Life in the Fast Lane
It’s been a year since Liv Boeree signed to online giants, PokerStars.co.uk. So what better excuse to get her surrounded by several hundred thousand pounds worth of chrome and leather for a special WPT Poker photoshoot
Being ballers of the highest order, we here at WPT Poker think of nothing than jumping in the back of a 1965 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud III and taking to the highways ready to take on the biggest poker tournaments the world can offer.
Of course, this is nonsense and we can only but dream, but one girl who’s risen from humble beginnings to rise above the pack and drive herself forward to becoming the poster girl for a generation of players is sitting in said Roller looking a million dollars.
The story is well known – a bored astrophysics graduate applies for a reality TV show after finishing university, only discovering after appearing on the show that the programme’s aim (Ultimate Poker Showdown if you’re looking for it online) is to train up a gang of poker virgins. En route to the grand prize (she would fall at the final hurdle) Liv learned from Devilfish, Phil Hellmuth and Annie Duke, with whom she remains friends today. That’s not a bad triumvirate of tutors to help launch your fledgling career.
Liv’s journey from know-nothing to fully-fledged poker pro, via the well-populated Beginners’ games of London’s Gutshot Club (starting point for British institutions like Nik Persaud, James Akenhead and Roland de Wolfe), in a remarkably short time is one of the big stories of the 2000s poker boom. The girl from Kent now boasts a healthy bank balance, sponsorship and support from the world’s biggest site, a major title to her name (the record-breaking EPT San Remo she won in 2010) and a legion of fans.
To celebrate her 1st anniversary we thought we’d throw out questions again to our readers and forum buddies, and you didn’t disappoint. Take it away, guys.
You’ve had some online success this year. Is that where you see your future or do you still get a buzz out of live play?
WPT Poker writers.
In all honesty I've fallen for playing online almost more than live after this year. Online has been so good for me and live has been fairly rubbish so I can see what you're getting at! Ultimately, though, there is no rush quite like making a huge final table, and online poker could never replace my love for live action. Hopefully they can just complement each other and make me a better player.
In the EPT San Remo coverage you were quite open about dissecting some of your hands, in particular a big ‘mistake’ you made en route to winning. Do you feel you’ve since ironed out a lot of bad plays from your game?
Jeff Smith, Newcastle
I'd like to think my game has improved significantly since San Remo, and I've definitely gotten rid of some fundamental mistakes I was making. That said, I still make mistakes, some new and pre-existing that I'm continually trying to improve, so it'd be good to look back at my game in a year's time and be able to say the same thing.
Do you feel tainted by your association with UB.com or do you just put it down to getting what you could? And in any case, should poker pros feel guilty about associating themselves with controversial sites?
Mike Riley, London
It's impossible to go through life without making tough decisions and yes, some sites have let down a lot of people over the past few years. That said – I do not feel tainted in any way as I wouldn't necessarily be at this point and who I am now. There's no cut or dried answer to your second question, but I believe if a pro is promoting a site that they genuinely believe is operating honestly and correctly then they aren't doing anything wrong, even if it turns out later on that it's not the case.
What are the weirdest requests you’ve had from the media?
Kevin Gallin, Southshields
The best was when a guy said he was an interviewer and asked for a chat on a break at an EPT. We sit down at an empty table and he gets out his iPhone and starts recording – and has absolutely no questions prepared. That would've been fine if a) he could've then thought of some decent ones on the spot, and b) he had actually been a real interviewer and not just some random guy clearly doing it for a laugh!
...and the weirdest requests you’ve had from fans?
The usual chatbox marriage proposals and then the obscene ones I can't repeat but usually make me giggle. The weirdest ones are on twitter, such as [Liv suddenly stops dead in her tracks and refuses to elaborate – boo!]
You were coached early on by Phil Hellmuth, Devilfish and Annie Duke. Were you mindful that their table image didn’t ever rub off on you when you started to make it in poker?
“goldenjaguar”, via email
They all have quite different table images but I'd like to think I have my own personality and style of play by now! It's impossible to play poker regularly on TV and not show some form of emotion, be it elation, frustration or anger, so it's odd when members of the poker community express shock when a famous player shows some emotion at the table! Anyway, aren't strong personalities and reactions mostly what makes the game interesting, especially to the casual viewer? Bland, emotionless players make for very dull viewing and would quickly kill off the public's interest for the game, damaging our industry.
Are you still friends with Annie Duke from the early days and do you sympathise with her for the shit she gets off Daniel Negreanu and certain sections of the poker community?
Jason Blewett, Scarborough
I haven't seen Annie in a while but yes she's always been a good friend and someone who I've got a lot of respect for. Daniel is a good friend too and the beef they have is something I know little about. However I do not like unprovoked public bashings of anyone, particularly when it's done by people who've never met the person they're bashing over the safety of an internet forum.
How do you put up with Nick Wealthall?
“SambaSamba”, PuntersLounge.com regular
Nick's genuinely one of my favourite people to be around. Spend any amount of time with him and you'll see why.
Do you ever feel tempted to go and play the £5 Beginners’ Game at The International (nee the Gutshot)?
John Spence, email
Actually yes, that sounds like fun! I miss the old Gutshot, it was one of my favourite places. I don’t know if any of the old crowd still go to the International but I'd love to see them.
“ElkY” got his arse kicked by Lex Veldhuis in the ring recently. You’ve had a bit of experience in the ring – could we ever see a match happen with you vs. Lex?
Dave Ford, London
I'm a girl who weighs 55 kilos. He'd kill me.
Have your family finally come round to the idea of you being a poker professional?
Kelly Graham, Hertford
Very much so. They were always very supportive of me and I am so lucky to have the wonderful family I have. I couldn't imagine life without them.
Professor Brian Cox has made astrophysics sexy. What do you think of his show and is that something you could see yourself moving into?
Daniel Stubbs, Oldham
He's my hero! I'd love to meet him; hopefully I will soon. I think it's fantastic what he's doing for physics, making it accessible and interesting for the general public, and it's definitely a field I'd like to move into, although I doubt I could ever be as good as him.