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Poker News | People in Poker | Poker Superstars

Where Are They Now – Liz Lieu

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Liz Lieu has got it all.  As mentioned in other “Where Are They Now” profiles, it seems that all you have to do anymore to get noticed, and sponsored, in the poker world is have a pretty face.  Sure, having maybe one positive tournament result doesn’t hurt, but for the most part a large majority of the poker world thinks it’s more about looks than poker brains anymore.  Just sneak a look at the bottom of this page and you can see that Lieu is more than just a one hit wonder with a pretty face.  What’s more impressive is that she’s only played tournaments for four years, and her results are on par with players who have played in tournaments for a lot longer.  Lieu’s story is an interesting one, considering she had to be pushed by a friend to even play tournaments in the first place.

Liz Lieu was born in Vietnam on August 2, 1974, but her stay there would be a short one, as her family moved to the United States when she was just about a year old.  Her parents decided on Colorado, and that’s where Lieu would spend her entire childhood.  At 13 years old Lieu first became interested in a variety of gambling games, including Chinese poker, Pai Gow, and Holdem.  Over the next five years Lieu learned a variety of poker games and spent most of her teenage years beating her peers out of their lunch money, if they dared play her.  At 18 her entrepreneurial spirit came to the forefront, as she opened a card room in her house, offering Pai Gow, low limit holdem, and Chinese poker games.

Sadly, shortly after opening the card room in her house, her father had a heart attack that left him so weak that he was unable to work any longer.  Lieu, at only 18 years old, told her parents not to worry, as she would see to it that they would never have to work again.  Despite never playing cards outside of the Colorado scene, Lieu made it her goal to be able to support her family through her poker skills.  That’s quite a tough task to put on anyone, let alone an 18 year old, but it’s just one of the challenges Lieu has taken head on in her successful poker career.

Lieu headed west to Vegas and later to California with her bankroll that was large enough to support $80/$160 stakes.  Despite running into some undocumented personal problems early on in her career, she was able to move up in stakes with the help and support of her best friend John Phan.  Over the next half a dozen years or so, Lieu moved up the ranks to the $400/$800 limit games, which at the time was one of the biggest games around.  She also bought a house in both Las Vegas and Los Angeles so she’s never far from home no matter where the next big game is.
Lieu of course would have probably continued to have a fine life sticking to cash games, but her buddy Phan constantly pressured her to play in some tournaments.  Finally in 2005 Lieu gave in, deciding to throw her hat into the tournament circuit starting with the 2005 WSOP.  What a decision that was, as she went on to cash in three events that year.   In the very first tournament she ever entered, the $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event, she finished fifth.  Some of her opponents at that final table were Allen Cunningham (1st), Scott Fischman (2nd), and Dave “Devilfish” Ulliott (3rd).  While she didn’t win that tournament, she was immediately given the confidence she needed to continue pursuing a tournament career.  The other two events she finished in the money that year were the $5,000 No Limit Event (12th) and the $3,000 No Limit Event (72nd).  Not bad for a beginner.

Her first tournament win came at the L.A. Poker Classics Limit Holdem event in Feb. 2006, netting her $40,453.  That tournament win was in between two World Poker Tour money finishes.  The next year at the L.A. Poker Classic she took down the $1,000 buy-in event for over $148,000.
At the 2006 WSOP Lieu was honored by being named a final table marshal.  In the introduction by author Nolan Dalla she was predicted to be the next woman to win a WSOP bracelet.  While she hasn’t quite done that she has made a number of achievements since then, and a bracelet is surely not too far away.  Perhaps her greatest achievement as a pro came in November of 2007.  Lieu made back to back final tables on the Asian Pacific Poker Tour in just four days.  On November 23rd she finished 7th in a $2500 dollar buy in event, and on the 26th she finished 7th in $15,000 High Rollers event. 

Lieu has since moved to London, where she seeks the highest stakes games.  She is also a sponsored member of  Sadly her dad passed away two years ago, but her mom still lives in Colorado and Lieu has always been able to keep the promise she made to her parents shortly after her father’s heart attack.  When she’s not playing poker she is involved in a variety of charity work.  She makes routine trips back to her native country to help provide food and shelter for those in need.  Since she started on the tournament circuit she has donated 20 percent of her winnings to charity.  A full bio of her charity work can be found on her official website at
While the WSOP bracelet hasn’t come her way yet it’s easy to see that she is one of the premier players in the world.  Between cash games, and tournament poker, she has proven herself time and time again.  She has also proven herself to be one of the most gracious and charitable players in the world.

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