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Michael Konik - Blackjack Player

Gambling Author and Blackjack Player Michael Konik

A Profile of Michael Konik

Michael Konik is a well-known author and television gambling analyst. He has contributed to over 100 publications worldwide, as well as being a successful singer, painter and improvisational comedian.

Raised in Fox Point, Wisconsin, Michael was taught from an early age the benefits of critical thinking. His passion for art, literature, and music continued to grow throughout his adolescence, and he developed a deep appreciation for jazz music while in high school.

The year after graduation, he joined the 80's punk rock band The Clitboys, but left a short time later to pursue his love of acting at the prestigious Lee Strasburg Theater Institute on the campus of New York University. He also studied art history and constitutional law, and, by the time he had received his degree in Drama, he had already begun making money as an essayist and critic.

Writing About Gambling

Over the next 15 years, Michael's work appeared in newspapers and magazines around the globe, including The New York Times, Travel and Leisure, Maxim, and Sports Illustrated. For more than five years he was the gambling columnist for Cigar Aficionado magazine, and for more than ten he authored the golf column for the Delta Airlines in-flight magazine, SKY.

While serving as a gambling columnist, Michael had the opportunity to meet many interesting characters and listen to their outrageous stories. In 1999, he compiled 26 of these tales into a book entitled The Man with the $100,000 Breasts (named after a man (Brian Zembic) who accepted a bet to have breast implants and wear them for a year).

In 2002, he followed it up with another book full of entertaining gambling stories, called Telling Lies and Getting Paid. This time there were 14 stories included, covering everything from gambling on the Chinese island of Macau to the behind-the-scene events at the ultra-secret Blackjack Ball.

Along the way, Michael has also found time to write Nice Shot, Mr. Nicklaus: Stories About the Game of Golf (2000), In Search of Burningbush: A Story of Golf, Friendship, and the Meaning of Irons (2004), Ella in Europe: An American Dog's International Adventure (2005), and Becoming Bobby.

After publishing his first book, he joined the Los Angeles-based improvisational comedy troupe, The Los Hombres, and the vocal jazz quintet Crescendo.

Michael continued to vigorously pursue his love of the arts, recording two jazz albums in 2003: Crescendo (by Crescendo) and There'll Be Some Changes Made (by Michael Konik and His Tasty Band). He also started an independent recording company that year, called Freeham Records.

A two-time contestant at the World Series of Blackjack, Michael has also competed in The World Blackjack Tour, The Legends of Poker Tour, and is a veteran of six World Series of Poker events.

When he's not competing, he can be found hosting or providing expert commentary on television shows like Speed Poker, Monte Carlo Millions, How to Play Winning Poker, and Poker Superstars.

He currently resides in Hollywood, California, where he maintains his website, writes his next novel, volunteers at nursing homes, and acts as a literacy tutor for young children.

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