Everyone can see that in sheer numbers, the poker world is highly dominated by men. At live events, the gap is visibly tremendous that it is unlikely women will be catching up anytime soon. Yet despite this, there are women in the live poker circuit, and even if their numbers are increasing ever so slowly, some women are clearly making their presence felt in the scene. One such woman is Chinese descent Canadian Xuan Liu who has been consistently cashing (every year) at major events around the world since 2010. According to the Hendon Mob statistics, to-date, Liu has currently accumulated over $1.5M in live tournament winnings.
Backtracking to her poker beginnings, Liu started out like many poker players who used their free time in school playing cash games and sit n gos, sometimes organizing poker games to earn extra money. This eventually developed into a career when she decided to get serious and pursue poker as a living despite her parents concerns.
Liu’s Poker Career
Hitting the felt with determination, Liu kicked off 2010 with a couple of cashes at the Macau Poker Cup, then headed to Las Vegas for a few more cashes, and ending the year with a first place side event takedown at the Italian Poker Tour in San Remo. In 2011, Liu was geared up for more that in late April, she found herself at the final table of the European Poker Tour Main Event. She eventually took third and nearly $525,000 to go with it. After her impressive deep run, she continued in hot pursuit, and followed it up with her biggest win yet, a fourth place finish at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure 2012 Main Event, earning herself a total of $600,000.
At that point, everyone wanted to know who Xuan Liu was. Liu was no longer another female poker player in the scene, she was a woman to contend with at the felt. Online poker site 888 Poker also took notice, and in April 2014, signed her up as one of their ambassadors, a role she held for 10 months. In the last quarter of 2014, Liu entered the World Series of Poker Asia-Pacific in Melbourne, and cashed at the Main Event, then added a little bit more to her winnings at the World Poker Tour National Main Event in the Philippines.
This year has taken off quite nicely for Liu. At the Aussie Millions in January, she landed second place at the Six- Max No Limit Hold ‘em side event, padding up her bankroll another $59,000. She then proceeded to Perth for the Australia New Zealand Poker Tour Main Event, which she cashed in, as well as at the ANZPT Asia Pacific Poker Tour Main Event the month after with another small intake.
Xuan Lui WSOP 2013 (Credit Photo Bluff)
Liu and Women in Poker
Although there is a big gender gap in the live poker circuit, Liu is the type of person who enjoys competition so it is well to say that this does not affect her game nor does she think others play her differently just because she is a woman. She plays the big tournaments, plays against the big boys, and travels around the world like many poker players. At the 2010 WSOP Liu entered the Ladies Event and placed 69th out of 1054 players, which doubled up her money. This was her first-ever taste of money at the WSOP. She may have been unknown then, but with her accomplishments following that, she is not anymore, especially to the women in the circuit.
Liu does hope that the number of women will continue to increase as they become more and more empowered to choose and chase their dreams, and if it is poker, then pursue it by working hard like any profession.
With big earnings under her belt for the past few years, Liu will definitely be seen traveling to play poker in various tournaments, looking to go deep and hopefully land a big one. Currently she is at the WSOP in Las Vegas and has already cashed at the Little-One-For-One-Drop event. We will certainly be hearing more of Liu as this is one woman who enjoys what she is doing and plans to be in the scene for a very long time.