Welcome to The Elite Advisor Blueprint – The Podcast for World-Class Financial Advisors. I’m Brad Johnson, VP of Advisor Development at Advisors Excel, and it’s my goal to distill the best ideas and advice from top thought leaders and apply it to the world of independent financial advising.
In today’s conversation, I’m talking to Maria Konnikova. Maria holds a PhD in psychology, is a writer for The New Yorker, and is a 2x NY Times Bestseller as the author of Mastermind and The Confidence Game. In her newest book, The Biggest Bluff, she tells the story of her deep dive into the world of professional poker with mentor and Poker Hall of Famer, Erik Seidel. Over the course of her studies, she went from the idea of planning a 1 year project, as an observer and student trying to understand the psychology of professional poker (while mentoring under Erik Seidel), to being fully immersed and drawn in as a participant who walked away with over $300,000 in winnings.
Today, Maria joins the podcast to share insight into the psychology behind high-stakes poker, and how pressure and big money can impact our decisions. We also get into her previous work from her book, The Confidence Game, where she deconstructs ponzi schemes and common themes for identifying them.
So, whether you’re a fan of Texas Hold’em (like me), or simply interested in an eclectic conversation around psychology and money, this was a fun one, and it applies to financial services on many fronts.
Here are 3 of my big takeaways from this episode:
- #1: Why high stakes poker is such a powerful way to study decision making, especially around risk, uncertainty, and money. [11:35]
- #2: The remarkable overlap between poker and investing philosophy – what’s the same versus what’s different. [19:42]
- #3: High level takeaways from Maria’s studies of ponzi schemes, like those of Bernie Madoff, and how to recognize them. [45:44]
- [5:52] How Maria ended up witnessing a high-stakes push-up competition in the midst of a high-stakes poker game in Monte Carlo – and why many of her best stories from this project had nothing to do with poker.
- [13:35] How poker reveals the player’s emotional and psychological hang-ups in real-time.
- [26:26] Why “Pay attention” was the best advice Maria received from Erik throughout her entire project.
- [28:39] What led Maria to seek out Erik, a notoriously private person, as her mentor – and why he said yes.
- [36:17] What women in finance can learn from Maria’s experiences playing a game whose participants are 97% male.
- [45:44] High level takeaways from Maria’s study of con artists – and the tricks Bernie Madoff used to keep his operation going until the last possible moment.
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win
- Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes
- The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It . . . Every Time
- Run It Once Poker Training
- Sour Grapes (Wikipedia)
- Chris Moneymaker
- Greg Raymar
- Erik Seidel
- Kevin Hart
- Dan Coleman
- Johnny Chan
- Jim Rohn
- Phil Galfond
- Jason Koon
- Ike Haxton
- Bernie Madoff
- Lance Armstrong
REVIEWS OF THE WEEK
This week’s featured review comes from Apple Podcasts user Jepcuhimihn, who said…
As always, I really appreciate these reviews. I’ve found that they really help me hone in on the content, and invite on great guests who can serve you all. I find the marketing episodes really tend to hit home. I’ve also found that in working with financial advisors for nearly 15 years, one of the most common themes is “how do I get good qualified prospects on my calendar?” So I will continue to go down that path. Today’s episode was a bit more on the psychology side of things, but I think you’ll love it. Thanks again for the kind words and for listening in!
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Welcome to this episode of The Elite Advisor Blueprint Podcast with your host, Brad Johnson. Brad’s the VP of Advisor Development at Advisors Excel, the largest independent insurance brokerage company in the US. He’s also a regular contributor to InvestmentNews, the Wall Street Journal, and other industry publications.
[00:00:26] Brad Johnson: Welcome to the Elite Advisor Blueprint, the podcast for world-class financial advisors. I’m Brad Johnson, VP of Advisor Development at Advisors Excel and it’s my goal to distill the best ideas and advice from top thought leaders and apply it to the world of independent financial advising.
In today’s conversation, I’m talking with Maria Konnikova. Maria holds a Ph.D. in Psychology, is a writer for The New Yorker, and is a two-time New York Times best-seller as the author of Mastermind, as well as The Confidence Game. In her newest book, literally just being released as this episode drops, The Biggest Bluff, she tells the story of her deep dive into the world of professional poker with mentor and poker Hall of Famer, Erik Seidel. For those of you not as familiar with poker, if you’ve seen the movie, Rounders, starring Matt Damon, he’s the famous poker player who lost the heads up showdown in the 1988 World Series of Poker versus Johnny Chan, the one where Damon’s character deconstructs kind of the play-by-play during the movie.
So, over the course of her studies, she went from the idea of planning a one-year project as an observer and student trying to understand the psychology of professional poker while mentoring under Erik Seidel to really being fully immersed and drawn in as a participant who walked away with over 300,000 in winnings as she fell into the professional poker playing world. So, we get into a lot of that during today’s conversation. Maria also joins the podcast to share insight into the psychology behind high stakes poker, how pressure and big money decisions impact our decisions. And we also get into her previous work from her New York Times bestseller, The Confidence Game, where she deconstructs Ponzi schemes and common themes to help you identify them. So, whether you’re a fan of Texas Hold’em like me or simply interested in an eclectic conversation on psychology and money, this was a fun one that applies to financial services on many fronts.
[00:02:30] Brad Johnson: Here are three of my big takeaways from this episode. Number one, why high stakes poker is such a powerful way to study decision making especially around risk and uncertainty and money. Number two, the remarkable overlap between poker and investing philosophy, what’s the same versus what’s different. And number three, high level takeaways from Maria’s study of Ponzi schemes like those of Bernie Madoff and how to recognize them. Okay, before we get to the show, as a special thank you to you, blueprint listeners, Maria was kind enough to send us a box of autographed copies of her just released book, The Biggest Bluff. If you’d like your free copy, here’s what to do next. Number one, all that I ask is you leave an honest review out on iTunes or your favorite podcast player. To make it easy, there’s a graphic right at the top of the show notes at BradleyJohnson.com/79 or if you happen to be listening on a mobile player, simply scroll down to the show notes to find the link there.
Once you’ve left a review, just drop us an email via firstname.lastname@example.org with your iTunes username. If you happen to be leaving the review out on Spotify or somewhere else, simply a screenshot, email them to email@example.com works just as well and we will drop you a copy in the mail as a thank you. That simple. Also, a quick apology, if you’re listening internationally, super thankful as there’s more and more of you on every episode, but at this point, just too dang expensive to send books overseas. So, just do Maria a favor. If you liked this episode, go out to your local bookstore out on Amazon and buy a copy there. So that’s it. As always, thanks for listening in and without further delay, my conversation with Maria Konnikova.
[00:04:15] Brad Johnson: Welcome to this episode of the Elite Advisor Blueprint Podcast. I have special guest, Maria Konnikova, with us here today. Welcome to the show, Maria.
[00:04:24] Maria Konnikova: Thanks so much for having me, Brad.
[00:04:26] Brad Johnson: Well, this is really fun, Maria, because as we were talking before we went live here, I had a college phase where I could quite honestly be considered a poker junkie. It was during the phase of I think it was probably poker’s height, the World Series of Poker on ESPN. There was I remember Chris Moneymaker who had a name made for poker and then Greg Raymer, Fossil Man, the guy with the weird glasses that got a lot of facetime on ESPN. So, I played a lot of hold’em. I played a lot of tournament poker all through college. And here you are with your new book, The Biggest Bluff, and it really breaks down psychology which you have a Ph.D. in and then you went on this little mission like a one-year research project with Erik Seidel and then the next thing you know, you get pulled into this kind of professional poker world which poker tends to do. So, as we dive in and who knows where this conversation is going to go. I just know it’s going to be really interesting.
So, let’s just start. You’re a New York Times bestselling author, your two previous books, Mastermind, which was a book around kind of Sherlock Holmes and you’d grown up on those stories and then The Confidence Game which we’ll probably get into which deals with con artists like Bernie Madoff that our audience will be very familiar with. Out of the gates, which is the most interesting poker story you have from your two, three, four-year journey? I’m not sure how long you were sitting around the poker table. Just give us a good one. It’ll be fun to start the conversation.
[00:05:52] Maria Konnikova: Some of the most fun stories I’ve had have nothing to do with poker and everything to do with the fact that a lot of poker players love to do other types of gambling. And so, there are lots of things that happen at poker tables that are unrelated. So, my coach, Erik Seidel, is someone who plays high stakes poker and by high stakes poker, I mean, the highest of stakes poker, like he’s a tournament player but the buy-ins we’re talking about the low-end is about $25,000 and it goes up to a million. So, these are huge events and I often observed him playing.
[00:06:33] Brad Johnson: What’s the highest game you just sat there and watch people just throwing money around?
[00:06:38] Maria Konnikova: I would watch a lot of the high roller tournaments. I was never physically present at the million-dollar ones because I think that’s a little too distracting but the biggest ones that I’ve ever seen in-person were 250,000 buy-in. And so, that’s tournament poker, obviously, not cash games so it’s a little bit different. So, there’s not actually money sitting on the table. There are chips that are worthless and they have no cash value. But it’s interesting. So, one of the craziest stories was in Monte Carlo, one of these high roller events, and I was also there to play, but I came a little bit early because Erik was playing in a $100,000 event, which is known as 100K. So, all the events are referred to if it’s 1K or above, that’s how you refer to it. So, the 100K, the 250K, the 25K.
So, he’s playing on 100K and I wanted to come and visit him and just kind of see, wow, this is the highest buy-in event I’ve ever witnessed. I want to see all of these geniuses at work, all of these people just concentrating. So, I come into the casino and this is the most beautiful casino in the world. It’s in Monte Carlo and it’s called the Room of Stars, Salle des Etoiles, and the ceiling actually retracts and you can see the sky. So, at the beginning of the tournament…
[00:07:55] Brad Johnson: This is a real poker room with a retractable ceiling?
[00:07:58] Maria Konnikova: Yeah. And it’s all glass all around and it’s right on the water. I mean, it’s just stunning. Normally, I mean, you don’t actually get to play with the roof open. They’ll do it at the beginning of the tournament and then they’ll close the roof but it’s really beautiful. So, I walk into this place and I’ve never been there before. This is my first tournament. This is my first big poker trip. I don’t know what to expect and I find the area with the high roller and I walk up and I’m going to be really, really quiet and not break anyone’s concentration. All of a sudden, I see that there’s just this crowd of players, all of these guys I’ve come to know who are all these high roller players, and they’re crowding around the floor and there’s a guy on the floor wearing a bathrobe, and it looks like he’s doing push-ups. And then I noticed that Kevin Hart is standing there and Kevin Hart is obviously a comedian, but also likes poker, and he’s playing in this event, and he’s staying there and he’s just screaming. He’s going, “Motherfucker!”
And I’m just thinking, “What in the world is going on? Did I come to the wrong place? Is the 100K not happening right now?” No, no, the 100K is happening and all these guys are playing. They’re also in the middle of something known as a prop bet, which is a bet on a proposition. Prop is short for a proposition. And in this particular case, so I soon recognize that the guy on the floor in the bathrobe is Dan Coleman, who is one of the highest-ranked players at that time, top five all-time money list in the world. He has retired since then but this is a guy who’s won a lot of money. And he’s the one on the floor and apparently, he’s made a bet with Kevin Hart about the number of pushups he can do in a certain amount of time, and people have placed money, thousands of dollars, on every side of this bet, and they’re just seeing is he going to be able to pull it off? And this is happening in the middle of a $100,000 tournament.
[00:09:47] Maria Konnikova: And so, I’m just standing there and everyone’s swearing and everyone’s screaming, and this is the end of the bet, and we don’t know if Dan is going to actually make it or not. He pushes it right until the end and he ends up winning but that was just such a quintessential poker moment, where you think that it’s all about poker and it’s all about mathematics and all these guys. There are people there who have PhDs and statistics and they’re so brilliant and here’s this guy in a bathrobe betting thousands of dollars on the number of pushups he can do, and everyone is just kind of letting their cards set while they look at this and see is he going to pull it off or not.
[00:10:28] Brad Johnson: For some reason, that does not surprise me. Do you remember how many pushups he actually had to do to win the bet?
[00:10:33] Maria Konnikova: I don’t. It’s in the book. So, I actually just don’t remember off the top of my head. It was a lot and I’m happy to look it up for you right now.
[00:10:39] Brad Johnson: Better reason, just go buy the book, everyone.
[00:10:42] Maria Konnikova: But it’s in the book. It’s in the Monte Carlo chapter, which is called The Gambler and the Nerd.
[00:10:47] Brad Johnson: Yeah. And as I was admitting to you before we went live here, I have not had the chance to get all the way through the book but your publishing team was kind enough to send me out an early copy a few days ago. But I did dive in and I can tell you, there’s a lot of books I get to read for being a podcaster. This one will get read all the way through because I can already tell it’s drawing me in from the poker and the psychology. I think it’s cliché to say poker is a good like it’s a good example of everyday life, all of the decisions that get made out on the poker table. But you went into this as a student of the game and then you became a participant. What did you learn? Was there one or two lessons that you learn around the poker table that just like were just kind of as wow?
[00:11:35] Maria Konnikova: I’m just laughing because it’s just lesson after lesson after lesson. And the whole book is one big lesson. I mean, I learned how little I knew about myself, about the world, about decision making. And my Ph.D. is in psychology and not just any psychology. I actually studied decision making under risk and uncertainty, under hot emotional conditions. I actually looked at people making decisions in this exact environment that’s really applicable to the poker table. So, I had people play stock market games and make stock market decisions, make investment allocation decisions, and see how they would learn and see how they would grow. So, this is my area. And so, I thought that I actually knew a lot about it. But it’s very different studying it in the abstract and then poker forces you to live it. I mean, you have to confront so much about yourself. It’s therapy.
I learned so much about my hang-ups, the issues that I have, the things I need to work through at the poker table because, at one point or another, it’s going to come out there, who you are, what you’re afraid of, what makes you tick. It’s going to come out because you’re playing for hour after hour after hour. Especially during a tournament, you can’t get up and leave. It’s not a cash game. You can’t just suddenly decide, “I need a break.” You have to keep playing if you don’t want to blind out. And so, you’re sitting there for 12, 13, 14 hours. Sometimes I’ve had 16-hour days. You get tired, you get exhausted, you get depleted. So, everything at some point is going to come out when you’re in that sort of depleted state and it forces you to come face-to-face with yourself in a way that you’re not often forced to do. And that to me was just absolutely fascinating and eye-opening and not always in a good way. I learned there were lots of things about myself. I didn’t like that I didn’t think that I suffered from. I didn’t think that I had confidence issues. I didn’t think that I was the kind of person who would be passive and let myself be bullied. But I am, it turns out.
[00:13:35] Maria Konnikova: It turns out that I’ve actually internalized a lot of sexism from my environment that I’ve internalized a lot of these lessons, that I don’t want to antagonize people, that I don’t want to confront people. In poker, that’s a death sentence. You’re just going to bleed chips and I had to learn that about myself. And I think that if you’re going to become a good player, you have to deal with your emotional issues. You have to deal with all of your psychological hang-ups because otherwise they’ll show up in your game and you’re going to make mistakes. So, that’s one area of it. And the other thing that I am just eternally grateful to poker for is the fact that it actually taught me what probability feels like. It taught me to think probabilistically and to recognize just what it means to make decisions with incomplete information, and to have to act even though you don’t know everything, and you’re never going to know everything unless you’re cheating and you’re looking at other people’s cards.
Then you have to act and you have to act to the best of your knowledge and you start learning. Okay. This is what 10% feels like. This is what 25% feels like. This is what 98% feels like. I got my money and as a 98% favorite, hurrah, I’m going to win. Oh, no, 2% just happened and I lost and I’m out of the tournament. And you realize 2% happens. 2% is a lot. 2% is not nothing. That’s actually huge. And you start learning that and as a psychologist, one of the things I know about our minds is how limited we are in our ability to learn probability, and our ability to think statistically, to think in those terms, in those types of percentages, to figure out what they mean because, in life, you don’t normally get to sample probabilities correctly. You have these one-off events that have an outsized impact in how you evaluate risks, how you think about things. Because that’s how we learn, we learn from experience.
[00:15:35] Maria Konnikova: And poker, I didn’t realize just what a good laboratory it was going to be for teaching me to think through these things correctly because you keep sampling in hand after hand after hand hundreds of times, thousands of times, and so you learn correctly. And then you transfer that knowledge away from the table and all of a sudden, you find yourself better able to think through complicated situations to make decisions in risky environments without all of the factors so that you can just focus on the process and get your money on as a favorite, and not worry about the outcome. Because the outcome doesn’t matter. If I got my money in as a 65% favorite, I should keep doing that over and over and over and over, even if I’m losing money 35% of the time because I’m going to make money over the long term. If I hadn’t played poker and you make that decision and you lose right away, maybe you could become gun shy. Maybe you think, “Oh, I shouldn’t have done that.” Poker teaches you, no, you have to keep doing it over and over. Don’t worry about whether or not it worked out this time because in the long term it will work out.
[00:16:38] Brad Johnson: Okay. So much there. So, it’s beautiful how much of this applies to financial services and financial advisors. I go back to the 98% favorite and so I do want to get…
[00:16:51] Maria Konnikova: I can tell you that story.
[00:16:53] Brad Johnson: I want to hear it. Yeah. Let’s get into that because you do a really good job. I knew poker. I knew hold’em. I’ve watched hours probably World Series poker just over my lifetime, but you do a really good job of introducing the game to novices. So, you don’t have to be a poker fan to actually really enjoy the book. But for those that are a little bit just for the context of the game, hold’em, two cards, you draw out five. The whole table plays the best handoff of the two cards in their hand and the cards on the table. So, there’s a lot of variants and so what all can be going on depending on how many players you have. And I believe the bulk of your experience, Maria, was in tournament play. Is that correct?
[00:17:31] Maria Konnikova: Yes.
[00:17:32] Brad Johnson: Okay. So, tournament play, you start with 100 players and you whittle it down until there’s one winner. Everybody starts with the same chip. So, really, tournament plays survival of the fittest, right? So, it’s a lot of limiting the downside risk. Would you say that’s fair, as far as strategy?
[00:17:47] Maria Konnikova: No. So, something really interesting, one of the reasons that I’ve come to prefer a tournament play over just, in general, any form of poker is how dynamic tournaments are, and how much your strategy has to change depending on the stage of the tournament and the structure of the tournament. So, one of the things you realize is that at the beginning you oftentimes do want to protect against the downside because you’re very deep-stacked, and people make a lot of mistakes, and people will give you chips if you wait for them. So, there’s no need to take a lot of risks, especially if you’re at a good table with weak players. But then as players start being eliminated, what you’re trying to do is build up a chip stack.
So, you actually want to put yourself in a position to win, not just in a position to cash. And in order to do that, you need to have chips. You can’t just try to sneak your way into the money and sneak your way through the bubble. So, then you have to start taking risks. You have to start being more aggressive. You have to start pushing your edge because otherwise you’re not going to accumulate and you’re going to end up with no chips and then you’ll be forced into a risk you don’t want to take or that might be better not to take. And so, but then there are times when you get to the final table. Now, you have considerations called ICM, which is the independent chip model. So, now if there are big pay jumps, right away you have to be more conservative again. If you’re someone with a few chips, if you’re the last one, you can be really aggressive because you don’t care. You’re going to be the first one out anyways. But if you’re one of the medium stacks, all of a sudden, you have to be really, really careful because there’s someone who has fewer chips than you. If you just wait for them to bust, then you’re going to be able to ladder up and get much more money just by being patient.
[00:19:42] Maria Konnikova: So, you have to think about all of these things. How many chips do I have relative to everyone at my table? Where are we in the tournament? What’s the pay structure like? What am I trying to accomplish? And it’s constantly changing and it’s dynamic. That’s why I find tournaments so fascinating.
[00:19:58] Brad Johnson: So, I’m going to apply that in financial services. So, that’s kind of a good analogy for market cycles. But you look at, well, pre-COVID-19 everybody thought, “Hey, this economy is great. We’re on the longest bull market run in the history of the United States of America. Let’s throw some more money in the market and life is good.” And then I feel like it was a little bit that you’re a 98% favorite with your money in the market, and then that 2% just hit and it was called COVID-19. So, maybe you tell the story of your 98% odds and how that played out, and then let’s apply that to how financial advisors might be feeling and maybe lessons learned from that.
[00:20:35] Maria Konnikova: Sure. Well, there are times when I was a lock on the hand with varying percentages. The 98% was actually when I was on the stone cold bubble of one of the World Series of Poker events so bracelet event. And the stone bubble for people who don’t play poker means the next person out gets zero dollars and then the person after that gets paid, gets their money back, a return on investment.
[00:20:58] Brad Johnson: And how many players was that down to then? Is it 10?
[00:21:01] Maria Konnikova: No. It depends. Their world series events are huge. This started off with over 10,000 people. So, this is down to 12% of the field, something like that. So, we’re still talking over 100 players, yeah. But usually, anywhere between 10% and 15% of the field is paid. So, one more person has to bust and I will make money but I actually don’t have a lot of chips. I’m very short stack so I can’t wait that long. And so, I end up getting my money in with ace-jack and I’m called by ace-jack. Wonderful. I’m now going to bust and we’re going to get to split the blinds and the antes, which is a huge win for me because those are chips I really, really need. And so, we’re at 98% to tie the hand and we’re both suited and we have differences. And then he hits his flush, and I’m out. That was the 2%.
And that’s what it feels like. You have identical hands. You’re already counting the money because you’re going to get a little more, even though you’re not going to double, but you’re not going to be out. This is great. Statistically speaking, it’s the best hand you can find yourself against, the identical hand. And yet, there we are.
[00:22:17] Brad Johnson: So, what did you learn from that?
[00:22:18] Maria Konnikova: 2% is a lot. It’s not happy. It doesn’t feel good. But you know what, it is what it is. You just have to keep playing and keep making the right decisions.
[00:22:30] Brad Johnson: So, a lot of advisors would have what I would call an investment philosophy like that sounds to me like your poker philosophy of, obviously, 98-2’s a no brainer but the harder ones are the 55-45s. I mean, are you always going to put your money in if you’re anything greater than a 50-50 favorite or how does that work?
[00:22:51] Maria Konnikova: No. Because I’m a tournament player, I’m not. In cash games, sure. In a tournament, no because there are other considerations because of the tournament dynamics. So, I’m going to have to figure out where are my chips relative to everyone at my table, relative to everyone in the tournament. How am I doing? What am I risking? What am I risking to gain what? How many chips am I going to be gaining? Where are we? Are we close to the money? Are we in the money? Are we close to the final table? What’s going on there? How’s my table? Sometimes you’re still in a rebuy period and you can actually enter again if you bust and a lot of people would say, “Oh, well, then you should always take the gamble.” No. What if I’m at a dream table? There’s not a single pro at it and it’s a really weak table and I can just completely pick my spots and wait for them to make mistakes. Do I really want to bust out of that table and risk getting put back at the table next door that has five pros at it and an empty seat, and I could easily go there? No, that risk is actually much worse. I’m much better off here.
So, there are so many things that are going through my head when I think is this the time to take a flip, which is what that situation is like, or not? And oftentimes the answer is yes but sometimes the answer is no because you can’t just think of expected value as expected value in this moment, my expected value of winning this hand. You have to think about it over the long term because your EV isn’t just right now. Something that’s plus EV right now might actually be minus EV for the whole tournament because you’re going to be losing if you’re going to be switched to another table. Or if you go from chip lead to one of the shortest stacks if you lose this flip. So, there’s so many things that you have to calculate, you have to think over a longer time horizon.
[00:24:43] Brad Johnson: So, I’m in a dangerous position where I could just nerd out on poker this whole conversation. I want to serve my audience. Here’s my last kind of poker nerd question and then we’ll dive into the book a bit more. What’s the easiest way to spot the difference between a pro and an amateur without knowing, “Hey, this guy’s a professional because I see him playing on TV?” What’s your easiest way to spot it?
[00:25:05] Maria Konnikova: Just the way, you know, their demeanor, the way that how comfortable they are, the types of how they’re playing. So, a lot of times, amateurs are going to have different bet sizings before the flop, so they’re going to raise different amounts. Actually, most amateurs do that. You shouldn’t. You should have one standard raise size that you use with 100% of your range and usually, it’s smaller. So, in tournament poker right now, people would normally raise between two and two-and-a-half times the big blind. Amateurs raise much bigger. They love raising three times, four times, five times, 10 times, 20 times, some random times. And you can spot it that way and sometimes they’ll go three, sometimes they’ll go five. There’s no consistency in how they bet. Their bet sizings are off. They don’t actually understand how much they’re supposed to bet on different boards.
They continuation bet too much. They play their cards face up sometimes or they bluff too much. You can just start seeing patterns of play that will show you a difference between someone who really studies and takes this seriously and someone who is potentially more of a novice.
[00:26:17] Brad Johnson: So, I love Erik Seidel’s I think it was two-word advice to you, the poker players. Do you mind sharing that with the audience?
[00:26:26] Maria Konnikova: Pay attention. It’s the best two words ever.
[00:26:31] Brad Johnson: Which speaks 100% to exactly what you were just talking about, just all of those different tells or trends that you see from different players. So, let’s get into this because I know one thing that is very common in financial services is a lot of advisors get in and they’re a bit like those amateurs that they feel like they’re in over their heads at the pro table. Did you originally was the Erik Seidel as a mentor, was that just because, “Hey, I want a one year where I want an interesting story to write a book on,” or was it truly like, “I want to mentor under you to be the absolute best poker player I can be?” Where did that story start?
[00:27:09] Maria Konnikova: So, I had always wanted to work with Erik Seidel once I conceived of the project. He was the only person I approached. He was my first and only choice. So, I’m glad he agreed eventually to take me on. And it was going to be, you know, “Let’s just see how far you can take me. I’m going to work my hardest. I’m going to work my ass off for you. I’m going to take this seriously and let’s see what we can do. Let’s see whether you can teach me to be a good player.”
[00:27:35] Brad Johnson: For those not familiar with Erik Seidel, do you want to just high-level overview of his, I mean, legend in poker?
[00:27:41] Maria Konnikova: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, he’s absolutely legendary. I mean, some people would consider him the greatest of all time. He certainly is in contention for it. He has, I think, the third-highest number of World Series of Poker bracelets. He’s won World Poker Tour titles. He’s won multiple high rollers. He’s been around since the 80s and has been winning things since then. And he’s someone who’s consistently been at the top of the game from his first foray into it. His first major tournament was the main event of the World Series of Poker and he came in second to Johnny Chan, which was then memorialized in the movie, Rounders. That was his first major tournament, and only got better. At some point, he was for a long time number one in all-time earnings. He’s no longer number one. I think he’s number three or four right now. The list keeps changing so I’m not quite sure but he’s just an absolute legend in every single metric.
[00:28:39] Brad Johnson: So, for those seeking out a mentor, I feel like a lot of times people are scared to ask. So, how did you go about like, “Hey, Erik Seidel is the guy. I want him to mentor me in poker.” I know it’s in the book but just if you don’t mind sharing a little piece of that.
[00:28:55] Maria Konnikova: Sure. Well, I mean, I’m a journalist and I’ve been a journalist for a while. So, my whole career is cold calling people and approaching people who aren’t normally approached and getting people who don’t want to talk to me to talk to me. So, it never gets easier by the way. I hate cold calling. I dread it every single time. I hate writing that email. I hate writing that message, however you’re approaching the cold call, hey, tracking down that number and dialing it. It’s never easy. I don’t like asking people to give me their time. It’s a big imposition on their life, especially if you’re not there for a nice reason. It’s always a good reason but sometimes I spent time with con artists. Sometimes I wasn’t exactly looking for a friendly conversation. It was much more of an investigative type of thing. So, I have that experience and I’ve gotten used to the fact that it’s uncomfortable but you have to do it. And so, I cold-called him, I tracked him down, and just approached him, sent him a message on Twitter.
[00:29:53] Brad Johnson: Twitter? Nice.
[00:29:54] Maria Konnikova: On Twitter.
[00:29:55] Brad Johnson: There we go.
[00:29:56] Maria Konnikova: He’s a very private person. I could not find any other way to reach out. So, I approached him on Twitter and said, “Hey, I’m a writer for The New Yorker. I’m working on a new project. I’d love to talk to you about it. I think that it might be something that you might be interested in.” And he got back to me and said, “Sure, I love The New Yorker, fan of your writing,” so I got lucky there. I mean, Erik Seidel reads The New Yorker and loves it. And that’s not true of many poker players so I was very lucky about that. And so, then he said, “Actually, I’m in New York right now if you wanted to meet in person,” so I got lucky again. He wasn’t in Las Vegas. He happened to be in New York. And so, I prepared a lot for that meeting. I did my homework and I think that that’s really important.
I think if you’re going to approach someone and ask them for your time, you damn well better do your homework and not be like, “Oh, I actually don’t know anything about you but I hear you’re pretty cool. So, why don’t you give me an hour of your time?” No. I mean, I’d done as much as I could. I mean, for someone who didn’t know poker and who couldn’t play poker, I tried to research him as much as I could. I knew exactly what I wanted to accomplish. I knew what my pitch was. I knew why I might be an interesting choice for him to mentor. I knew what I could give, what I could offer, which was my psychology, my journalistic background, the fact that I wasn’t from the poker world that I was aiming to write something that was much more broad. And I listened. That’s something I actually learned from con artists that the most successful thing you can do if you want to get someone to agree with you, this can be used for good or for evil, I hope I’ve used it for good, is to be a good listener because most people don’t listen well.
[00:31:41] Maria Konnikova: Most people ask a question and then they’re already thinking of the next thing they’re going to say. They’re not actually listening for the answer. Most people aren’t paying attention to the cues that the people around them are giving off. And it’s so important to do that if you’re going to be successful, if you’re going to get people to agree to do something for you, or if you’re going to figure out how is this going to work. So, I really tried to pick up on this as much as I could and be willing to change direction and be willing to change my pitch depending on how Erik was reacting. And I came prepared with printouts, the psychological work that I could bring to the table. I’ve tracked down all these studies about the psychology of poker and all this stuff to show him to give him to say, “Look I’ve got all this primary literature that I can give you.” So, I’ll help share anything that I find. So, I really did my best to show him that I’d be a good student that I’d listen, that I’d pay attention, and that I would work hard that I wasn’t going to take anything for granted.
[00:32:46] Brad Johnson: Okay. So, that’s awesome. Thanks for sharing that. There’s so many lessons there. I’m curious, because you took this journey that started as a yearlong project and turned into, I mean, are you still professionally playing poker or playing in a bunch of these big games? Or have you taken time off now?
[00:33:03] Maria Konnikova: I mean, time off was taken for me. The book was going to be coming out in the middle of the World Series, but there’s no more live poker. The last live tournament in the US happened the first week of March. That’s done.
[00:33:16] Brad Johnson: So, you were [inaudible – 33:16] that point?
[00:33:18] Maria Konnikova: No. Actually, I was on my way to LAPC which is one of the biggest World Poker Tour stops which was the second to last major tournament that happened and I was in New Orleans. I was in New Orleans to accept a writing award. This was the week of Mardi Gras and I was already a little nervous because I really have been paying attention to the news. My sister’s a doctor, my brother-in-law’s a doctor. They didn’t want me to go even to New Orleans. And so, I’m someone who really takes this seriously and knew that we were going to have a problem. So, basically, I stayed away from New Orleans, stayed away from the crowds. Everyone at the conference looked at me like I was an alien because I refused to shake hands with anyone very luckily. Sorry, there are some noises.
[00:34:03] Brad Johnson: That was kind of the second hotbed in the US right around Mardi Gras.
[00:34:06] Maria Konnikova: Yeah. So, I didn’t see much of New Orleans at the end of the day, which was sad. I was really looking forward to it. And I was going to fly straight from New Orleans to LA and the tournament was starting next day and I canceled. I changed my tickets and came back to New York because that was right when the first cases were coming out in LA. And it became clear that it was already in LA. It became clear that it was already in the US. And I thought you know what, risk-reward equation is off and I came back and I haven’t played poker since February. So, I didn’t end up playing up until the end. I was I think probably one of the first players to say, “This is not okay and poker is not a safe thing to be doing right now.”
[00:34:48] Brad Johnson: Well, yeah, poker and trading cards is not a good activity to be playing. That’s for sure. You think as much as online poker is everywhere else in the world, you’d think they probably would have flipped that switch for the World Series yet, but maybe they haven’t.
[00:35:02] Maria Konnikova: Well, they actually. So, they canceled the World Series, but they just announced yesterday that they were going to do some online bracelet events. Unfortunately, you’re only going to be able to play them if you’re physically in Nevada or New Jersey because online poker is otherwise not legal. I mean, it’s legal in some other states, but the World Series isn’t there yet and then they’re going to do it internationally as well. I have mixed feelings about that.
[00:35:27] Brad Johnson: Yeah. It’s the purest form of poker. I mean, unless everybody’s on a Zoom feed, it doesn’t feel like the same thing. Well, I want to hit something you said a while ago and we just kind of went all over the place and this has been a really fun conversation. You mentioned you learned a lot about yourself at the poker table. And I want to speak to the females in finance right now because I’m not sure where the ratio is today as far as females to males playing poker, but…
[00:35:50] Maria Konnikova: It’s 97% male, 3% female.
[00:35:52] Brad Johnson: Okay. Thank you.
[00:35:54] Maria Konnikova: You’re welcome.
[00:35:55] Brad Johnson: It’s not quite that bad in finance, but it’s pretty one-sided where it’s basically middle-aged white guys are your typical financial advisor. So, if you’re speaking to the women financial advisors, and what you learned playing at a high-level in a game that was dominated by males, what would you tell the ladies in finance right now?
[00:36:17] Maria Konnikova: First, don’t get intimidated early on. Find someone who is a good mentor and who will provide a good support system and make sure you have that. I think I would have quit pro poker probably in the early days had I not had not just Erik Seidel, but had he not introduced me to all of his friends who are some of the best players in the game and just brilliant guys and nice guys and good people who took me under their wing, who protected me, who showed me what was possible in the game. Because I understand why it’s 97-3. If you’re a female and you walk into a casino and you sit down at a low stakes game, not only are you going to be the only female, but you’re going to experience some uncomfortable situations because people are there to have fun. They’re not taking it seriously. They’re drinking. There’s a lot of sexism. There’s a lot of casual sexism, whether they don’t realize it, but I’ve had a lot of bad things happen to me at the poker table. I’ve been called everything under the sun.
I’ve been propositioned like actually propositioned, told how much money I would be paid to go up to someone’s room. And all of these things happened. And you know what, in another world had I not been writing a book, had I not been able to have kind of a journalistic removed from what was happening, had I not had Erik and all of these other guys in my corner backing me up and I knew what was possible, I probably would have quit. So, I think knowing what’s out there and kind of knowing what’s possible is really important. And also, it actually, rather than let it get to me, I used it as a challenge. You know what, let me get better. Let me learn this game so well that I can kick all of those guys’ asses. And you know what, I did. I ended up becoming an international champion. I ended up becoming a professional player sponsored team pro for PokerStars. And yeah, I ended up kicking their asses and that feels really good.
[00:38:13] Brad Johnson: That’s awesome. Which by the way, we didn’t get into that. Can you share some of your highlights like what were the biggest tourneys you played in that you either placed in or won just for perspective on that journey?
[00:38:24] Maria Konnikova: Well, the biggest tournament I ever won was the PCA National Championship, which is the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, which is a huge, one of the oldest poker stops on the tour and one of the most prestigious. It ended actually last year. Last year was the last PCA. So, that was the biggest thing I ever won. And then I had some second places in some big tournaments as well but that was my biggest win. The biggest tournament I ever played in terms of buy-in was a $25,000 tournament and I actually won. So, when I won the PCA National, I won something that PokerStars was giving away at the time called the Platinum Pass. I was actually one of the first people to win it and the first female to win it. And they were doing this Big Players Championship which was a $25,000 buy-in tournament the next year. And so, in addition to the money I won, I won a free entry into that tournament plus an extra $5,000 for airfare, transportation, food, etcetera. And so, I was able to play in that tournament which was pretty amazing. And I didn’t play in that tournament. I actually had a bad first day and made one really bad decision and busted on day one, but it was quite a rush to be able to play that.
[00:39:35] Brad Johnson: I’m sure this is public on a poker website out there, but what were your total winnings as far as your poker career?
[00:39:41] Maria Konnikova: I think right now I don’t remember what the exact number is but it’s a little over 300,000.
[00:39:47] Brad Johnson: Wow. Hey, not bad for somebody just learning the game a few years ago, right?
[00:39:50] Maria Konnikova: Yeah. No, that’s over two years.
[00:39:53] Brad Johnson: Yeah. That’s awesome. If you look back to that circle, one of the common themes I see in financial services that we kind of preach on, we coach advisors all over the country it’s kind of you’re the average of the five people you surround yourself with, kind of the old Jim Rohn saying, if you’re familiar.
[00:40:07] Maria Konnikova: Sure.
[00:40:08] Brad Johnson: You said Erik Seidel had just good people, professional players, and just people that took you under their wing. Who were the people he surrounded himself with? If you don’t mind sharing names, I don’t want you to share anything…
[00:40:20] Maria Konnikova: No, absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, this is such an amazing group of guys and some of them became good friends and also coaches. So, the person I worked with most extensively other than Erik was Phil Galfond, who’s a brilliant player, brilliant guy, brilliant businessman actually speaking of financial advisors, so he runs a business called Run It Once Poker. And in the US, it’s just a training site, which is amazing. So, for people listening who want to become better at poker, I couldn’t recommend anything more. It’s the single best resource out there seriously.
[00:40:51] Brad Johnson: Run It Once Poker?
[00:40:53] Maria Konnikova: Yeah. Run It Once is the name. And then if you’re out of the US, he actually just last year launched his own poker site called Run It Once. And so, now it’s poker only which I actually love because people who are just looking for the bottom line, they put casino in there right away. And Phil is a purist and he loves the game and he’s like me. I mean, actually, I get very upset when I think that operators are using poker as a gateway to casino games because I hate casino games and I don’t like that element of the world at all. And I think that fine if someone is having fun at the craps table in a casino, so be it but playing slots on your computer, playing craps, roulette in front of a screen, to me, that’s just terrible. And there’s only one reason it exists which is for the operator to make money. So, Run It Once Poker is actually one of the only sites that’s poker only.
But unfortunately, you can’t play it in the US but if you’re in Canada or Mexico or in Europe, you can play. So, that’s Phil Galfond and he’s a brilliant coach, just amazing and such a great guy. So, Erik surrounded himself with Phil and shared Phil with me and has a great family. I love his wife and they have a new kid whose name is Spencer who is wonderful and very cute. There are a few other people who I would single out, Jason Koon, another phenomenal player, phenomenal guy, very smart, someone who came from nothing. He’s very actually public about his story. He came from rural Virginia, was homeless sometimes, totally broken home, and ended up playing with the best of the best of the best and becoming one of the best players in the world. And imagine that. Imagine that that’s possible.
[00:42:40] Maria Konnikova: Poker is one of the only worlds I’ve ever seen that’s meritocratic at the end of the day. Sure, like, we’re not talking about accident of birth and all of these things. You have to have the means to even play poker, to begin with, but you can start with nothing. And if you’re good, no one’s going to stop you from playing and no one’s going to stop you from getting better. And so, it’s one of the only places where you find PhDs and Harvard professors sitting next to someone who grew up homeless and I think that that’s pretty great. Ike Haxton is on the other end of the spectrum. He has multiple professors in the family. He went to Brown and studied philosophy. Another just brilliant guy, hilarious, and so giving. All of these people helped me, coached me, went through hands with me, helped me set up solvers, and figure out how solvers worked. Solvers are these mathematical programs that run simulations and tell you how to play different spots. Just spent hours with me that they didn’t have to spend.
[00:43:35] Brad Johnson: So, hold up here. So, solvers, I mean, are they creating a computer program and just running through probability?
[00:43:42] Maria Konnikova: They’re running thousands and thousands of Monte Carlo simulations based on the inputs that you put in. So, they’re building out game trees, so you specify this is the range of hands. They can only go heads up, so one-on-one. But you’ll say, “Okay, this is my range,” so all the range of hands that I would play. This is my opponent’s range. And these, you have to actually build what the game tree looks like. I want these bet sizings here, I want these to be the options, I want these to be the possible responses, and then the solver will actually run. And sometimes if it’s a complicated game tree, it could take 24 hours, but it will spit out kind of ways to do it. It will say, okay, with this combination of cards, you’re going to be raising to this sizing 12% of the time, to this sizing 18% of the time, folding 20% of the time, and it actually solves your game tree for you, approximates a solution. Poker hasn’t been solved yet so it’s impossible to solve.
[00:44:40] Brad Johnson: Was there any pro poker player that had been on a pro for a while that drank while they played?
[00:44:47] Maria Konnikova: No.
[00:44:48] Brad Johnson: Okay, I had a feeling you were going to say that but when you’re thinking about all the math loop that you’re running right there, it has to be impossible.
[00:44:55] Maria Konnikova: No. I’ve never met a single serious player who drinks while they play. That doesn’t mean they never drink. So, sometimes in a major tournament like not a high roller but big field event like a World Poker main event, it’s the end of the day, there’s 10 minutes left, we’ll order drinks for the table. That’s very different.
[00:45:15] Brad Johnson: Yeah. Interesting. Okay, so with our time left, we don’t have much time here. So, I would be remiss if I don’t at least hit some of The Confidence Game. You mentioned you brought up a piece of that earlier with. And so, this was a book on con artists. You studied Bernie Madoff, Lance Armstrong. So, let’s maybe focus on Bernie. He’s obviously a very well-known name everywhere, but especially in finance. What did you learn from that if there were high-level takeaways that financial advisors could find useful?
[00:45:44] Maria Konnikova: Sure. Yeah. So, in the book, I actually don’t really touch on Bernie because there were so many books written about him and I wanted to do original work, but I did touch on a lot of Ponzi schemes, and even the Ponzi schemes before Bernie. And there was a bit of an exploration of Bernie because Bernie is important and it would have been an omission not to mention him entirely. But I think that there were a few things I learned that I think are very pertinent to anyone listening, to anyone working as a financial advisor. One, it’s so easy to be objective when you’re not actually in the situation. And it’s so easy to judge his victims and to say, “Look at all of these red flags. You guys were greedy. You were complicit. You should have done your due diligence. You should have known you didn’t know.” And when it’s happening to you, that’s actually completely not true.
What I mean by that is if you’re someone who thinks you’re very savvy, and I actually found that people who fall for financial fraud are much more likely to be financially sophisticated and good investors and people who understand the world. People who are naive about it know how much they don’t know and they ask other people, they ask for input, they ask questions, they realize that they’re limited. Those people probably didn’t fall for Bernie nearly as much because they had other people do some work for them and they stepped away. But other people who think that they’re very good will often not realize when they’re being taken advantage of and they’ll say, “Oh, look at these amazing returns.” They won’t say these returns are too high. What am I doing? They’ll say, “Pat myself on the back. Look what a good place I found to invest money. I’m so good. I knew he was good. And look, now I see that he’s good.” When it’s happening to you, it is never too good to be true.
[00:47:38] Maria Konnikova: I always say if it seems too good to be true, it is. When it’s happening to you, it’s never too good. It’s just right because you deserve it and you’re good, and you’re smart, and you have this coming, and you’ve been making investments your whole life so you know a good deal when you see one, and you’ve earned this. It’s too good for the other guy. So, that’s really important.
[00:47:58] Brad Johnson: So, when it comes to numbers on that because too good to be true, I mean, it’s relative.
[00:48:03] Maria Konnikova: Exactly.
[00:48:04] Brad Johnson: So, on these Ponzi schemes, was there a set return amount that you saw the trend of like we’ll guarantee you 50% interest per year?
[00:48:13] Maria Konnikova: No. No one ever did that. It was never 50%. 50% is egregious. 50% would set off anyone’s red flags, but it was something like 10% a month, and no one realized that that’s actually much higher than 50%.
[00:48:29] Brad Johnson: 10% a month? Yeah.
[00:48:30] Maria Konnikova: You have to scale down, right? You have to all 5% a month. Amazing, right? They offer you returns but on a smaller scale, and they initially target people who trust them for some other reason. Oftentimes, these Ponzi schemes work within a community. So, oftentimes they’ll use a religious community because you trust people who go to your church or in Bernie Madoff’s case who go to your temple. He did that. He actually did the exact same thing. So, you go to people who trust you and who will give you money because they think you’re a good guy and you’re good at what you do. And then you use those referrals and you build on that circle of trust because I’m much more likely to trust you if the guy I trust, trust you. And so, you actually go that way and it’s so powerful because then people won’t do as much due diligence and won’t look at you in the same way because you’re a friend. You’re someone who’s part of that circle of trust. And Bernie did that. And I think that was one of the reasons he was so successful.
The other thing he did, which I always tell people, one of the things I learned from all con artists, not just him, is whenever anyone is saying something is scarce, run. So, he was saying he never took anyone’s money after a while. He would say, “Sorry, sorry, I don’t have the capacity to take on any more investments. I’m really sorry. I’m not going to be able to take you as a client.” They would have to beg for years and finally, he’d be like, “Okay, I’ll do you the favor. I’ll take you in.” And that made people want it. I mean, they couldn’t wait to give him their money. The first time he said, “I’m sorry, I can’t. I don’t have the capacity to take this right now,” walk away. Say, “Okay, fine. I’ll look for someone else.” Because you want someone who’s focused on you. You want someone who has time for you and what he was trying to do is create this demand and it succeeded. And this happened to one of the people I wrote about had fake wines and sold fake wines, and you couldn’t get his wines because he was saying, “I’m sorry. I only sell to discerning collectors and I’m out of stock.” So, he had waitlists.
[00:50:32] Brad Johnson: So, it wasn’t the Rudy guy?
[00:50:34] Maria Konnikova: It was Rudy.
[00:50:35] Brad Johnson: Really?
[00:50:36] Maria Konnikova: Yep. Rudy Kurniawan. Yeah. So, actually, he’s a big character in the book.
[00:50:39] Brad Johnson: Is he in jail right now?
[00:50:41] Maria Konnikova: He is. Yes. At least he was last I was on the story. I haven’t been on the story for years.
[00:50:48] Brad Johnson: Did you interview him in the book? I’m curious.
[00:50:49] Maria Konnikova: I interviewed a lot of his victims in the book.
[00:50:52] Brad Johnson: Got it. Yeah. Sour Grapes. For those that have not seen that documentary, it’s mind-blowing.
[00:50:56] Maria Konnikova: So, there are certain red flags that you can spot ahead of time but once you’re in it, you’re not going to see them anymore.
[00:51:03] Brad Johnson: Were all Ponzi scams from your experience built on a referral only network? Are there other ways to give the message?
[00:51:11] Maria Konnikova: No. It was just originally the referral network was a very strong way to get it off the ground. Then people start hearing about it. And some of them would advertise in newspapers afterwards say, “Look, we’ve offered hundreds of investors in these returns,” and there’d be testimonials from the investors, and people would read it and say, “Oh, I want to be part of that business.” And so, advertising and kind of strategic opportunities that way. That’s the other thing that I would say, a good investment if it’s really good and limited, they’re not going to advertise in a newspaper. They’re not going to call you and say, “I’ve got a great investment for you.” You’re going to have to find them.
[00:51:52] Brad Johnson: Awesome stuff. Well, I feel like this could be the podcast that could go into like three or four episodes because there’s just so much that applies to our industry but I want to be respectful of your time, Maria. I know you’re jammed. The book is officially coming out June 23. We’re recording prior but hopefully, this episode will be dropping before the book comes out. So, I’m holding it up for the camera for those watching out on YouTube. Go check out Maria’s book. I will be getting through the whole thing. So, you’ll hear more feedback from me in our private Facebook group on the book. So, Maria, first off, thank you.
[00:52:25] Maria Konnikova: Thank you.
[00:52:25] Brad Johnson: This has been an awesome conversation. Any parting thoughts, either as it applies to poker, as it applies to The Confidence Game, just for financial advisors out there as we wrap here?
[00:52:36] Maria Konnikova: I can’t believe I’m about to do this because I get so mad when anyone does it to me, but I’m going to do it anyway just because I feel like it. Know when to hold them and know when to fold them. You’re welcome. You will now all have that song stuck in your head.
[00:52:53] Brad Johnson: Now, I have to queue it up in the post-show. You know what, that’s what we’re going to do. Charlie, you’re listening to this. We’re queuing up the song and it’s just going to ride this episode out. So, Kenny Rogers, right?
[00:53:05] Maria Konnikova: Indeed. Indeed.
[00:53:06] Brad Johnson: Well, Maria, it’s been awesome. Eventually, New York will get back to normal.
[00:53:11] Maria Konnikova: I hope so.
[00:53:13] Brad Johnson: I hope that happens soon for all of us. It’s a little different in Kansas when I look out my window and look at open pasture. So, if things get too rough there, come on out to Kansas. There’s plenty of open spaces.
[00:53:22] Maria Konnikova: Thank you. I appreciate that. This has been so much fun. Thank you for having me.
[00:53:27] Brad Johnson: Thanks for your time. We’ll see you.
[00:53:33] Brad Johnson: Thanks for listening in to this week’s show. Onto this week’s featured review. This review comes to us from user Jepuchimihn. They say, “Five stars. Consistently excellent podcast. I started listening to Brad’s podcasts back in 2018 and the content has been consistently top notch, always something there I can apply. Great network of top performers he’s tapped into. The marketing content has been very powerful in growing my practice and brand.” Thank you. As always, I just appreciate these reviews. One thing that I’ve found is they just really help me hone in the content, who are a great guest to have on, who can serve you all out there. I do find a common theme, the marketing ones tend to hit home. I do know the one common theme in my chair working with financial advisors for the last close to 15 years, it’s how do I get consistently good qualified prospects on my calendar.
So, I will continue to go down that path. Today’s was a fun one more on the psychology side, but yeah, thanks for the kind words. Thanks for listening in. And by the way, for those of you out there, if you haven’t hit me up on Twitter, you can find me at Brad_Johnson out there if you have ideas for future guests, people that you’ve heard speak at conferences, anything like that, please hit me up out there and any introductions are super welcome. So, with that as a reminder, I do also this podcasting is not my full time gig. I do consult financial advisors from all over the United States on how to really market their business, create consistency in their appointment process, and really scale higher, build a firm that transition. You know, many of our clients are most interested in transitioning more into a CEO of their firm. But if you need help there from either myself or my team, feel free to apply out on the website. So, BradleyJohnson.com/Apply. Short survey, less than five minutes, helps us understand more about your practice, what’s going well, maybe where the gaps exist, and how we can help.
[00:55:36] Brad Johnson: So, if you’re interested in continuing the conversation with a one-on-one coaching session, go ahead and apply out there and we’ll do our very best to see how we might be able to serve you. So, that’s it for this week. Thanks for tuning in, and we will catch you on the next show. Take care.
[00:55:50] Brad Johnson: Thanks for listening to this episode of the Elite Advisor Blueprint. For access to show notes, transcripts, and exclusive content from our show’s guests, visit BradleyJohnson.com. And before you go, I’ve got a quick favor to ask. If you’re liking the podcast, you can help support the show by leaving your rating and review on iTunes. Not only do we read every single comment, but this will help the show rank and get discovered by new listeners. It really does help. Thanks again for joining and be sure to tune in next week for another episode.
The information and opinions contained herein are provided by third parties and have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed by Advisors Excel. The guest speaker is not affiliated with or sponsored by Advisors Excel. For financial professional use only. Not to be used with the general public or in a sale situation.
Elite Advisor Blueprint Podcast is provided for informational purposes only.It is intended for financial professional use.
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