material for my next book :). As before, huge thanks to PokerStars for making this all possible. And as before, a few photos from my first trip out:

When I arrived, the sheer scale of the events was impressive. Massive rooms, all filled with people playing poker.

When I arrived, the sheer scale of the events was impressive. Massive rooms, all filled with people playing poker.

To properly understand what it's like, I turned to a world I'm more comfortable in: literature. Ian Fleming nails it in Casino Royale.

To properly understand what it’s like, I turned to a world I’m more comfortable in: literature. Ian Fleming nails it in “Casino Royale.”

I can totally do this. Here I am, gearing up to play.

I can totally do this. Here I am, gearing up to play.

My secret weapon: sun. Getting as much fresh air during breaks as humanly possible.

My secret weapon: sun. Getting as much fresh air during breaks as humanly possible.

It works! Day 2 of the Six Max (which I end up cashing) is about to begin.

It works! Day 2 of the Six Max (which I end up cashing) is about to begin. A few lucky breaks, and I’m in the money.

Celebrating with my favorite food.

Celebrating with my favorite food. Sushi is the way to my heart.

A few shots of some of my tables. Some opponents are tougher than others…

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To psych myself up against some of the more aggressive pros, a little alcohol break isn’t out of the question…

Wine: one glass is a good key to upping your aggression. Two is a good key to busting.

Wine: one glass is a good key to upping your aggression. Two is a good key to busting.

And when I inevitably bust…

This is what happens when I lose. It is also why I need to win.

This is what happens when I lose. It is also why I need to win.

Luckily, I made a few more Day 2s, putting a brief halt to the ice cream consumption.

Luckily, I made a few more Day 2s, putting a brief halt to the ice cream consumption.

And I even got to participate in my actual job, journalism. Behind the scenes with Phil Hellmuth and Poker Central...

And I even got to participate in my actual job, journalism. Behind the scenes with Phil Hellmuth and Poker Central…

With some basketball thrown in for good measure.

With some basketball thrown in for good measure.

End result: a smile in the sun. Ready to take on WSOP, round 2!

End result: a smile in the sun. Ready to take on WSOP, round 2!

Onwards! I look forward to sharing it all with you soon.