Looking back on 2013, it was my worst poker year by far. Although I didn't play too many live tournaments, I didn't have a cash for six months. It was a real shock and a wake-up call, so I decided to meet with someone to get a bit of advice. After we chatted, he told me I have these unbelievably high expectations for myself and feel in my head like I have all this pressure coming from so many directions even when I actually don't. It was quite the astute observation. Sometimes I feel like I have to perform at a certain level or keep up appearances because I'm a Team Pro. And last year because I was playing mostly tournament poker, variance reared its head.
I know no one puts more pressure on me than myself. One thing I've learned lately is to just stay optimistic; keep working hard and set goals, but at the same time, don't apply excessive pressure and excessive expectation because it will definitely drag you down. Staying more mindful is the key. All I can do is play each hand to the best of my ability each time. If the cards don't cooperate, they don't cooperate. There's no point in sweating it.
I've also been making a point to get to bed earlier and wake up earlier. While I was at the PCA, I discovered a yoga ashram near the Atlantis. It was a super low-key retreat and I started going every morning with some of the German players (you know, the ones that win every high roller event!) I was getting to bed at midnight and getting up at 7 am each day do go for two hours of yoga and meditation followed by a nice vegan breakfast. I feel like it definitely paid off at the tables. Fabian Quoss ended up winning the Super High Roller and I made a deep run in the Main Event. Then, after the PCA I came in second at the UKIPT Edinburgh and just finished the Aussie Millions Main Event in 28th place. It's been quite a month and a wonderful start to 2014.
Remember how I told you I was taking an acting class? Before I took off for the PCA, I finished the class series and took part in an onstage showcase at the end of it. I did a scene from the movie Closer where I played the Natalie Portman role and my scene partner took the Jude Law part. It was the scene at the climax of the movie when they've already broken up, got back together, have had all sorts of affairs and terrible things, and he's grilling her on whether she hooked up with another guy while they were apart. It's a very sharp, dialogue-heavy argument and it ends with her spitting at him and him slapping her in response! It's a very powerful piece and it was great fun. The thing that shocked me, though, was that I didn't have any nerves at all! I expected to have some jitters but I felt pretty confident and comfortable through the whole scene. And afterwards?
What a rush!
Liv Boeree is a member of Team PokerStars Pro