Archive for December, 2008

Dearest Friends .. Through Thick and Thin!

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

This is a blog dedicated to my closest and dearest friends. This is how I want to close my year out. To pay tribute to those who have been there for me through many ups and downs in 2008. These are the friends I hold closest to my heart and trust the most. The ones I can call on at 3am in the morning if I just want to chat. The ones who call me every week just to make sure I am doing well. The ones that make me laugh, or cheer me up. The friends I share my daily experiences with. The ones who tell me what I don’t want to hear simply because I need to hear it.

I suspect many of them are true friends to a lot of people because it’s simply in their nature to be trustworthy and loyal people. These are the type of people who would lend a helping hand to a person in need instead of walking away. These are the type of people who think of others first before thinking of themselves. And I’m truly blessed to have these types of friends in my life.

I am leaving for Vietnam tomorrow evening and this will be my last chance to blog in 2008. I wanted to share my gratitude with all of my closest friends.

“What is a friend? I will tell you it is someone with whom you dare to be yourself.
– Frank Crane

“Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods.”
– Artistotle

“My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.”
– Henry Ford

“Everyone hears what you say. Friends listen to what you say. Best friends listen to what you don’t say.” – Source Unknown

Not in any particular order, I want to share some thoughts about the friends in my life and why they mean so much to me. I know I am going to leave a lot of good friends out and it’s not intentional. The reason I choose to blog about these particular friends is because they are the ones I hold closest to my heart and the friends I stay in touch with the most frequently, the friends that have been there when I was going through some health problems. The friends that have been there for me through thick or thin and I communicate with very frequently.

Doc –
I met Doc years ago in California and he is truly one of the most sincere people I’ve ever met in my life. Doc goes out of his way to call me and check in on me on a regular basis. Doc is a very genuine and good hearted person and one of the most positive people I know. Doc is a very happy and uplifting person to be around. It’s almost impossible not to be in a good mood when you are around him. We also share a desire to do charity work and just recently the same passion for photography. A million thanks is not even enough to express my gratitude for the genuine friendship he has given me and the help he has offered me through some real tough times.

Alex Dreyfus – 
Alex is also a very sincere person and probably has done as much for me in the past two years as any single person. Alex of course owns Chilipoker and has treated me like family right from the very beginning. Alex is the reason I gravitated towards Chilipoker when I had other options on the table. Alex is one of the smartest people and intelligent business mind I have come across. Alex is very motivated and has quite a sense of humor. He is another uplifting person to be around and I want to personally thank him for continuing to support me as a poker player and more importantly as a person.

Zach –
I met Zach in Singapore during the Betfair event in 2006. At the time Zach was a college student and came up and introduced himself to me. Eventually we became friends and Zach became my web guy. Prior to Zach, I was having lots and lots of problems with my web people. I was getting overcharged and the sites weren’t built to specification or maintained consistently. Zach, unbeknownst to me was privately building a website for me and later showed it to me. I was impressed with his work and offered to pay him for it and he didn’t want money for it. He simply wanted to help out because I was having so much difficulty with the last two guys. I eventually hired Zach and he has been my main Web guy ever since. Zach has really done some fantastic work and has improved tremendously with his web designing and programming skills. I am truly happy to see him expand his business interest by starting his own web design company called theWebChap. I would highly recommend Zach’s work to everyone. Over the last couple of years we have become very close friends. I consider Zach like a younger brother now. Zach goes out of his way to maintain my website and is always available 24/7. Zach is another person who is very giving and loyal.

Chesty –
I’ve known Chesty for a couple of years now and I tell him he’s the most expensive friend I’ve ever had!! I had a failed business relationship with a PR firm Chesty was working for and it cost me tens of thousands of dollars. In retrospect I would do it all over again because Chesty is truly one of a kind. Chesty has always lent me his ears whenever I needed someone to listen to all my bitching and whining to vent my frustration without any complaints. Chesty is the joker of all jokers, who never fails to crack me up with all his comical remarks and wittiness. Chesty has inspired me to view every situation with a optimistic aspect due to his positive outlook. Even though he’s the priciest friend I’ve had, he’s worth every penny. Chesty’s loyalty and sincerity are his strongest aspects. Chesty and Doc are probably the most positive friends I have.

Cathleen, Jackie and Tiffany –
I want to thank the three sisters. Cathleen is a very successful cash game player that I met years ago in California. We often play the same limits and she has become like extended family to me along with both her younger sisters Jackie and Tiffany. Jackie is like the mother hen of the group. She is the one who always keeps us in check. What I love most about all three sisters is that they have always been very real with me and keep me grounded and humble. None of them will hesitate to call me out or tell me when I am wrong about something. Collectively they are super honest but through thick or thin they always show me unconditional love. The three of them are very private and maintain a tight circle of friends but once you are in that circle you are treated like family. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate having each one of the sisters in my life.

Eddie Ting –
I originally met Eddie while playing high limit poker at the Bellagio approximately 5-6 years ago but according to him I wasn’t very nice back then. My sister also plays pretty high limit cash games and apparently she was much friendlier to Eddie and eventually they became friends. Eddie still refers to me as the mean one. In my defense sometimes when I am playing poker I am not there to socialize and just want to play poker. He-he. Over time we have developed a great friendship. Eddie is a businessman from New York. He is extremely smart and very intelligent in his business ventures. Eddie has been a good support system and has been there for me when I needed some encouragement.

Neal Wang –
I also met Neal playing high limit poker many years ago. We didn’t really start a friendship until about 4 years ago despite knowing of each other much earlier. I heard a lot of great things about Neal before we became friends. Anyone who has ever encountered Neal can speak to how genuine and nice of a person he is. I know Neal would bend over backwards to help out somebody in need. I have seen him help out many people in the poker community when they needed a helping hand. And nobody else understands me on a spiritual level like Neal does. We are very similar in our spiritual beliefs and Neal relates to me on that level better than anyone else. The way we approach life is very similar and we share many commonalities. Neal is also a very successful business person.

Quinn Do –
Is a professional poker player I met several years ago at the Commerce. When I first met Quinn he was an up and coming pro. He is one of the very few people I have ever helped out with their limit holdem game and he has gone on to be a very successful poker player winning lots of money on the tournament circuit. Quinn is a very encouraging person and I always enjoy running into him. I believe I will see him next in the Philippines for the upcoming APT event. Quinn is a very good hearted person and is the type of person that will always be there if you ever call on him. Quinn is another person who is just very sincere and loyal and I really respect him as a person and glad he is succeeding in life.

Craig Cunningham –
Is a family man, businessman, and poker blogger that I have known for several years. Craig is always looking out for my best interest and gives me terrific advice. I can always bounce ideas and thoughts off Craig and he will be very open and honest to me. He is another person that is just very open and transparent. I talk to Craig frequently and he is the type of person that is always supportive of me but unabashedly honest with me. Craig is also loyal and a very intelligent person. Most importantly, Craig simply cares about me as a person.

Tim Lavalli –
I’ve known Tim for quite a few years now. Tim is another caring and loyal person. We share many similar thoughts about spirituality. Tim is another person in my life that is very open and honest with me. Tim is very involved in the poker business behind the scenes and is very successful. I respect his intelligence and the way he handles himself personally and in business. He is the type of person I respect and I am constantly bouncing ideas off. I enjoy talking to Tim about the business of poker but we also share a personal bond that includes having terrific conversations about life and through thick and thin, along with everyone else, he has been there for me frequently.

Lisa Cripe –
I met Lisa through friends in the poker community. Lisa does public relations and isn’t really involved in the poker world but has many friends in the poker community. Lisa is one of the most honest people I have ever met in my life. She is super honest with herself and around others. Lisa is a true friend that I know will give me honest advice whether I like it or not and always give me honest feedback about anything! Lisa’s greatest attribute however is her loyalty!! When I was going through my surgery earlier in the year, she was always the first person to call me out of all my poker gal friends. Lisa checked in on me probably more than anybody else.

My Family –
I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for my family. I want to thank my Dad (rest in peace) for instilling confidence into me. I want to thank my mom, sister, and brother-in-law for always being available and showing support of what I do for a living. I want to thank my other sisters and brothers for demonstrating unconditional love and to my nieces and nephews for showing me random acts of love and kindness. We can all choose our friends but we are born with our family and I am thankful for the family that I have. More than anyone, my family keeps me grounded and humbled because there isn’t anything I can do in the poker world that would impress them. I would still be the same person and they would treat me like the same person I was 5 years ago, 10 years ago, 15 years ago. With family, nothing ever changes no matter how successful you become and there is something very refreshing and humbling about that.

These are some of my closest and dearest friends! I have many other friends in the poker community. I have many friends outside of the poker community. People I have shared great times with and have a great bond with. People I respect tremendously and should probably get honorable mention in this blog but I fear I would leave somebody out and the list would be too long so this blog was intended for those that were with me every step of the way in 2008 and demonstrated the most unselfishness and unconditional love. The ones I could count on the most and the ones who never asked for anything from me except mutual respect and mutual love.

Happy New Years everyone!


Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. I will be spending my Christmas with my Mom in L.A. I also needed to go to L.A. to get a new passport book for my trip to Vietnam and the Philipines next month. Apparently 19 pages aren’t enough. Every single page of my passport is filled up with stamps and I cannot fit anymore!!

(photo courtesy of Phu Vu)

I want to thank everyone who sends such wonderful messages to me on my websites. I also want to thank those that message me on pokerlistings, myspace, facebook, twitter and chilipoker. Everyone has been so wonderful showing me lots of love and providing positive comments.

I hope you each get the love and attention from your loved ones as well. If you didn’t get the love and attention you needed in 08 well there’s always 09!! I hope 09 brings us everything we didn’t get in 08.

It did snow in Vegas so I did almost get a white Christmas. It just missed us by one week. Well I am off to spend the next couple of days in Los Angeles before I head out to Vietnam for the New Year. It will be my first New Year in Vietnam so I don’t really know what to expect. I hear they don’t really make a big celebration out of it. Ahh bummer!

I am sure everyone is looking forward to visiting with family and spending time with those they love. And I hope everyone receives what they want from Santa this year.

I already sent my letter to Santa so here’s hoping some of those presents will be waiting for me on Christmas day!! Well this might be my last blog in 08. I am not sure yet. I might be able to squeeze out one more before the New Year. Stay tuned. It depends on how hectic it gets before I have to fly out.

(photo courtesy of Phu Vu)

Happy Holidays Everyone! Cheers!

Dear Santa,

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

Merry almost Christmas everyone! I think I have been a pretty good girl this year so I wrote to Santa and requested a few things. Before I show you my letter to Santa I wanted to talk briefly about this past week.

I haven’t blogged in almost a week now because I was busy playing in the Bellagio Five Diamond Classic. I am not going to talk about it too much here but you can read about it on my Pokerlistings blog which will be posted in a couple days.

Also, it is snowing right now in Vegas! It’s providing me the inspiration to write this blog. I already feel more festive. Although, admittedly, I am not a big fan of snow!! I grew up in Colorado and I have had enough snow for an entire lifetime. But I will make an exception because it’s almost Christmas. The two certainly go hand in hand. Well on to the letter…

Dear Santa,

This is Liz Lieu and I wanted to wish you a happy and festive 2008. I hope this letter reaches you well. I have had quite a year but you already know that. I feel pretty confident I was a good girl this year so here is my wish list and I hope you can make as many of them come true as possible.

(photo courtesy of Phu Vu)

It would be nice if you could arrange for my dad to visit me in my dreams. I’m not sure if you can make that happen or not. Maybe that request should go to God. But just in case, I thought I would ask you as well. I sure do miss him and would love to have him appear in one of my dreams in 2009.

I would love to receive a little puppy. Something small and feisty! Maybe she can scare all of the mean and evil people away. I think a cute little puppy would make my Christmas.

I wish you could deliver a “Secret Santa” who can step up and help me in my Charity efforts in Vietnam. I go back to Vietnam 3x a year and I never have enough to give to help everyone. I get together with Charity organizations and I’d buy staples of supplies and deliver them to the most impoverished areas of Vietnam. I also deliver money and supplies to the Children’s Cancer Hospital, the Elder Orphanages, the Children’s Orphanages, and to numerous Temples. The poverty and suffering is very eye opening.

If you cannot deliver a charitable check, how about passing on some good luck to help me win a Main Event in 2009. Just a little luck is all. If you cannot deliver good luck, why don’t we just eliminate some of the bad luck? I’m getting a little weary of poker players doubling up on me through 2 outers or 5 outers. Thanks, I would appreciate it!! 

Okay this list is getting a little lengthy Santa, I have to apologize. But another great item you could pass along would be the opportunity for my immediate family to spend more time together. All of us. My mother, sister, nieces, nephews and brother-in-law.

I wish for happiness and health for my Mom. She is starting to get a little older and it would put my mind at ease if she could stay healthy for this coming year and is happy with life.

Okay, my last request is a little self indulgent but it would be a terrific gift for the upcoming Vietnam trip. I would love to take some professional quality pictures of everything I encounter on my charity missions. One of those Nikon or Canon professional cameras would be perfect for the job!!


Well Santa, I could keep going but I know you’re awfully busy and this will pretty much take care of it for now. I understand that you might not be able to give me everything I request and honestly I would be happy if you gave me any one of the items I requested. I can work on the rest of the wish list on my own but if you felt it in your heart to deliver me more than one of those gifts, I would be very appreciative. Thanks Santa!! I will leave some cookies and milk for you. If you can just turn the lights off on the way out. Thanks.

Liz Lieu

If I were a BOY…

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

The question asked of me the most since I started playing poker has always been about my personal relationships! Who am I dating? What kind of guy am I into? I thought I’d spend some time in this blog discussing relationships and the challenges some of us female poker players face.

Well, I am currently single if that is any indication of how my past relationships have gone! Sometimes, it would be much easier to be a guy!! At least I think it would be less stressful. I can go play poker with the guy’s everyday and party with attractive girls every weekend and nobody would think twice.

Not that I want to live that lifestyle because like most girls I am perfectly content with just finding one good guy! I don’t need a dozen bad boys. I know a few!! I am usually pretty good about not dating the bad boys who date around a lot but I find a different type of bad boy. I will explain more in the blog but I am reminded of this Beyonce video:

I don’t really think all guys are bad but yes, I have had my share of dating some bad ones. I don’t really date cheaters but I have had some guys who were pretty controlling or manipulative. I have had a couple take advantage of my good nature and generous spirit.

Most of the guys I am attracted to are very intelligent. I am naturally attracted to guys who are very confident and smart. Unfortunately, sometimes when you date guys who are really smart they have egos and as a result some of them can be manipulative or controlling as a result.

As far as being a female poker player, it just complicates dating a little more. I have a really hectic schedule. I don’t have a typical 9 to 5 where I can meet a guy in a more normal setting. Most of the guys I meet are indirectly involved with poker somehow or some piece of poker business.

I don’t date poker players however! To me they are like my co-workers and if it doesn’t work out, you have no where to go or hide if it gets ugly. Your personal life gets spilled over to everyone else in the community. As a general rule of thumb, it’s a pretty bad idea to date other poker players.

I have been playing for a living since I was 18 and I learned a long time ago, if you don’t have respect among the guys you play with, it’s going to be a long hard road! As female poker players we are in a difficult spot. You’re not looked upon as favorably if you bounce around dating different guys in the poker community.

I am much better off just playing poker and making a living and not getting into any of the extracurricular drama. It’s not really that big of a community. Many players know each other quite well and you bump into everyone at all of the major events. It’s better if the other guys recognized you as a peer and just keep it at that.

Not to say it’s completely off limits. I haven’t met the right poker player yet, but I know of some really good relationships between players and when it works out like it has for Marco Traniello and Jennifer Harmon-Traniello, it can be a really great thing because it’s difficult to find guys who understand your lifestyle so there is some upside.

Mostly, finding a good partner is just difficult. I don’t think it’s easy for anyone to date because guys and girls are so different but playing poker isn’t really the ideal circumstance either. I am sure it’s complicated my life because I really prefer normal guys and I don’t get a chance to meet them often enough.

As of now, I haven’t met the perfect guy yet. That’s really all I can say about my personal relationships. I hang out with a lot of poker players but those guys are like my peers. I don’t really get involved with them. If you want to send a good guy my way for Christmas, send me his resume!

Right now, I feel like Beyonce. I feel like I’ve had some lost opportunities because a couple of guys I dated in the past didn’t know how to treat a woman and I just look forward to the day I can meet a guy who understands how to be a gentlemen and how to treat women. Most importantly Honesty and Loyalty is on the top of my list!!

Until then, I am going to focus on Poker because you cannot really ever plan to meet a good guy. It just happens by chance and when it comes along you run with it. Good things will come when you least expect it! For now, I have the main event of the Bellagio Five Diamond coming up this weekend. My biggest priority at the moment is to clear my head and get into the best mental state as possible to have a successful tournament.

Until next time… Cheers!

The fun side..

Friday, December 5th, 2008

I came up with a great idea for this journal entry. Most bloggers get in the habit of telling you how they feel and explaining what they are going through! I wanted to have a little more fun with this blog!

I thought it would be a great idea to share with you some of the things that makes me smile or laugh instead. So, I have included a few videos that I personally enjoy. I want to share with you some of my experiences in hopes that it reveals a little bit more about who I am.

Before I get into the videos I want to let those of you looking for more poker related journal entries to go to I am one of the featured bloggers on the site and you can read more about poker there. I usually post a new blog every Tuesday.

I also want to tell you a little bit about what’s going on this week. Well not much!! I’ve been playing a lot of online poker lately. You can read about it on Pokerlistings tomorrow and I also went out to celebrate one of my girlfriends birthday on Tuesday.

A few of us girls went to the Palazzo on Tuesday and had dinner at Lavo. I really recommend the place and it had some pretty good eye candy too! Several girls got together to help Joy Miller celebrate her birthday. Afterwards some of the girls had a couple of cocktails and we called it a night.

Outside of that it’s just been poker mostly. And of course I always get great feedback from everyone about the blogs. I enjoy reading the feedback and writing back to you whenever I can. On to the videos:

I want to start out with a more touching video first. This is a segment from X Factor which is the UK version of American Idol. I’ve been thinking a lot about having really genuine and authentic people around me lately and I remembered this Amy Connelly video.

“Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway.”
– Mother Theresa

Speaking of really honest and transparent moments. Check out this video. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

While we are on the topic of X Factor. This is one of my favorite shows. I fell in love with it when I first started watching it. I am reminded of another clip I think you should check out. This one made me really laugh hard. These two think they are the next P Diddy and Usher!

The next video is a spoof that a friend of mine in Vancouver recently forwarded to me. It’s a spoof of the T.I. Whatever You Want song. I thought this was pretty clever and it gave me a real good laugh. Thanks Saad! 🙂

The last video I want to share with you guys is just a video that makes me think about all my “slick” guy friends lol. It’s a song by Gym Class Heroes. I think everyone can have a good laugh and appreciate this video for what it is. Especially all the women! 😉

Well I hope you enjoyed some of the videos. Sometimes you just have to laugh at life and go with it!! These are all videos that remind me to just keep laughing and continue to have a positive outlook in life. I look forward to sharing more interesting clips in the future.


How does this feel?!?

Monday, December 1st, 2008

This is how I feel sometimes!! I wanted to say a special thanks to everyone who left me positive comments about my last blog. A lot of people messaged me or sent comments to me on Twitter and mentioned how much they liked it.

Sometimes it’s difficult to expose yourself to the world in a personal way. There is an extra layer of vulnerability. I know I have had friends in the poker community go through some very tough times in a very public way.

It’s strange to be exposed to people who don’t really know you intimately and then having to hear about the negativity in the news or on a public forum where thousands and thousands of people view the gossip.

I am thinking about ways to improve this blog and share more of myself with you. Bear with me as I continue to work through some of my apprehension and expose more of my personal life with you. The hardest challenge is to find that balance between my public persona and the real me. I am always honest in every blog or interview I have ever done. I am sometimes guarded however with my responses.

I feel like there is this thin line between what is really personal and what I should share with the public. For instance just yesterday I received some very bad news about one of my half sisters in Vietnam. I have been looking for this sister for almost two years now.

This sister was basically missing or lost and I’ve been very worried about her. I go back to Vietnam frequently and nobody knew where she was. I just received some news that she is in a very tough life situation. And it’s something I cannot fix. I also have word of other relatives that are also having much hardship. The news is quite heart breaking.

I know others are going through the same type of life problems so I don’t want anyone to have extra sympathy for me. I just wanted everyone to know sometimes, I go through the exact same range of emotions as you.

I have had some recent events happen to me that are quite negative. Some business relationships and unfortunate news with friends and family. The worst part is that I have had people in my life who are aware of this and they still continue to try and take from me. The most unfortunate part about having any type of success is sometimes you have people who surround you that are strictly users.

I understand this is a part of success and now that I have been able to sustain a certain level of success and gain some wisdom, I am better at selecting the type of people I get into business with. The type of people I surround myself with. The biggest revelation to me this year was how much I distracted myself with poker and work. Instead of facing many of life’s problems, I just played more poker. Or I spent more time working on my other websites.

I understand now that I cannot run away from my problems. I came across a video which almost parallels my life perfectly. For those of you who want to know me on a more personal level, my life, pretty much looks like this:

My Love “The Story of A Diva”

Anyhow, I hope you enjoy the videos. It’s pretty powerful. I have gone through many moments and times in my life where I felt the exact same way.

The holidays are a really reflective time for me. Partially because I am going through my first Thanksgiving without my father and I really want to reflect upon life and think back to everything I should be thankful for. All my Dad ever wanted for me was happiness.

I cannot help but think about that as I continue the rest of my life’s journey without him. So, in honoring his unselfish and complete love for me, I am doing my best to be positive and to be happy!

I also want to address all of the past negativity in my life. I am washing my hands of unsuccessful business relationships. I am washing my hands of being around people who are constantly taking and never giving.

At this stage of my life, I just really want to be surrounded by positive people! I want to enjoy life with people I love. And I also want to be a little less vulnerable. I want my public persona to be a little more reflective of my private life. So, this is another step in that direction. 🙂

So, lets all be thankful we have each other to share in our lives and to be positive and live out our life the best way we possibly can. And always be aware of how you affect others!!

Be a positive influence not a negative one!