Maria Konnikova played against Alexander Ziskin in the PCA Nat’l Championship, with the “New Yorker” writer Maria Konnikova emerging victorious.

Thanks to Seidel, Maria Konnikova became a true poker winner in less than a year. She is also a New York Times best-selling author, whose works included The Biggest Bluff. At the PCA Nat’l Championship, Konnikova managed to beat a field of 290 players, during a $1,650 buy-in event at the 2018 PCA. The prize money for the champion was close to $85,000. Money wasn’t the only thing Konnikova won at the event. She also managed to walk away with a Platinum Pass to the PokerStars Players Championship that is slated to happen next January. That pass is worth $30,000.

Maria Konnikova vs. Alexander Ziskin

Maria Konnikova came face to face with Alexander Ziskin, entering a heads-up play with a three-to-one chip lead. It wasn’t long before she managed to finish things off. All it took were a few quick hands of Konnikova, where she raised and took down the blinds, to get her opponent all in on the turn. This move also caused Ziskin to draw to just nine outs. Since Ziskin did not have the ability to connect with the river, Konnikova was announced as the winner of the tournament. When you the term “river” in poker, it refers to the final card being dealt in a poker hand. A river card is usually followed by a final round of betting and a showdown.

Konnikova mentioned after her victory that it was in her wildest dreams that she would become the winner of the championship. She knew that she wanted to win and worked really hard for it. However, the feeling of winning is just incredible. She felt so validating to achieve her first major live title. She credited her victory to Seidel, for his coaching and being a source of inspiration. He was the best coach in the world to her.

Maria Konnikova’s Background

The Russian-American has an interesting story, which has also won the hearts of the poker community. Before becoming a writer for the Scientific American, The Atlantic, the New York Times, etc., she relocated to the U.S. to pursue degrees from both Columbia and Harvard. Her academic achievements include earning a Ph.D. in psychology.

Konnikova was exposed to the game of poker when she travelled to Monte Carlo, to check out the PokerStars Festival about a year ago. She decided the learn the game and requested that the infamous, Erik Seidel become her coach and mentor. Konnikova’s initial goal was to play poker for about a year, grasp its foundations, and then use her knowledge to work on a book.

Since her poker career started, Konnikova has managed to gather several second-place finishes. They have added up to approximately $30,000 in tournament earnings. All in all, Konnikova has never expected to travel this far in this short period of time, much less winning a prestigious event at the PCA.

Top 5 Championship Prize Money

Noted as one of the premier events at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure 2018, here is a quick look at the top 5 prize money:

1    Maria Konnikova        $84,600

2    Alexander Ziskin        $56,250

3    Kevin MacDonald      $41,140

4    Loek van Wely            $33,210

5    Harrison Gimbel         $26,040