Our second "spotlight" player is Liz Lieu. If money finishes are what get a player noticed then Liz clearly is a player who literally burst on the scene just a year ago. Three money finishes right here at the World Series last year. Followed in October with three more cashes at the WPT Festa al Lago. November produced World Poker Finals cash and another at the Five Diamond World Poker Classic. Two more payouts at the Goldstrike World Poker Open in January of this year and then a big win at the WPT LA Poker Classic in February. And that is not the complete list but I think you are getting the idea that Liz Lieu as arrived and the poker world has noticed. A long time cash game player, Liz has added the Hold'em tournaments to her game over the past few years and the results, well they are more than apparent.
Now there is another element to Liz's game and personality that we probably should address here right up front. As I was assembling the participants for this Spotlight Player Series, I asked my buddies (the "Poker Boys") about the various players I was considering. Not surprisingly they were all for Liz being included; however, they did not use any of those in-the-money statistics to justify their enthusiastic support for Liz being in the project. It would seem, not that I have noticed, that Ms. Lieu has a kind of, well, 'attraction' to some members of the poker population that transcends her abilities at the table.
I, myself, do not quite understanding this, so I have asked my Poker Boys to why they thought Liz would make a good "Spotlight Player."
"Tim, are you out of your mind? Liz is drop dead gorgeous. How can anyone concentrate on the game with her at the table?"
"Tell me about her tattoo."
"Will you introduce me? Can I get an autograph? Is she taller than she looks on TV?"
"Who does her hair? What color are the hi-lites today?" (OK, we have always had some doubts about this guy but he keeps the hotel rooms neat and gets everyone on the correct flights home at the end of the Poker Boyz trips.)
So OK perhaps there is something to this Liz Lieu persona, all of you can't be this wrong, but let me tell you why [b[I[/B] asked Liz to participate in the Spotlight Player Series. First, she can flat out play poker. Second, this could be and should be a break-out year for her and she is primed for the WSOP. Third, Liz was the very first professional player I ever approached for an interview, she was friendly and took the time to answer my questions completely and not with just the stock answers. Liz gives great interview and that's all I have to say on the subject, except that the blue hi-lites but that may change as the Series progresses, Liz's stylist is flying in around the Fourth of July for a redo.
Good, now that we have that out of the way. Let's get to Liz.
First question: preparation for the Series.
Liz took a week off and "Did not play poker."She moved into a house outside of Las Vegas and got centered on the task of playing all of the No Limit and Limit Hold'em events at the Series. A bit of questioning revealed that by "no poker" Liz meant no live games. She has played online a bit but for her "the" game is live on the felt.
"My fingers are itching; I need to throw some chips, to splash a pot."
Since Liz is clearly focused on the game and on maintaining as much sanity as possible during the long WSOP adventure, I had to ask about cash games. Liz is notorious for her consistent wins in big limit cash Hold'em games. Would she put that aside too and concentrate on the tournaments.
"Oh no! If there isn't a $400/$800 game going, then I will start it. Yes! There will be lots of cash play for me this year, lots."
Liz also added that ring game play can be hard work but it is after all her job. The only limitations on the cash game will be the following day's event. If she is playing the noon start the next day, then the cash game will shut down early so she can be ready for the tournament. With so many two and three day events this year, we can expect many players to have this same attitude towards the cash games, Now whether they will actually be able to stay away from the live action is another story all together. I have the sense that Liz will stick to her pre-game plan.
Finally, guys (gals?) a word of note. Liz has a new social policy in effect: No dating poker players. Sorry but I felt it only right to warn you. And yes, I did ask - this includes really bad poker players too!
On the Felt Updates
Gavin Smith did make it back from the Oregon wedding but busted out just short of the first break (2 hours) in the $1500 NLHE event. He told me it wasn't that he was tired but simply that getting up to make a 7AM flight was not his lifestyle and he never felt he was on this game all day.
Liz Lieu playing the same event sent me this text message: "7th hand into the tour. I picked up two red kings and ran into AA's, have 300 left in chips" Liz soldiered on for several more hours always playing the short stack.
Liz can be reached on her website, lizlieu.net.