Get Your Free Audiobook

Non-member price: $19.75

After 30 days, Audible is $16.45/mo. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

How a New York Times best-selling author and New Yorker contributor parlayed a strong grasp of the science of human decision-making and a woeful ignorance of cards into a life-changing run as a professional poker player, under the wing of a legend of the game.  

Maria Konnikova had never actually played poker before and didn’t even know the rules when she approached Erik Seidel - Poker Hall of Fame inductee, winner of tens of millions of dollars in earnings - and asked him to be her mentor. She had faced a stretch of personal bad luck, and her reflections on the role of chance in her life had pointed her to poker as the ultimate master class in learning to distinguish what can be controlled and what can’t. Seidel was in, and soon Konnikova was down the rabbit hole with him, a journey that would lead her to the following year’s World Series of Poker. 

Then something extraordinary happened. Under Seidel’s guidance, Konnikova began to have many epiphanies about life that derived from her new pursuit, including how to better read not just her opponents but, far more importantly, herself. She found her way to making better decisions and to a place where she could accept luck for what it is and what it isn’t. But she also began to win. She even learned to like Las Vegas. 

In the end, Konnikova is a student of human behaviour and ultimately the point of her incredible adventure was to render it into a container for its invaluable lessons. The biggest bluff of all she learned is that skill is enough. This is an audiobook that will focus your mind and strengthen your hand.

©2020 Maria Konnikova (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic Reviews

"The narrative is so gripping that you might get halfway through The Biggest Bluff before you even notice that you’re getting a master class in learning, focus, and decision-making. I tore through it in two sittings, and haven’t stopped thinking about it since." (David Epstein, author of Range)

"One of the most extraordinary outcomes of any experiment in participatory journalism. This is a book not just about poker, but about the meaning of luck, the science of skill, and the psychology of outsmarting your competitors." (Joshua Foer, author of Moonwalking with Einstein)

"A flat out classic. It’s a ripping good story - with an underdog heroine, a Yoda-like mentor, and a cast of wild characters. It’s a sophisticated meditation on the relative importance of deep skill and dumb luck.... [Listening to] this book is like drawing a straight flush." (Daniel H. Pink, author of When, Drive and To Sell Is Human)

What listeners say about The Biggest Bluff

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    103
  • 4 Stars
    11
  • 3 Stars
    8
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    81
  • 4 Stars
    13
  • 3 Stars
    8
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    82
  • 4 Stars
    12
  • 3 Stars
    7
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Really really good!

A fantastic gripping real life story. There’s enough poker talk in it for me to nerd out (I am a poker player), but I do believe even a non poker player would enjoy this book. Maria references some great material as she compares poker to life (I have gone and looked them up as so interesting). Overall a great mix of poker talk, some hidden poker tips, and a real life story of how she did really overcome the odds to become a very good poker player. Definitely recommend!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Thoroughly enjoyable

It’s wonderful to hear Maria’s voice narrating the words she wrote. She is a wordsmith. I found the content very insightful even though i don’t play poker.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Thought Provoking

A very interesting story which nicely blends anecdotes and statistics to come to a thought provoking, philosophical conclusion.
Maria is easy to listen to although in an audio book she may very occasionally lose people with no understanding of poker.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable

Interesting story with lots of life lessons. Engagingly told. Non fiction that is as engaging as fiction.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • M
  • 13-10-2020

Probably best for poker buffs

Well spoken, but with so much of the terminology and scenarios being domain specific, even to a casual player it's hard to follow sometimes. Some good game theory content though.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Not recommended

Found this book very repetitive and boring, and the voice is a bit annoying.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A great book

Love it! Maria's wit and charm makes for a great listen and a very interesting perspective on life, luck and skill.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

the poker pro's mind

Brilliant book, well structured, well written, and well narrated!

Really captivating personal journey into thinking more effectively, more sustainably, and in a more learning way. Filled with great anecdotes and characters. So many insights into the way we think and how we are deluded.

Loved it!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing story with a wealth of meaningful insights

Artful storytelling weaved with amazing insight about decision-making, uncertainty, skill and luck. I would recommend this to anyone.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Apie
  • Apie
  • 28-07-2020

Unexpectedly, exactly what I needed.

I played a lot of poker in my twenties. Even won a few local tournaments. Then I had a bad run and quit. I lived quite a bit scared in my general life (traumatic events) after that as well. Then I got short stacked and went all in by selling everything and just traveling. Came back end of 2019 without knowing what to do.

This book has been exactly what I needed. I had expected that I can beat lady luck. When it failed, I withdrew. Going back into life without those delusions, and aiming at dqncing with her rather than controlling her is exactly what I needed to learn. Great listen. Thanks!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Tim Rotas
  • Tim Rotas
  • 22-08-2020

Brilliant! Don’t worry... Not necessarily about poker.

If you’re looking for a refreshing (and successful) way to approach life this is it. Told through Maria’s personal experience trying to become a poker pro. It gives you the tools to think about your own life “games” and how chance and strategy combine to give you outcomes... Well researched, some great references and frameworks for thinking I had to pause the recording and google. It’s already improved my decision making in my business and a different lens in which to view the world. Bravo.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 25-07-2020

Please read!

Honest and insightful look at the philosophy of life using poker as a medium. Superb writing and narration makes this an absolute gem.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Adrian Shaw
  • Adrian Shaw
  • 16-04-2021

Awesome

Loved this book. Great format and a very compelling story line. Really expanded on the characters and tied it all together at the end, with how the learnings relate to real life

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Monty
  • Monty
  • 22-03-2021

Too many quotes

The continuous quoting and referencing gets to become predictable and tiresome. The book needed editing.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Chris
  • Chris
  • 16-02-2021

didn't think much of this

not sure if it's a poker book or self help book, her voice is annoying.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 13-02-2021

An anology for life I can really appreciate

Have recommended this book to four friends since completing. As an entrepreneur the parallels with decision making I have been able to draw are useful. Far from just being about the art of bluffing, this book explores the human nature and character interaction on and around a poker table, most of which are in some way synonymous with our own day to day decision making

A brilliant read.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Martin Rickard
  • Martin Rickard
  • 11-01-2021

Wonderful book about poker and life, a broken rut

I've struggled to get into a new book for months one that I actually follow through to the end and have just been revisiting old favourites. The biggest bluff has happily broken that rut!


Finished in a few days and a huge eye opener to the poker world, trading, money management and other important life lessons and advice

I can remember Marias name being brought up while watching one of the matches on YouTube talking about her mentorship with Sidel and seeing her book I wanted to get a viewpoint of learning poker by one of the very best players in the world
Not afraid to point the finger right at herself when she has messed up she holds no punches and ensures the reader understands why. She shows her human side and the struggles that an individual goes through when betting money (something that lines up very well with trading the stock and forex markets)

Proformed very well by the author, she knows when emphasise and when to hold back, another one added to the favourites list

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kennedy
  • Kennedy
  • 06-01-2021

Interesting in parts, but mostly filler

It was a serious struggle to finish this. From the description, I expected something more along the lines of Freakanomics or Malcolm Gladwell, but it reads more like Alice in Wonderland chick-lit. Everything is interesting and noteworthy e.g. some people take caffeine pills instead of drinking coffee, who would have thought?

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-01-2021

Good Read

An interesting book that demonstrates how key behavioural science concepts can be be practically applied in the real world ... in this case to professional poker. While you certainly don't need to understand the mechanics of poker, an interest in the game is probably helpful.

Maria Konnikova is a good writer who expresses her ideas well. Her own narration of this audio book is a plus overall although her delivery may be a little flat for some.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Larry Reacher
  • Larry Reacher
  • 10-12-2020

lessons in life, A good read.

Well it was a roller coaster experience, I liked the narrator voice as well. I use to play a lot of poker online and was a winning player in all 7 years i played. You can learn learn technical poker pretty easy, Sklansky, harrington to name a few. But i did notice after i final tabled 3 big games and busted 9th in all 3 with AK vs AQ that i was super angry. I did not take it so well, putting me off my games for days at a time. This book would have helped a lot. yes i understood bad beats, But basically the book gets to the point, that variance happens, bad runs happen. Just learn to take it in your stride, did i make the right moves, if yes and you lost, move on, next hand, the last is history. Of course pokers a starting point here, but the ideas apply to everything thing you do in life, or life does to you.. If you learn this lesson its a massive help..

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Raa
  • Raa
  • 13-11-2020

amazing book

totally love it
well done Maria, listened to both books, looking forward to the next one, hope win the main event one day

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.