PokerUpdate.com contributor Robbie Strazynski caught up with PokerStars Pro Liv Boeree at the 2016 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in the Bahamas and talked about a wide variety of topics including what’s to come in 2016, her charitable initiative REG, and whether she prefers ducks or dolphins! Check it out for yourself!
And be sure to stick with PokerUpdate here and on Twitter @PokerUpdate to get all the updates at the 2016 PCA!
Hello everybody, this is Robbie Strazynski for PokerUpdate.com. We’re here with Liv Boeree at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure 2016. Liv, thanks so much for your time!
How are you doing?
I understand you were just playing some Heads Up For Rolls, and you beat somebody over there, right?
Yeah, I played quite a few of the matches and I feel bad because it’s a freeroll for them.
What exactly is ‘Head Up For Rolls’ for the people who aren’t here?
It’s a fun activity people can sign up to do, and they get to play against Team PokerStars Pros in some heads up hyper turbos. If they win they win money, and if they lose they don’t lose any money.
I see, and what about if you win? You just feel bad?
Nothing. Exactly. If I win, I just feel bad. They’re like: “I have a limited amount of funds, so do try,” and I’m like: “Of course,” but at the same time I feel bad because I sucked out on one guy and I was like: “I’m sorry!!” One dude won $500, so yeah.
Nice! Off of you, or someone else?
Off me. It was that if you win 5 in a row you win $500.
I see. Very nice! Good for him. It’s a new year, 2016, what are you looking forward to the most when it comes to poker? What is going to be the highlight of your calendar this year? If it’s not the PCA, of course.
It’s hard to know yet. It’s hard to say what my highlight is going to be until I’ve been through the year and then start looking back. It’s easier to look back and pick out a highlight, but something I’m looking forward to, I guess the PCA. I love the PCA, it really is one of my favorite stops. I always have such a good time here. There’s no poker stop really like it, that has so much sun and sea and that social aspect to it. It’s really good. So, obviously this, and then what else? I’m off to Aussie Millions next, which I love. I love Australia so much.
The weather is pretty decent there this time of year.
Exactly. Perpetual Summer!
So, yeah, that!
Okay, cool! Well, you’re no stranger to major EPT victories. I guess your landmark victory, where you came on the map, was EPT San Remo in 2010, right?
What is it like to have competed in an event like that, and succeeded for the very first time? I’m sure a lot of people in our audience are not necessarily the grinders doing it day in and day out, but they’re weekend warriors and they’re probably curious as to what it’s like to have a breakthrough victory. Can you describe that?
What’s that like?
Yeah, because you would have been trying for a very long time obviously, and then it finally happened.
Yeah, I mean I was fairly new on the scene anyway, so it definitely took me by surprise.
You didn’t expect to win?!
No! It’s very unlikely to ever win in any given tournament because of the mathematics of it. I had a lot of confidence back then – perhaps an excessive amount of confidence for my actual relative skill level – but that said, I definitely didn’t expect to win one that soon, and especially not one of that size. It was a really big one. I was a really, really lucky girl and it was incredible. It was an absolutely incredible week.
That’s really cool! Let’s go in a different direction: REG. That’s a charity called Raising for Effective Giving, and I guess it’s one of the more popular poker charities these days. You are a founder, I believe, of REG and why don’t you tell our viewers exactly what REG is about?
So, what it stands for is Raising for Effective Giving, and it’s built upon the philosophy known as Effective Altruism, which is about doing good and raising money for charity, but doing so in the most effective way. So, some charities are significantly more effective in reducing suffering than others. Generally when one wants to do something charitable, that’s the goal, right? To reduce suffering.
Right, not that one is more important than the other, but it’s hard to know which one to give to if you have a limited amount of money.
Exactly. One only has a finite amount of funds that they can give and it’s very important that you make sure you give to the place that is going to have the biggest impact. So what we are doing is, we are raising money for a handful of very specific, highly effective charities.
And, who’s “we”?
Us at REG.
Anyone else that our audience will know?
A lot of poker players are the co-founders: Igor Kurganov, my partner, Philipp Gruissem, one of the German superstars.
The Monsters, right?
Yeah. Stefan Huber, who is a Swiss cash game player.
It’s like a UN of poker players that’s deciding all of this. That’s really cool.
Yeah, of course! It’s taken off way more than I ever anticipated. I was so thrilled with the uptake from the poker community and the support.
That’s actually my next question. Would you say that in terms of the poker community, is it specifically meant for the people who are playing the high stakes cash games and winning gazillions of dollars out there, or can the regular home game heros also donate like $20 or something like that?
Absolutely. It’s not all about who can give the most. Some people are obviously going to be able to give more than others, but it’s all about looking and saying: “Do I need this $20 this month? Oh, I’m not going to buy another whiskey & coke when I go out tonight, or whatever,” and giving that – giving something.
Right. Do you decide where this money’s going to go? Do you let the donor know, or do you let the donor choose where the money’s going to go?
Yes, so it’s up to the donor. They can choose ‘unrestricted’ which means the money will be allocated across the range of the charities that we raise for (there’s about 10 but I think it’s actually 7 right now), or you can specifically choose how to allocate where the money goes, for example 50% to one charity and 50% to another.
I think that’s really beautiful. We’re talking about charity and this is a poker event. Unfortunately poker sometimes gets a stigma that people who are doing it are only doing it for themselves. I think that’s a really beautiful thing that’s being done where you’re deciding to take a step back and do for others. That’s really ambassadorial I guess. That’s very cool.
Thanks! I mean, that’s the great thing about poker. Those of us who get to travel and play are extremely fortunate and there is fortunately a great way to carry on playing poker and make a really big positive impact on the world – and that’s giving to really effective charities.
That’s beautiful. Well done, ma’am.
Alright, well, you’re well known for your love of animals.
So we’re going to give you a few choices and you’re going to tell us which is your favorite animal from among each pair.
Dog or cat?
That was quick.
Okay! Duck or dolphin?
I love both! I really do love both, but I’ll go with dolphin. If I could only ever hang out with one, forever, it would be a dolphin.
Okay, dolphin it is. Kangaroo or goat?
Kangaroo, I think. Goats are really fun. Goats are hilarious.
What’s fun about goats?
They’re crazy! Those are my favorite videos on YouTube. Just google ‘goats making weird noises’ – they’re hilarious. They do such strange things.
And nonetheless, kangaroo?
Yeah, because kangaroos are just so cool! I got to meet and hang out with some in Australia last year. I have a picture posing with one.
I see. You think they remember you?
No, I highly doubt it. They’re just really nice animals too.
Interesting choices Liv. What are your poker goals at this point in your career? You’ve obviously accomplished a ton, you’re a PokerStars Pro, and you’ve got your whole life in front of you – what do you want to accomplish at the felt? How could that relate to our audience out there who aren’t necessarily high stakes players? Let’s answer the first part first, sorry. That’s a complicated question.
Yeah. The obvious one is to win a couple more big tournaments.
Yeah, I would love to win a bracelet. I would love to win another EPT, and I’d like to be a WPT champion again. So those are the standard answers, but beyond that my goal is actually to be at an even footing with some of the top MTT players in the high rollers. I’ve played a few high rollers now, and I feel like I can hold my own, but at the same time I know that there will be a number of players at any given table that are significantly better than me. It’s always a great learning experience to play against them. As a personal goal, I would love to be able to sit there and be at least equal or better than these world’s greatest.
Would you say that that’s something our weekend warriors should aspire to, or just be cool about being the best in their game? Should that be enough for them or should they always look up?
I think it’s good to do a combination of both.
Very safe answer there!
Well, it’s true! It’s impossible to give a general advice because one person’s goal might be to be the #1 MTT player in the world, and in that case you should really go for it if that’s your true goal. But, if your goal is to crush your home games, have fun, and maybe come and play some tournaments now and then, then put in as much effort in as the results you would want to achieve.
Do you play in a home game?
No? Have you ever played in a home game?
Did you enjoy it?
Yeah, it was very fun.
What’s most fun about a home game versus the whole experience of having a dealer and all the PokerStars branding and all of that?
To do whatever you want!
What do you mean? What’s one thing you do at a home game?
Like follow the Queen, and Deuces Wild?
Yeah, that sort of thing. Do a shot of tequila if you get bluffed, and however your mind wants to go with it.
Sounds like a home game I’d like to attend perhaps. That sounds very interesting. So, last question. Like you said, there’s plenty to do outside interviews like these and outside playing and stuff like that. What do you do for fun here on Paradise Island in the Bahamas?
I guess the main thing is I enjoy the water park. I love all the slides and the “lazy” river that’s not lazy at all, it’s like river rapid trying to knock you off of your tube. I enjoy getting a group of friends, taking a few beers and go and do that. That’s one of my favorite activities.
That sounds like fun. I can see a lot of people wanting to do that.
I actually gambled, and I never, ever gamble in the casinos.
In the pit?? Oh lord!
We played some craps because I had never played craps before. It is actually extraordinarily fun when you get a roll going. So there was a little bit of that last night. That’s the thing about this resort, there’s a couple of clubs, there’s restaurants and there’s nightlife.
So you’re not lacking for options?
Exactly. There’s a lot to do.
It’s a good place to hold a poker tournament. We’re going to throw away the script and we’re going to ask you to pick a question from the hat. Kindly read it to our audience here at PokerUpdate.com.
What is the worst television theme song ever? I don’t really watch that much TV.
You’re allowed to take a lifeline, or another question.
Yeah, I can’t think of anything!
Okay, another question.
Who is your favorite disney princess?
Would you like a clock?
Does Nala from The Lion King count?
Oh, because of the whole animal thing.
That is my favorite Disney Film. She is kind of a princess, right?
That is certainly the most unique answer I could have expected.
I mean, Princess Jasmine was alright in Aladdin, she had some sass about her. Belle from Beauty & The Beast was a bit feeble. She was okay, she was very beautiful.
Feeble, that’s a good one.
I’ve never seen Pocahontas, but I heard she was great. I like the female protagonists that are empowered.
Well, we’ll go with Nala as a final answer?
You heard it here first at PokerUpdate.com. Again, this is Liv Boeree. Thank you very much for spending time with us here at PokerUpdate.com at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure 2016.