Rising star Liz Lieu talks to PokerPlayer exclusively about her rise to the big leagues: “I want to go for the main event bracelet! It’s a sick goal but that’s my goal”

Rising Star Liz Lieu shares her thoughts on fashion, fans and the biggest win of her career

Look and learn

When I first started playing, I was very stubborn. If I was stuck in a game, I’d sit for two or three days and play until I got even. That’s how it is when you first start off playing – you don’t have the discipline. But, thank god, I’ve passed that stage! You need the experience of winning and losing. I’ve made millions, I’ve lost millions.

Girl power

My heads-up victory over Erik Sagstrom [she beat Sagstrom in a $500,000 limit hold’em challenge] ranks up there with any of my achievements in poker. I believed in myself and I proved to others that I could actually play. It gave me more strength. There are certain people that think women just can’t play, and I know everybody was expecting him to win because he is known as the best online player out there.

Fashion icon

One of my dreams has always been designing my own clothing line because I’ve always been into fashion. I’d love to do that if I had the chance. But I know what I’m best at, and that’s playing poker. I’ve been playing since I was 14 years old, and as soon as I got out of high school I started my own home game. Now I play the $1,000/$2,000 game at the Bellagio.

Golden goal

I started playing tournaments about six years ago, and at first, I’d always go for the win, press my luck and get knocked out. I got frustrated and said to my best friend John Phan, ‘I don’t want to play tournaments again’. But he persuaded me to stick it out. So I did, and happened to make it to the final table in the very first event at last year’s WSOP and got hooked. Now I play as many tournaments as I can. I want to go for the main event bracelet! It’s a sick goal but that’s my goal.

Sharing the pot

Charity work is something that I like to do. I happened to win the limit hold’em event at the LA Poker Classic so I donated 20% to charity. The majority of the money went to MS [research] and the remainder went back to my country to help the poor and the orphanage. Every year, John Phan and I go back to Vietnam, buy tonnes and tonnes of rice and pass it out ourselves.

Fan favourite

I have a good rapport with my fans, and I try and respond to most of my mail. I find it flattering in a way, and it makes me happy that there are people out there really supporting me. I’ve just opened a store on my website because I’ve gotten so many requests for photos.

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