Liv Boeree is one the most photographed poker players in the world. When she walks into a room, bulbs cackle, the lens lengthens and her private space dissolves into the ether.
That’s the price of fame I suppose, and although Liv Boeree will be the last person to complain about her status in life, it doesn’t mean that it’s all roses, chocolates and pretty little butterflies.
During our conversation about the ups and downs of 2013, and looking ahead to the future of 2014, it became apparent that on times, her roses wilted, her chocolates were sometimes filled with sh*t and very occasionally someone chewed the wings off her butterflies.
“I definitely believe you need to set goals in your life otherwise how can you measure your success?” Boeree replied when questioned about her goal setting values.
“Towards the back end of 2013 things started to go really well. I have started to take acting lessons, which I have always wanted to do, and I have been working on a TV show. I can’t disclose any details quite yet, but I can say that it’s going to be really cool and has nothing to do with poker; so filming that has taken up a large part of my time.”
I asked her how important it is to have distractions outside of poker. Boeree is a poker player so I guess I should have expected her answer to be ‘it depends.’
“It depends what you want. It’s good to have some kind of balance for any human being, but it really depends what you want out of life. If you are truly fulfilled through poker then that’s great – you don’t need anything else. It depends on the fulfillment of your happiness levels. I think people should use their happiness levels to dictate what their goals should be.”
When it comes to ‘poker goals’ you generally hear the same things when the Dictaphone is thrust underneath the mouths of poker’s finest. WSOP, WPT and EPT titles abound…so I asked Boeree if there was any deeper desire when it came to her poker goals?
“I just want to get to a point where I am truly confident in my game. My confidence got a real bashing this year. I have been struggling in all manner of ways. I have been running bad, but there has been other stuff going on in my game that isn’t right.
“I lost a huge amount of my self belief – more than I ever thought possible – and you can’t win if you don’t believe in yourself. So it’s a question of finding a way to counter that, and for me it’s a question of doing the work: finding out how you messed up, talking through the scenarios with people and then putting that right.
“You also need to find out what you are good at. It’s poker after all and you are going to make mistakes; so learning not to get to down on yourself, pick yourself up and carry on is really important.”
It must be tough for Boeree. As I alluded to earlier, every raise, every chip riffle and every mistake…especially the mistakes…get highlighted more than any other player.
“You get yourself into a dark place, mentally, because you start to think the whole world is expecting something and you are not producing. But I expect more of myself also. I am my biggest critic. It’s about learning how to manage that; to keep the pressure on yourself but not in such a way that you start to dread sitting at the poker table. I got to that stage and still am on times.”
So how is Boeree going to turn this around? How can she get back to the levels of enjoyment she once took for granted, in a game that has been very good for her in the past, and continues to be a very important part of her future?
“I played a $100 satellite to get into this tournament (WPT Prague main event). It only had 15-runners, and I won it. It sounds such a small thing but it meant so much to me. It was fun, the cards were working for me, no one was watching me – trying to take my photo – and suddenly I felt like I was playing anonymously and was enjoying it. So I guess I have to learn to find a better way to handle my fame I suppose.”
“I love it…so don’t think I’m complaining because I’m not; but I do need to figure out why I have become so sullen about my game, and this week may help me uncover that, as I have had a lot of fun playing.”
If anybody can figure it out, it’s the talented, and driven Boeree.
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