Professional poker star Liz Lieu has got her game back after some tough times. We find out how she did it: “I was forced to adopt a somewhat tight – but aggressive – strategy”

After enduring some tough beats in 2006, Liz Lieu is finally starting to get the rub of the green in tournament play

I mentioned in my last article that I hoped 2007 would be a great year for me in which I could concentrate more on playing good poker. Well, what can I say? After a tough run at the tables in 2006, the new year has brought a change of fortunes and my wishes have turned to reality!

Ironically, the venue for my first taste of success in 2007 was where I last savoured victory: the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles. Twelve months ago I won the $1,000 limit event at the LA Poker Classic, so it’s fair to say that I was gearing towards returning to my favourite card room and picking up where I had left off.

Going west

It all started in the third week of January when I received a call from a close friend, who reminded me that I needed to tear myself away from my computer and get over to the Commerce, where the action was hotting up. I went over and started at a $200/$400 game, but quickly became bored and asked one of my opponents to play $400/$800 with me. He gave in, but since I wasn’t very familiar with his play, I soon found myself down $20,000. But I hung in there; slowly but surely, I fought my way back.

During this session of play, a few players who are regulars at the Commerce came over to our table during heads-up play. They were considerate enough not to break up our game, but were anxious to gamble; they began playing war using our flops, were betting $100 per point and even doubling and tripling points for our mucked hands. It was crazy. Even through all of this, I managed Liz found the going tough at the LA Poker Classic, but came out on top in the end to come back and close the night on a high, $15,000 up.

A few evenings later, I was playing in a $500/$1,000 game when Frank Mariani joined the table. Frank is one of the owners of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team and a real gentleman. The table soon filled completely, and the action went nuts! Every pot saw five or six-way action capped before the flop. And one of the players, sat at seat No.4 (I was in seat No.3), was on a hot streak; he was running great and catching every card he needed. Here’s an example of the craziness: I was on the big blind with J-2 off suit, and there were two raises to me. I knew that one of my opponents, called Ali, would cap it after me, so I mucked. There was eight-way action. The flop came 10-6-2, Ali bet, and it ended up being capped seven ways. The turn was a Jack, and with three bets, it was capped six ways. The river brought a Queen, the guy in seat No.5 bet, and everyone else mucked. See what I mean?

Victory at last!

So, after all this madness, I was up and running as the LA Poker Classic got into full swing at the beginning of February. After winning a limit event in 2006, I wanted to show my diversity and decided to enter the $1,000 no limit hold’em event. It was certainly not going to be easy though – 450 players and the first prize was a very nice $148,370.

As the field dwindled, the players obviously got tougher to face. They may not have been well-known pros, but they were good, solid players and I was forced to adopt a somewhat tight – but aggressive – strategy. We played through the night and into the early hours of the morning as the final table loomed. Thankfully, at 6.30am and after a marathon effort, I was having my picture taken with the trophy and prize money. It was all very exciting!

As well as my victory, I am very proud to keep my promise to donate 20% of all tournament winnings to charity. This time, I’ve decided to give half to the children’s charity – Make-a-Wish Foundation. The other half will be split between the MS Society and some poor communities in Vietnam. Winning is great, but sharing is even better.

PokerPlayer magazine features 24 pages of expert poker strategy every month so why not try a copy HERE

Pin It

Comments are closed.