top corner

Maria Konnikova Becomes PokerStars Ambassador

So what does $207k in career live tournament earnings get you nowadays in a poker world full of $25k High Rollers at every turn? Not much, unless you happen to be connected and in the right niche.

As many of you may already know, best-selling author Maria Konnikova won the $1,500 PCA National to snag a PokerStars Platinum Pass the PokerStars Players NL Hold’em Championship next year. After a couple of high profile cashes, she now finds herself as the newest PokerStars Ambassador.

One Year From “Rookie” to “Master”

What most find remarkable about Konnikova’s story is how she went from not having played a hand of poker to winning a significant live tournament in just a year’s time. She started her poker journey about 14 months ago as part of the research for her latest book entitled The Biggest Bluff which was supposed to document her experiences of a year on the live poker circuit.

Of course, her journey is a bit different from most true rookies. She was trained by 8-time WSOP bracelet winner Erik Seidel. Naturally, that fast-tracked her progress. Konnikova has a modest amount of success in 2017, earning about $31k in live events. She then had her “breakout” event at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in January.

Konnikova won the $1,500 PCA National Event for $84,600 and the $30,000 Platinum Pass. This allows her to play in the PokerStars Players NL Hold’em Championship next year in the Bahamas. That wouldn’t be her only major success that series. She also managed a 42nd place finish in the PCA Main Event for $22k.

Fast forward to March and she final tabled the HK$ 20k NL Hold’em Event at the APPT Macau. She eventually finished second for $57,519. She cashed in two other events that series.

Since that time, she has only cashed three more times in live events, including two WSOP cashes to bring her 2018 totals to $176,146. Konnikova has $207,750 in career earnings to this point.

Sponsorship Will Likely Supplement What’s Becoming Expensive Research

While details of the sponsorship deal have not been released, it can be assumed that the deal will help supplement her live tournament career, one that is becoming increasingly expensive. While she has won over $200k, she has also increased the volume of her play, including playing in at least one $25k High Roller in recent months.

PokerStars released a press release of her signing on Monday and posted about it on their blog. Konnikova was quoted in the press release, stating, “I’m incredibly excited to be joining the PokerStars team. It’s been wonderful to be an unofficial ambassador with PokerStars for this past year, and I feel it’s a tremendous honour to be joining the team officially now.

I never could have imagined poker becoming as big a part of my life as it has, and joining PokerStars offers me an incredible opportunity to take my game to the next level and to represent a brand that I’ve come to admire greatly. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the people I have the pleasure of working with at PokerStars are some of the nicest, smartest, and most fun I know. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to share my passion for poker with the world and, hopefully, bring many new players into the game.”

It was reported earlier this year that the book project has been put on hold due to her poker success. Assuming that this Ambassador deal will be at least a year, it may be a while before we see her continue work on her book.

One cannot blame PokerStars for taking advantage of the positive vibes behind this story. Her run has been nice to watch but it will be interesting to see if she can build on it or if this was merely a nice streak that some go through. PokerStars is naturally hoping she can make some more deep runs, especially one in the PokerStars Players Championship next year.

bottom corner