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09th Jun 2015

JOE Interviews: Poker player Liv Boeree preparing for a big summer in Las Vegas

Tom Victor

A model, TV presenter and astrophysics graduate, Liv Boeree is one of the most recognisable faces on the British poker circuit.

She is also one of the most successful card players to emerge from the UK, winning more than $2.5m (£1.6m) in live poker tournaments.

Boeree has prepared for this summer’s World Series of Poker (WSOP) in Las Vegas with a few days out on Richard Branson’s Necker Island, but now it’s time to get down to business.

With 68 big-money tournaments, the World Series is the highlight of the poker calendar. Boeree is among tens of thousands of poker pros and amateurs alike all gunning for the top prize – tournament victory and a WSOP bracelet.

The Team PokerStars Pro member told JOE about her plans for the summer, her hopes for the British poker elite, and on being joined as a PokerStars ambassador by footballers Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo.

What’s your World Series of Poker schedule looking like?

I’ll be likely staying in an apartment off-strip. I’ll be there for a month and that’s just too long in a hotel for my liking. I’ll be staying with my boyfriend Igor and I’m not sure how many tournaments I’ll be playing yet but expect it’ll be around 15 or so.

How does the experience differ from the tournaments you’re used to in Europe?

The biggest difference is the sheer number of players – the average $1500 No Limit Hold’em event gets over 3,000 players so it’s a lot of long-shots! Otherwise, it’s not that different, other than Vegas itself of course. Nothing can prepare you for that dry desert heat!


Last year only one British player won a World Series bracelet – what needs to happen for that to change this time around?

I expect last year’s lull was just randomness. The only way to significantly increase the chances of British bracelets is to get a whole horde of British players out there and get them playing everything. Luckily, there are a fair few players that do.

(update: John Gale won the UK’s first bracelet of 2015 less than a third of the way into the World Series)

We hear plenty of weird stories after every WSOP – what’s the strangest thing you’ve seen there?

Well, there’s plenty of strange stories I am bound to secrecy about… but one of the weirdest things was seeing Phil Hellmuth [the most successful player in World Series of Poker history] turn up dressed as a Roman gladiator/emperor carried by muscled loinclothed men and 50 dancing toga wearing models. Or when [Irish-American poker pro] Phil Laak got made up to look like a (very realistic) 80-year-old man to play the main event. Very odd indeed.

PokerStars have recently brought Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar on board as ambassadors. How do you feel they would get on at the poker table?

I haven’t met either of them yet but I’ve heard great things. I can’t say much about their playing styles as I haven’t had chance to see their card skills. I’m sure they’ll both be fast learners and pretty fearless; an excellent combo of traits for poker.

What would represent a successful series for you?

I’ll be happy to walk away with a six-figure profit and a lot of mountain and lake time!