The accomplished author, who has transformed herself into a formidable poker professional, shared the news of her reappointment on Thursday. Her return makes her the fourth ambassador to rejoin the PokerStars family for a second term.
In this new chapter, Konnikova assumes the role of brand representative for PokerStars in the North American region, highlighting the operator’s ongoing investment in the US and Ontario markets.
“I’m very happy to once again be joining the PokerStars team as an ambassador,” said Maria Konnikova, author of New York Times Bestselling books. “Poker is a game of skill that can teach us so much about our minds and ourselves — and I can’t wait to share my passion for it along with the incredible team at PokerStars. I’m quite excited for the vision that PokerStars has for U.S. expansion and am thrilled to play a small part in helping the world appreciate the true beauty and promise of a game I have come to love.”
Maria Konnikova is a three-time New York Times bestselling author and holds a Ph.D. in psychology. Her poker journey commenced when she stumbled upon John von Neumann’s Game Theory, which drew inspiration from the world of poker. In late 2016, she connected with Erik Seidel, a distinguished Poker Hall of Fame inductee.
Over the course of more than a year, she collaborated closely with Seidel to immerse herself in the poker realm, pushing the boundaries of her potential success and ultimately crafting her experiences into the book “The Biggest Bluff.”
The Russian-American writer debuted her poker at a PokerStars live tournament in Monte Carlo in 2017. Her breakthrough moment came in January when she claimed victory in the 2018 PCA National Championship, securing a prize of $84,000 and a coveted $30,000 PSPC Platinum Pass—making her the first woman to achieve this prestigious milestone. Since entering the poker scene, Konnikova has amassed over $450,000 in tournament winnings. In June 2018, PokerStars signed her as their ambassador.
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Her success in poker also profoundly impacted her book project, leading to multiple deadline extensions before its eventual publication in 2020.
“Maria’s ability to communicate the virtues of poker is unrivaled,” said Steve Preiss, VP of PokerStars North America. “She will be integral in our goal of expanding the game to new audiences.”
Konnikova’s rejoining of PokerStars coincides with the operator’s highly anticipated revival of the North American Poker Tour (NAPT) in the US, ending a 12-year hiatus. Additionally, PokerStars has amalgamated its North American “COOP” series under the official NACOOP banner, exemplifying its dedication to the market.
Fans of Konnikova can look forward to her participation in the NAPT tour scheduled for Las Vegas in November and her involvement in the USCOOP tournament series, which spans the shared liquidity network encompassing New Jersey and Michigan. Furthermore, she is set to participate in the Ten-Deuce event on October 2 — a freeroll event organized to honor the legacy of the late Doyle Brunson.
Konnikova’s addition marks the first expansion of the PokerStars US ambassador roster since November of the previous year. She joins the esteemed ranks of Jennifer Shahade, a two-time US Women’s Chess Champion, Chess Grandmaster, author, and poker professional, as well as Michigan-based poker streamer David Kaye.
She is also the fourth ambassador to return to the fold after exiting the brand. Other notable ambassadors to do the same are Brazilian legendary football players Neymar Jr. & Ronaldo as well as André Coimbra.