About Liz Lieu
Liz Lieu. Simply saying her name will elicit an appreciative sigh from any male poker player in the vicinity.
Smart, generous, adorable and a killer at the felt, Liz is a breath of fresh air in a poker world dominated by men who smell like stale sweat.
Born in Ho Chi Minh City to a Chinese father and a Vietnamese mother, Liz moved to the United States with her parents and older sister Tanya when she was still a baby. The young family settled in Colorado where Mr. and Mrs. Lieu worked long hours to provide their daughters with a happy and stable childhood.
Life in the Lieu home was conducted in Vietnamese. Maintaining a strong sense of heritage and developing a lasting cultural identity were priorities for the Lieus; thus they encouraged their daughters to communicate exclusively in their native tongue.
"My parents reminded me often never to forget my roots," Liz told PokerListings.com. "I would get yelled at if I only spoke English at home - and especially to my parents - so instead of speaking only one language, I mixed them together.
"I spoke half Vietnamese, half English to them."
At 13, Liz was introduced to Chinese poker by a group of friends. Fiercely competitive, she felt an instant connection to the game, and poker became a regular part of her life. In the late '90s, five years after picking up her first pot, she and a friend set up a home game of Hold'em and Pai Gow.
Unfortunately, her business venture was cut short when her father suffered a heart attack. Shocked into action, she decided the time had come for her parents to retire from the grind. She asked them to quit their jobs so she could support them on her poker winnings. They obliged and she's been working the felt ever since.
Blessed with an immense amount of natural talent and a grim poker face, when Liz turned pro she came out swinging. She started by kicking butt in the L.A. and Vegas cash games, building on her already-sizable bankroll. Eventually she decided a move to Sin City was in order, and once there quickly settled in as a regular in the $80/$160 Limit Hold'em cash games - her specialty.
In 2005 she cashed in her first live tournament, the WSOP $1,500 NLHE event, earning $168k for her fifth-place finish. She landed in the money twice more that same Series and went on to claim three cashes in the Bellagio's Festa al Lago a couple of months later.
Liz's bankroll has since been boosted by deep runs in the World Poker Finals, Five Diamond World Poker Classic, Gold Strike World Poker Open, L.A. Poker Classic - where she took down her first event and its $150k payout - and countless other standalone tournaments.
She's also rocked the tours, with in-the-money finishes in EPT, WPT and APPT events, and boasts numerous other WSOP payouts.
Despite her impressive resume, however, Liz's life isn't all about poker. In 2005, she began working with nonprofit organizations around the world and adopted a policy of donating 20% of her tournament earnings to charity.
Over the years she has dedicated an increasing amount of time and energy to these causes, which include the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in the United States and various communities and organizations across Vietnam.
In August 2007, Liz's father passed away after battling ill health for many years. Liz was devastated by the loss of her dad, a source of constant support, love and strength.
"My father played a really important part in my life," she shared with PL.com in 2007. "He and my mother are the biggest reasons I'm where I am in my life now.
"Losing him really felt like losing a big part of myself."
Once there, Liz threw herself into her charity work and experienced a sense of incredible fulfillment.
"I've gone back to do charity before but this time I probably did 10 times more than I ever have and it was meaningful to me because it was all for my dad," she said.
"In our culture the people you rely on when you pass are your children," Liz explained. "The more good deeds a child does, the better the afterlife of a parent."
"A departed soul is helped along in their journey through the worlds of the afterlife when still-living relatives perform meritorious deeds in their honor," she elaborated later.
Liz's work took her across the country to homeless shelters, orphanages and homes for the mentally ill and elderly. She supplied rice and other essentials to communities debilitated by natural disasters and spent time with terminally ill children, helping fulfill their last wishes.
Overwhelmed by a sense of completion from these acts of kindness and at peace from having spent so many months in her homeland, close to her father, Liz returned to the poker world with renewed strength and vigor.
She was at the top of her game and back on track as the poker diva rounders love to love.
Indeed, feared as a femme fatale, adored as the girl next door, Liz's good looks and ruthless moves make the boys crazy and the women wince. She's energetic, she's sweet, she's confident and she's kind. In short, she's the kind of woman all women want to be and all men want to be with. And she's the kind of poker player no rounder wants to face off against at the felt.
Although Liz is a competent winning poker player, she has been focusing on marketing herself more than she has on playing poker. Her poker results have slipped, but she will probably make more money this way in the long run. She has cultivated a persona that she has trouble keeping up with, since in reality she would prefer to be a private person who is out of the limelight.
When I first saw Liz playing poker, I wanted to ask her out. I decided that I would nonchalantly walk by her table and make idle chatter as an introduction. I watched and waited for her to be unoccupied. Unfortunately, it seemed like every other guy in the room had the same idea. People would stop and talk to her for a few minutes and leave, and immediately someone else would sit beside her. I waited for an hour, but there was no let up.
Fortunately, she approached the Big Game to talk to her friend Chau Giang. I introduced myself and tried to show my sense of humor. Two advantages Big Game players have in the woman-chasing game are the possibility of more extravagant dates and the lure of offering top level poker mentoring. I was prepared to use whatever enticement necessary, because I now felt I was in competition against the rest of the poker room.
The next day, I got up the nerve to ask Liz out. She said, "Have you been watching how many guys are hitting on me? All I want to do is play poker." I told her if she needed any assistance to let me know.
I ultimately succeeded getting a date with Liz because of something I hadn't thought of. It turned out that it wasn't the promise of poker lessons or extravagant dates that swayed her. Instead, when she found out that I helped poor children, she became very interested in spending time with me.
I eventually found out Liz's other likes and dislikes. I won't divulge them because they would be used against her, as Liz is poker's version of Cameron Diaz in the movie There's Something about Mary.
|53||$45,000.00||EPT Season 6 - PokerStars Caribbean Adventure|
|22||£25,918.00||WSOPE 2009 - £10,000 No-Limit Hold'em Main Event|
|53||$12,560.00||EPT Season 4 - EPT San Remo|
|8||$27,648.00||2007 Special - APPT Macau High-Rollers|
|7||$32,384.00||2007 Special - APPT Macau Main Event|
|89||$5,153.00||2007 WSOP - Event 25, No-Limit Hold'em|
|19||$11,475.00||2007 WSOP - Event 18, World Championship Limit Hold'em|
|72||$4,880.00||2005 WSOP - Event 33, $3,000 No-limit Hold'em|
|12||$24,090.00||2005 WSOP - Event 13, $5,000 No-limit Hold'em|
|5||$177,000.00||2005 WSOP - Event 2, $1,500 No-limit Hold'em|