Maria Konnikova wins Poker Caribbean Adventure National Championship

The world of poker witnessed the unexpected when Maria Konnikova, a best-selling author and journalist who learned to play poker only a year ago claimed the PCA National Championship, snagging the first-place prize of $84,600. Poker Caribbean Adventure (PCA) is an annual televised poker tournament which came into being in 2004 and is attracting poker enthusiasts ever since.

Maria Konnikova of the United States defeated a packed field of 290 players in $16,650 PCA National. After battling hard for three days, she finally emerged victorious in the coveted tournament that took place in the heart of Caribbean’s most preferred vacation resort Atlantis Paradise Island Resort.

Three action-packed days of the tournament saw the early elimination of some of the familiar names including PokerStars Team Pros Barry Greenstein and Jack Cody, Mike Leah, Kevin MacPhee and Joseph Cheong who got eliminated at the start of day 1 and could not make it to the final table.

The field was reduced to 62 players at the end of day 1. Only the top 39 players celebrated an in-the-money finish. One by one player made a disappointing exit from the tournament arena on Day 2.  Eventually, the number of players rattled down to just 10. And Day 3 of the event welcomed the remaining competitors who were gleaming with hopeful eyes to clinch the title.

Maria Konnikova and Alexander Ziskin locked horns in a heads-up grudge duel. And to everyone’s surprise, poker newbie Maria Konnikova outplayed Ziskin and emerged victoriously. Ziskin claimed $56,250 for his runner-up finish.

“Winning this, just kind of, it makes me feel like not only have I not been wasting my time but all the hours of studying I’ve been putting in, all of the hard work I’ve been doing, because I’ve been working non-stop on this, that it’s actually been paying off,” Konnikova said.

This New Yorker morphed into poker champ while researching for her latest book project and started off with zero knowledge of poker. She perfected her poker skills under the guidance of her master Erik Seidel. She now plans to use this art for writing about the role that rules of poker play in real life, the way it influences our decision-making capabilities and the way it prepares us to become smarter and sharper. 

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