We sat down with PokerStars Pro and EPT Champion Liv Boeree to talk life on the road, her online success, her cool hobbies, and whether she gets enough respect from the poker community.

Poker player, EPT champion, TV presenter, model, heavy metal guitarist, boxer, astrophysicist - Liv Boeree has done a lot more than most of us have by the age of 27. We caught up with her at UKIPT Nottingham last week to discuss her achievements so far:

"I have a reputation as a bit of a party animal, and it's true"

EPT Champion & party animal
PokerStrategy.com: You've literally just flown in from Vienna before this interview, how hard is life on the road?

Liv Boeree: It can be absolutely exhausting, like I am absolutely exhausted right now. Half the time I love it, half the time I hate it, so it's a double-edged sword, but ultimately I love it.

PokerStrategy.com: How do you stay healthy, mentally and physically, when you are on the tour most of the year?

Liv Boeree: I'm fortunate that I just have a really good metabolism; I'm actually pretty lazy. I go through phases where I'm on the road and I will go to a gym four days out of the week, but the majority of the time I don't and just eat whatever I can. It can definitely be a strain on your health. Again, I am just lucky in that department; I don't really get ill.

Mentally... ask Kevin (MacPhee). He's the one who has to bear the brunt of my insanity. It is difficult balancing a lot of things, but I make sure I have my fun; I'm not all work. I do have a reputation as a bit of a party animal, and it's true, I like to let my hair down and hang out with my friends and enjoy myself. I think it is absolutely essential when you are traveling like this to have a good work/life balance.

PokerStrategy.com: It must help that your partner is also a poker player who plays the same events?

Liv Boeree: Having someone who is with you, who has got your back all the time, who you can trust, is completely wonderful. Having Kevin is worth a hell of a lot in terms of life equity.

PokerStrategy.com: When you spend so much time on the road, is hanging out with players like Daniel Negreanu and Vanessa Selbst the way you work on your game? Do you learn by the company you keep?

Liv Boeree: Having guys like that as a resource is hugely valuable and that is where the majority of my game studying comes from. That said, I definitely haven't been doing enough and I need to do more. Last week, I was home all week and I just did a lot of work on my game, just reading and rereading stuff I once knew inside out like calculating equities quickly and efficiently, calculating combinatorics; stuff I used to know inside out, but I got lazy with and forgot. I just made some notes, refreshed my memory - it's like revision.

It's amazing how quickly you can fall into this trap of playing tournament after tournament after tournament after tournament, thinking "30BBs I do this, 40BBs I do that". You lose some of the dynamic aspects of the game which you need to succeed. I love PokerStars but they keep me busy, and sometimes that stops me doing what I do best, which is break down and study my game.

"Getting respect from the hardcore 2+2 community is almost impossible"

Liv is also a kick-ass guitarist
PokerStrategy.com: Because you are a high profile female, do you think you perhaps don't get enough respect for working on your game?

Liv Boeree: Probably not, no, I know I don't. That's fine, people ultimately just look at results. Last year, other than the Sunday Warmup, I haven't done much. I had a good year online last year, but this year there's been nothing to write home about. I need to make a few more final tables and win couple more titles to get the respect.

In order for a guy to get respect, he has to do a Jason Mercier and Elky, and win everything, but for a girl... I'd like to think someone like Vanessa Selbst has respect, because if she doesn't then I have no hope.

Getting respect from the hardcore 2+2 community is almost impossible, I could probably win every single tournament and they would still be like "yeah, but she has boobs and is just a girl" - it is just the way it is, misogyny is just ingrained in some people. I do my best to change it, but it's not something that particularly bothers me.

PokerStrategy.com: Female players often say that men don't give them any credit, which can be very profitable for them, is that true at the highest levels?

Liv Boeree: It's impossible to say, some of the best probably don't, some probably do. Some women deserve respect, some don't. I think people put too much emphasis on wanting respect, a few years ago I did, I wanted everyone to like and respect me, but at some point you just think "fuck it, I'm proud of what I've done, screw the naysayers".

"I'm a lot more creative online, a lot more fearless"

Winning EPT San Remo
PokerStrategy.com: You won the Sunday Warmup last year ($147,780.96), how different is your online game to live?

Liv Boeree: I'm a lot more creative online, a lot more fearless. I'll probably run a ridiculous bluff once or twice in a day live, but I will be trying to own people a lot more online. Hanging out with Kevin and players like Bryn Kenney has helped my online game hugely; sitting and watching what they do, and taking that to my own game. Then of course, online is smaller stakes and you have more tables going, but in a huge live tournament if it doesn't work, you are stuck there.

PokerStrategy.com: You always seem to be doing something cool - poker, playing the guitar, boxing, flying a plane - are you someone who just is always challenging themselves?

Liv Boeree: It depends what the thing is that I am hugely impassioned about, guitar was the thing six years ago that I loved so much, I wanted to play incredibly difficult songs, not only because very few girls could do it, but also because very few people could do it. I wanted to learn how to do it, so I just played and played and played until I could do it.

There was a huge sense of satisfaction, in Physics I was the same, I was fairly naturally gifted at it, but I wasn't the best, but I wanted to be the best at my University; the top 5% get a first class degree, and I wanted to be in that 5%. I'm efficient in my hard work.

"I wanted to act like little boys, I wanted to climb trees and put worms in people's pockets"

A sponsors dream
PokerStrategy.com: Would you say you are drawn to more typically male hobbies and pursuits?

Liv Boeree: I guess, probably because I am 80% male in my brain anyway. When I was growing up as a little girl I was playing with tractors and cars, I didn't have any dolls. I would rip the heads off dolls and refuse to wear dresses.

I wanted to be a little boy. I wanted to act like little boys, I wanted to climb trees and put worms in people's pockets - just a disgusting little boy child, but I was a girl. I was like that until about age 15, when I discovered boys. I decided I better start looking and acting like a girl, but I was still a boy in my head.

Anyone who knows me really well will attest to that, even my school teachers at parents evening independently said I was the naughty boy of the class. Other girls were naughty in the way girls were naughty, but I was the one that burnt stuff on the bunsen burner, set light to a gas tap, and climbed out of windows.

PokerStrategy.com: I wrote recently that I thought you were a sponsor's dream, how much work comes with being a sponsored pro?

Liv Boeree: PokerStars work their pros hard, but that's good, I actually like that. There are times when I grumble, but if I really need some time off they understand that. Otherwise, stuff's gotta get done. I'm working to help them, but they are also working to help me; it's a mutually beneficial thing.

I can't even estimate how much work it is, but for example at an EPT, we usually have a whole day that's just interviews. If I play Day 1a, then Day 1b will just be interviews. It's cool, I have worked in the poker media too, I understand you guys drive the industry. The day the interview requests dry up will be the day something is not going right anymore.

by Barry Carter