Archive for November, 2006

I’m Back and Exhausted!

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

After 19 hours of flying I’m back everyone. I landed in LA. a few hours ago and so glad to be back. Thanks to all of my friends and fans for the kind words of support while I was in Singapore and Vietnam. No time to rest however! I will be up all night doing some work and catching up on everything I missed while I was traveling. Then I’m off to Vegas tomorrow to participate in the Five Diamond World Poker Classic at the Bellagio on Saturday. I will try and participate in many of the smaller events that lead up to the Main Event. The main event begins Thursday, December 14th. John wanted us both to drive to Vegas tonight! He’s crazy. After 19 hours of traveling that’s the last thing I wanted to do. Luckily for John, he slept most of the way back to LA. and he should be rested!! LoL.

Right now it’s so good to be back with everyone I love in the States. I’m feeling so very lucky to have gained additional perspective on life in my travels. Despite being tired and exhausted I feel grateful for the experience.

And I cannot say enough about the wonderful people of Singapore and Vietnam. There were so many lovely places and fantastic people I met along the way and I am definitely a better person for it. I look forward to going back again, even though I can’t see straight right now due to exhaustion!!

The last few days in Vietnam were spent with my Dad. We spent quality time talking and catching up. It was rather uneventful however in terms of sight seeing or venturing out. My Dad spent most of the time in my hotel room watching me work on my computer. Sorry Dad! The internet connection in Vietnam was a crapshoot to say the least. One moment the internet connection seemed to work fine. The next moment it took me 3 hours to log on to the internet! Aaargh. So, if I didn’t respond to your comment. Now you understand. I had some technical difficulties!! I did get to wrap up my trip by going out to dinner with my Dad, his companion and John on the very last night. We had one last moment to reflect on the trip.

Now it’s off to Vegas and back to playing some more poker. I haven’t had the chance to play as much poker as I would like, so I’m really looking forward to getting back into the action again!

For those of you that will be at the Bellagio during this 2 week event.

I will see you in Vegas! For everyone else that has been checking in on me. Thanks again for all of the emails and support! I hope to get back to everyone once I get caught up again. Take care everyone!!

Winding down a whirlwind trip to Asia

Monday, November 27th, 2006

Since my last blog, John and I did a few more days of helping the poorer communities around Vietnam – mostly in DaNang and Hue. All in all, we’ve given out over 80 tons of rice, treats and money to all the kids, and did whatever we could to help people.

The days we spent were in the countryside where poor schools and elderly homes barely had the basic supplies to get by, and along the ocean where people live on small boats. The way of life in these parts of Vietnam is so poor, but the people are so incredible! They have good attitudes about life, and they know that what really matters is love and family. Their smiles are so big and warmed my heart, and they were all so grateful for the food and the time we spent with them. I was smiling and wanting to cry at the same time.

I got to see parts of my home country that I had never seen, and it was an amazing experience! Vietnam has some of the most beautiful countryside and oceanside areas I’ve ever seen, but the areas are filled with some of the poorest communities I’ve ever seen. I wish I could explain just how it felt to see the poverty right in the middle of such beauty.

John and I took every opportunity to visit the temples in the areas we visited. It was calming to take a moment of silence and really think about where we were. I’ll never forget any of it…

Now, I’m back in Saigon, spending time with my dad before heading back to the U.S. on the 30th. As usual, though, I’m sitting in my hotel room at my computer, taking care of business… I just can’t get away from it! But I hope to get out and enjoy the rest of my time here in Vietnam and cherish the time with my dad over the next few days. Then, it’s packing up and heading home.

And I want to say a special “hello” to all of my friends who are serving in the Armed Forces! I sent some posters to a group of soldiers in the Army, and they sent e-mailed me a great thank you and photo. Thanks to Corey Davis and all of his buddies serving our country! You guys are awesome!

Take care everyone, and I’ll write again when I’m back in the States…

What a way to spend Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006

I am having the most incredible time in Vietnam. When I arrived here on the 18th, I spent 3 days with my dad in Saigon. It’s been too long since I’ve seen him, and although he doesn’t seem to be eating enough, he’s definitely happy with his new partner in life. He was happy to see me, too – we’ve really missed each other.

After those few days, John and I were off to DaNang, which is more of a rural, country area with lots of very poor people. Homeless people were easy to find, old people and little children without enough food. Some of the poverty is because of the hurricane that hit there this year, but it is a poor area of Vietnam anyway – the hurricane just made it worse.

John and myself had bought 15 tons of rice – several truckloads – and began passing it out in different villages. We worked from the early morning until late at night and found that there just wasn’t enough time in the day.

It takes time to unload those heavy bags, but I was so inspired that I didn’t even notice how much I was lifting. Each place we went, the people were so thankful and sweet, and I just wanted to spend time talking to them all. But we were on a mission and kept moving to the next stop, and the next, and the next…

We saw people in all types of situations, but ones that struck me the most were the people living on these little boats out near the ocean. Some of them even had little babies with them. The poverty is so widespread over here, and it just made me want to cry. All of it made me want to cry.

John and his family are just SO generous! And John comes back so often to do this sort of thing that a temple actually engraved this beautiful stone with his name to honor him for his good heart and everything he has done to help the people there. That was very touching, and I’m so proud of John.

Right now, John’s family is doing some cooking so that we can bring some nice warm food to people today. We’ll be off to do the same as yesterday – bringing as much food to the people as we can. Then on Friday, we’ll travel to Hue, which is supposed to be an even poorer part of the country. I can’t even imagine who we’ll find there.

I have to say that this trip has changed me. Liz Lieu will come back from Vietnam as a changed person. It’s one thing to talk about giving to charities, but when you actually go to such poor places and see their faces and look into their eyes, it’s life changing. I’m feeling SO very fortunate to have the opportunities that I have, and so grateful to my parents for doing everything that they did to give me a good life in the U.S. I am really humbled by what I’m seeing over here – my own people, living so poorly, sometimes without even food. I want to do more, and I’m going to do more.

This has been an incredible way to spend Thanksgiving, even though the holiday doesn’t mean anything to people here in Vietnam. I’m so thankful for my life, and I feel like I’m really doing a good thing over here by helping my people. It’s always good to give to charities, but it’s an unbelievable experience to actually be here and do it myself.

After several more days of delivering food and helping everyone that we can, I’ll be going back to Saigon to spend a few more days with my dad. Then, I come back to the U.S. on the 30th. I will be glad to be back home, but this has been such an eye-opening and meaningful trip.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving! Don’t forget to tell people what they mean to you, and if you can help someone less fortunate than you, please do it. Take care

Wonderful experience in Singapore!

Saturday, November 18th, 2006

I’ve been having a wonderful time in Singapore! This entire trip has been a great experience, and I’m so glad that I was able to come here.

An unexpected development was being interviewed by several people, including two Chinese newspapers! One was called “The New Day” newspaper, and the other one was all in Chinese print, so I don’t know yet what it says, but I’m getting it translated. I was on the front cover of the paper. Cool!

This BetFair tournament was absolutely fantastic! I was very impressed by the way they accommodated all the players and the effort that they put into this event. The event was held in the hotel because there isn’t a casino around here, but they set it up very nicely. And there was a huge crowd! Lots of big names showed up, too – Tony G, Gus Hansen, Mel Judah, and my Martins Poker teammates John Phan and Harry Demetriou.

The event started on Wednesday, and I had a very up-and-down first day. I faced several bad beats… The worst one was when I flopped top set of tens. My opponent went all in with pocket K’s, I called, and he rivered a K to beat my set. Argh! I was down to about 2000 in chips after that horrible hand, but I built my stacks back up. Then another bad beat, then building my chips again. Very frustrating day! I ended the day with 23,600 in chips, but I was simply exhausted.

I went into the second day hoping for a better run of cards, but it didn’t happen. Early that day, I was definitely one of the shorter stacks when I looked down and saw 99’s. I moved all in and the player to my left also went all in. What did he have? Pocket Aces! With no help from the board – of course! – I was out of the tournament 75th place. Very frustrating!

I do want to mention that Harry did make it into the money and chose to donate 20% of it to a local charity here in Singapore. Yeah, Harry!

Today, I’m packing and finishing up some business before I head to Vietnam. I’ve been lucky to have good internet service here in Singapore, but It’ll be a different story in Vietnam. That may be a blessing in disguise, though, because I really need some down time – a little relaxing time with my dad will be good. And the volunteer work that I’ll be doing is going to be good for my soul.

I’m very excited to get going, and I hope to get an update to you (somehow) from Vietnam. Take care…

Downpour and More in Singapore!

Sunday, November 12th, 2006

I’m here! After an exhausting 16-hour flight, I arrived in Singapore to rain, rain, and rain! I was simply tired, so when I finally got to my room, I ordered room service, did some work on my computer, and relaxed indoors. I was supposed to do some sightseeing on the first two days of this trip, but it’s been raining so hard that I haven’t been able to do much. Bummer!

Finally, I was getting a bit stir-crazy in the hotel, so John and I went out to explore Singapore. We thought the rain had stopped but unfortunately, it hadn’t! We stepped out into the streets around the hotel to find the place where I could get my photos taken – I have to get a visa to enter Vietnam from Singapore when I leave here on the 18th. We must’ve stopped at four different places to ask for directions, and we got different answers every time! All we could do was laugh at that – LOL!

After walking for about 15 minutes, we found the place and got the photos taken. Then, we were trying to find a good restaurant at this mall area but saw a supermarket next door. I was craving a certain fruit that is hard to find in the U.S. (and not as fresh as when you get it in Asia), and as we were walking through the market, we just looked at each other and laughed – we decided to just buy food and fruit there to take back to the hotel. And we bought enough to last us for the rest of our stay because we knew that we would both be too lazy to walk back to the store again! (We know each other so well and are so similar – it’s no wonder we’re best friends!)

And John, being such a great friend, carried all of the groceries, while I munched on the fruit all the way back to the hotel. Hee hee! Even in the ugly, rainy weather, we had so much fun laughing and spending time hanging out.

Krister flew in very late that night and called me when he arrived. He sounded exhausted and told me that he hadn’t slept for two days (I can relate!) but still couldn’t sleep, so we talked on the phone for awhile. We finally made arrangements to meet up the next day at noon for lunch.

When that time came the next day, I was 15 minutes late (surprised? ha ha) and saw everyone already there chatting – Krister, Harry, and John. Harry couldn’t come to lunch with us but it was nice to see him! I was introduced to Murat Sahan with Poker Magazine, who was a very nice guy, I must say. We all went to lunch at Long John Silvers, then we decided to roam around and check out the city for awhile since the rain was letting up a bit. We headed to Chinatown because Krister wanted to take some pictures for the magazine.

It was hot outside – and very humid! The first place we stopped was right in front of a temple, and the statues on top of it were simply amazing – so detailed and beautiful! We continued walking around Chinatown, which looked a little like a flea market – lots of unique little shops with everything for sale that you could imagine. We stopped at this clothing store, and Krister saw this hat that people wore in China in the early 1900’s. He made me put it on and snapped this GOOFY shot of me – go ahead and laugh! I know I did when I saw it!

Then we walked by this street vendor that sold baked water chestnuts, and my eyes just lit up, so John bought me a pound of them. It’s another thing that I can’t find in the States, and I think I saw them a mile before we actually got to the food stand! (Everyone probably thought I was nuts because I was SO happy – nuts, get it? LOL) I then asked the salesman if I could litter with the shells of the nuts, and he laughed but told me that I could if I wanted to pay a ticket. What? Evidently, Singapore is very strict with its laws! After walking around more and eating about a half pound of chestnuts, I was dying of thirst, so I bought a drink and gulped it down in one shot. Whew!

Still walking around, we came to a temple, and John and I decided to go in. We lit some incense and prayed, and I felt a huge sense of relief inside afterward. I guess that was something I really needed to do. After that, we were so exhausted from the heat and the walking that we went back to the hotel to rest for a few hours before the BetFair reception – we had to be there to sign up and get our cards for the main event.

By the time we got to the reception, there were lots of people there already who had come from all different parts of the world. It was nice to see the melting pot of people! They started the reception with a dragon dance – something done in the Asian culture on special occasions, like New Years, to bring good luck.

I was approached by quite a few people for photos, which I was happy to do. I always enjoy meeting new people! Then, I was approached by Valerie Tan, a reporter for Channel News Asia, who asked me to do a video interview. Krister told me later that he saw it on tv – yeah!

John, Harry, and I all played in the BetFair $400 satellite tournament, which was fun. From everything that I have seen so far, this BetFair event is going to be a huge success – great for Asia and great for poker. I’ve been waiting for so long for this to happen, and I’m just excited to be here and be a part of it!

The main event is coming up quickly, so I’ll give you more updates as I go along. Take care, Everyone!

A special note to Jules and Crispin Leyser

Saturday, November 11th, 2006

I arrived in Singapore yesterday, and since I didn’t have time to get a copy of the new Deal Magazine with myself on the cover, I wasn’t able to read the article until a friend of mine sent a copy over to me, and I finally had a chance to read through it. I was very pleased with how the entire magazine turned out. Deal Magazine did a wonderful job with the front cover and the article was very well written.

In the interview, which was conducted within a day or two of the end of the World Series main event, I said the following about the winner, Jamie Gold: “He doesn’t have an ego… I heard that he didn’t want publicity. That’s a good person right there.”

Deal Magazine printed my words correctly, but at that time, I only knew what people were saying about him. I also knew the last few main event winners (Moneymaker, Raymer, and Hachem) were all solid, grateful winners and I guess I hoped Gold would be the same. Wrong!

And at that time, Jules and Crispin Leyser (my good friends) were under the impression that he was their friend and would hold up his end of the deal to give them S of his winnings. It wasn’t until a couple weeks later (if I remember right) that Jamie was still holding out on giving the Leysers what they were promised. Now the situation is held up in court, and Jules and Crispin are being screwed by someone who made promises to them and claimed to be a friend.

I want to apologize to Jules and Crispin for what I said about Jamie. I hope that you know that I made that comment before the legal situation came up, and I support the two of you in every way. I know what friendship means, and the two of you have always been there for me. I just wanted to apologize publicly and let you know that when I talked to Deal Magazine, I had no idea that Jamie would put you through this mess.

Sorry, Jules and Crispin! Love and kisses to you – all the way from Singapore!

Good things and farewell for now!

Tuesday, November 7th, 2006

I got a nice surprise recently! I did an interview over the summer for a cover story with Deal Magazine, and I wasn’t sure if it was going to come out or not. But it did! I am definitely very pleased with how it turned out. Thanks to Deal for doing such a great job!

I’ve run lots of errands but still have so much to do before I leave tomorrow for Singapore. I haven’t even started packing, and I have to get some touch-ups to my new hair color, which you’ll see in pictures over the coming weeks. (PINK!) I don’t know how I’m going to get everything done before my flight on Tuesday night, but I have to find a way…

I wanted to take a minute to say thanks to everyone for the kind words and encouragement about my upcoming trips. I have to say that every message really means a lot – advice, funny comments, compliments…

The support – even when I’m knocked out of a tournament – makes me feel like I can get back up and try again next time. I’m very lucky to have so many good people around me, and you need to know that I really appreciate it!

I also want to say that if you’ve sent me a message in the past few days and I haven’t responded, please understand that I’m not ignoring you! I’ve really been swamped, and I will answer you as soon as I can – I promise! And while I’m in Singapore, I’m going to be super busy with poker and some marketing opportunities, and in Vietnam, I’ll be spending time with my dad as well as doing lots of charity work, so please understand if I don’t answer many e-mails or MySpace messages right away. Even so, I do love the support and I thank you for it – from the bottom of my heart!

I will be leaving for Asia tomorrow night and I wanted to say farewell to everyone before I take off. And I’m taking all of your support and kind wishes with me. If any of you out there are going to be at the BetFair Asian Poker Tour, please come by and say Hi!

I’m VERY excited about this trip and hope to write a quick blog or two during my trip to let you know how it’s going. Stay tuned and Take Care Everyone!