Liv Boeree, chief troublemaker
Liv Boeree's stay at Vanessa Rousso's house during WSOP involved a party stunt somersault that led to a broken ankle, so I was curious to know if life on Team Pro was always this eventful. I met Liv at EPT Barcelona where she told me about fun with friends and her serious poker ambitions.
PokerStars Blog: Your Twitter bio describes you as 'Poker player, TV presenter, Model, Metalhead, Physics nerd and Chief Troublemaker of Team PokerstarsPro. 'Tell me about the troublemaker tag?
Liv Boeree: That seems to be the nickname all my friends on Team Pro have given me. I'm not bad, I just like mischief, you know?
PSB: Like the breaking the ankle incident?
LB: That kind of thing. Silly things, dares...! I have a troublemaking side to my personality.
PSB: What's the craziest trouble you've got into?
LB: I can't say that! But I was always in trouble at school. I went to a girls school and girls aren't generally that naughty when left to their own devices, but I'd break things, climb out of windows, start fires... Actually not fires, but... (Pause.) Things in chemical labs.
PSB: Your parents must have been worried...
LB: I was always really good at talking my way out of trouble. School rarely ever called home. They knew I wasn't malevolent, and my grades were good, which is fortunate, so they let me get on with things.
PSB: How was your stay in Vegas with the other Team Pro?
LB: The girls and I, and particularly the two Vanessas are very competitive, so if you stick the three of us together, it's just hell. It's competitive soup. It was very funny.
We'd always challenge each other to things, and everyone always thinks they're going to be the best at everything.
PSB: You like to be the best, would you say you're a perfectionist..?
LB: Pretty much. I just don't like not being competent at some things. If there's a skill then I think I should be good at it too. I wouldn't say I have to be the best, but I have to be very good. Like top 5%.
PSB: In poker are you still trying to prove you're the best?
LB: In poker you never stop practising, never stop learning. I've done really well online, I've won a few big tourneys, but I guess I'm still chasing the second really huge live score.
I compare myself to my friends on Team Pro. They're just real outliers. People like Mercier, ElkY and Selbst. I do sometimes get hard on myself. But variance is unfortunately so darn huge in tournament poker... but that said, it is about time I strung it together!
PSB: Do you ever wonder how it would have been if luck had gone against you and you hadn't won your title at EPT San Remo?
LB: I count my blessings. Of course I was a very lucky girl to have that opportunity. But had I not won San Remo, I think I would have gotten here anyway. I knew I was going to win a big one, I didn't think it was going to be quite so big, and quite so soon. I was like, 'Wow, cool. I don't' know if I'm ready for this, but here we go!' Then obviously to be asked to join Team Pro, it was such an honour.
PSB: Are you happy with the way you're playing at the moment?
LB: I was really pleased with the way I played over the World Series. I played great at WSOP. One tournament I was on track for the final table, in a huge pot I got this guy to get it in absolutely dead, but then he hit his two-outer with one card to come.
But I'm pleased with the way I'm playing. Now I just need to have some luck on my side when it counts. You can't win a tournament without getting lucky. But it's a combination of playing well and getting lucky, and hopefully I'll be able to do both.
PSB: Do bad beats still bother you?
LB: I've played a lot, I'm used to it. It's like 'Oh well' and on to the next.
PSB: Do you have any time away from poker coming up?
LB: No, none at all!
PSB: That must be hard, or is the poker still fun?
LB: The poker is still fun, that Vegas house, a bunch of crazy girls. It was chaos!
PSB: It sounds like a good life..!
LB: It's a crazy life, but it's the best life. We have so much fun the load of us. I have such wonderful friends, amazing interesting people. All hyper-intelligent, very fun, and all good people. It's nice to be around them.
PSB: Do you ever have boring nights at home? What do you when you're at home?
LB: Not really! When I do have a night at home I'll just mooch about on the internet, or play video games sometimes, or play guitar. I can get pretty addicted to TV. I love Breaking Bad.
When I'm at home in the day with nothing to do I'll be in the woods climbing trees, doing the stuff I did when I was 9 years old! I'm still doing that!
PSB: You're on the road a lot, do you get to see old friends? What do they think of your life as a pro?
LB: I don't get as much time with old school friends as I'd like, I'm on the road so much. There's sometimes a feeling of 'what do we have we in common any more' but then old bonds lie deep. I'll see an old friend and we'll fall right back into it.
PSB: Do you ever see yourself settling down?
LB: I have no desire to be in one place, I get itchy feet! Though the thing I do want right now is a home base. I've been buying an apartment for a year, it's still in limbo. When I get my home base then I might want to travel less. Right now I'm living out of my old bedroom at my parents place.
PSB: Living with parents must be very different from Vegas?
LB: My parents are like my best friends. They're very cool, not like normal parents. They came to Vegas! We have a lot of laughs. They're hugely supportive. I'm very lucky with my parents.
PSB: You mentioned the Olympics a lot on your Twitter feed, you enjoyed the games?
LB: I cried during the closing ceremony, I didn't know what to do with myself when it finished!
PSB: Do you think poker could ever be respected like sport?
LB: Obviously poker's not a physical sport, but it's a mind sport. It's a game of the mind, it's a game of gut and the mind. So why not? Why can't it be included and respected like chess and bridge?
PSB: You have a degree in Astrophysics, does that help? And does poker suit academic types?
LB: Look at Selbst, she's a genius, and she does well. So many successful players are smart people. But you don't have to have an academic background, you just need to have a dynamic intelligence. Someone like Sam Trickett is a good example of that, he's super smart, but you don't need to have an academic background to be one of the best.
PSB: How do you think Rafa Nadal will do now he's playing at PokerStars?
LB: The fact that he's someone who's been so dedicated to any one thing, that has got to work in his favour. He's put so much energy into tennis and become the best in the world, if he can apply just 100th of that to poker he'll be very good. If he wants lessons, he knows who to ask!
PSB: He's starting out learning the game, playing low stakes, I guess ordinary players relate to that.
LB: Yeah, not everyone has to play million dollar tournaments. Play what you enjoy and makes you think. A lot of people are scared off by bigger stakes. I understand that.
I always have to have something on the line to play my A game, but it doesn't have to be money, it could be pride. Like if I was playing the 5 best in the world for nothing, I'd want to prove something. It's about having something at stake.
PSB: That would be quite some game! Thanks for talking to me, Liv.