Poker isn’t all about what you do at the table.
It’s also about making sure your mindset is right outside of the game. That means finding a balance between down time and game time.
That’s what Canadian Xuan Liu is trying to do while in Australia for WSOP APAC.
The Dark Sides of Poker
Liu tells us all about how she tries to strike a life and poker balance, what she is doing outside of poker while Down Under and how she is trying to find another big score.
PokerListings.com: What do you like to do when away from the table to make sure poker doesn’t burn you out?
I try to stay active and healthy. I like reading too. All that boring stuff, especially while I’m travelling.
I also really like video games. I used to be a World of Warcraft fanatic.
PL: Games like that can sometimes be more of a grind than poker right?
In college, my life was like grind Sit & Go’s for an hour or two, go raid in WoW for six hours, then probably keep grinding WoW for another six hours.
The hours spent playing WoW can be very similar to poker, but it’s all for pleasure and no money. The gratification is just seeing the levels go up and finding new gear.
So I guess in that sense it’s like grinding, but no money, so it’s way worse.
PL: Do you find playing games, or reading, or whatever is important to help you switch off when away from the poker table?
I definitely need to be able to switch. When I first fell in love with the game, all I thought about was poker.
But these days it’s really important for me to find a balance and only play when I have to.
PL: Is it even more important when you are away from home like here at WSOP APAC?
Because we are in Australia I was actually thinking I could fit a in a few sessions online, but the schedule is just terrible, so I don’t think I will be able to do that.
But I have had a few amazing dinners with friends here in Melbourne. I didn’t realize food here was so world class.
I have also been playing some table tennis, and fooseball and darts and stuff. It’s been good making friends with some of the Aussie players.
PL: You started being sponsored by 888 earlier this year. Has that changed how serious you are about your poker?
I’ve always fluctuated between being serious and not so much. When I first started playing higher stakes MTTs live, I kind of hit a heater right away and had nice finishes. So then I just took some time for self-discovery.
Because for a long time it was college, then it was poker and I needed to mix it up. But now I’m actually starting to rebuild and do things correctly this time, in terms of bankroll.
Because I haven’t had a big score in a while. It’s kind of rough when you don’t know when you’re going to make money next.
Obviously being an 888 pro really helps because I know which stops I’m going to go to every year.
PL: Do you think this is something you could do for the rest of your life?
Realistically I don’t think poker is going to be as profitable as it is now for too much longer. So it’s really about putting myself out there and making as much money as I can.
PL: Do you have an idea what you would want to do once you are done with poker?
I took Social Development Studies at college, so I’ve always had the philanthropy part of me that wants to someday contribute something useful to the world.
PL: Do you not feel like you are doing that now?
Poker is a fairly zero sum in terms of it doesn’t make the world a better place. It does create happy people once in a while who can spread that happiness to others around them I suppose.
But ultimately there are lots of dark sides to poker that aren’t talked about.