Archive for September, 2009

The Next Chapter: Peace and Joy

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Right now, I have no idea what is going to happen next. What will be accomplished in the next year or two? I have high hopes but it is a great mystery. The way life is supposed to be. Filled with pleasant surprises and occasional let downs. But most importantly, I hope it will be filled with laughter and joy. I am so much more appreciative of life’s little treasures at this stage in my life, and so much better at brushing off the occasional let downs. I credit much of this to my Father and I couldn’t be happier about the way the last chapter of my life closed out.

(photo courtesy of Ian Morton ~ VinaPix)

I left you with the 2 year promise and I am happy to tell you that I have successfully kept my commitment all the way through to the final day. We had a ceremony with the Shaman to send my father’s spirit away in peace on Sept 6th. And to help my father on his way, I purchased 888 birds to release on his behalf. This is a very common activity done in the Buddhist culture, in the hope that such good deeds will earn them credits for a better incarnation in their next life, as well as helping their relatives in hell to win earlier release from their suffering. I originally wanted to purchase more than 3000 birds but my Shaman assured me 500-600 were more than enough. LoL. I might have gotten a little carried away! I decided I would do 888 instead because it is a very lucky number.

(photo courtesy of Ian Morton ~ VinaPix)

Quite a few interesting things happened during the ceremony that were truly surreal. I will save you the details because it’s impossible to believe unless you were there. I told a few close friends about the supernatural events I witnessed only because they truly know how skeptical I am as a person. It’s in my nature to analyze everything from all angles and look for alternative answers whenever something doesn’t seem right or logical. I am always processing info in my head to see if everything “adds up”. And I had no answers for what I saw except it was truly spiritual. I’ve seen a few magicians such as Chris Angel perform in Las Vegas and this was more amazing and unexplainable than anything I’ve ever seen before. Afterwards, I was assured they were very good signs and the ceremony couldn’t have went better; my Dad is in peace.

Once that Chapter closed for good, I flew back to Las Vegas for 5 days before flying back to Europe. My first destination: Venice, Italy. So beautiful!!! It is one of my favorite places to visit so far. I flew there for the Gioco Digitale ME tournament but I had some free time to check out the sites as well. Everything in Venice is accessible by walking or canals. Water runs thru the entire city and there were hardly any cars. It’s an amazing sight. I also had a film crew following me around to film the “Poker Diva Lifestyle” through the lens of Alexandre Henry. I am excited about working on this project as well.

The tournament itself was uneventful. I ran into a bit of a cooler on my final hand which knocked me out right after the dinner break. I flopped a set of 3’s on a J, 7, 3 board. Two spades on the flop. I bet 800 on the flop. And I was check called. The turn peeled off a 7(s) which was potentially a good card for me if my opponent hit a flush. We both checked the turn. I wanted to faint weakness in case he did hit his flush. The river brought a non-spade Ace. My opponent checked. I bet out $3,000 and my opponent check raised to 7k, I then pushed all-in and got an immediate call. I had a full-house and couldn’t imagine my opponent had a bigger full house. Sure, enough my opponent hit perfect perfect on the turn and river and flipped over A-7 for a bigger full house. On that note, I was out of the tournament.

After I spent a few days in Italy and wrapped up the Main Event, I flew to London and currently taking a few days to rest up before the WSOPE Main Event which starts on the 26th of September. The film crew for the “Poker Diva Lifestyle” will also meet me in London in a day or two and we will resume filming. Hopefully, I can give you a taste of the European lifestyle and culture. I really do appreciate the different cultures you can experience in such a short geographical distance. I have a week before the WSOPE Main Event starts in London. Now what?!? I am already getting restless. Perhaps I will catch up on emails and stay a little more socially connected.

I did want to send a special blessing to my friend Adam “DJ AM” Goldstein. May he rest in peace. I know it’s a little late but it was important to me to share a couple of moments from Adam’s life. To share with you what a special human being he was. I first met Adam approx 5 years ago at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. What many people don’t know is that Adam is an avid poker player. He loves poker!! He used to come the Bellagio about 2x a week to play in some relatively high limit games after spinning at the Pure Nightclub, a nightclub I often partied at and chilled to Adam’s awesome music spin. Over the years he played less and less because his Deejay responsibilities would keep him on the road more and longer. Usually, late at night after a Deejay gig. Sometimes he came alone and sometimes he would come with a friend or two.

(photos courtesy of Pure Nightclub)
(DJ AM and Liz Lieu in the house at Pure Nightclub)

At first, I learned thru Jonathan Shecter that DJ AM didn’t like me very much. At the time, I was playing in a 3 handed 80-160 limit hold-em game when Adam sat down and took a pretty good beating from me. At the time, I don’t think he really knew I was a professional poker player. On one occasion, I remember completely stripping him of his entire bankroll for the night. I don’t think Adam was making as much money back then because this used to really upset him and we developed a minature rivalry. Well, more of a rivalry on his part. I liked his action.

Eventually, about 1 years later we became friends and Adam told me about his feelings toward me. He told me, he thought I was cocky and it really irritated him. I never disrespected him or laughed at him but it was more my style of play that frustrated him. I am a very aggressive poker player and most guys aren’t accustomed to running into that type of aggression from a female. Anyhow, we shared a laugh about it and once we got to know each other on a more personal level, we grew to respect each other. And Adam did get the best of me a few times on the poker table. After a couple losing session to him at the Commerce, I playfully commented “Alright, we’re even now.. OK?” And he laughed it off. At this point, he was making a lot more money and I could tell the poker swings didn’t affect him as much.

One of the things I respected and admired the most about Adam was how much he loved his mother. His mother Andrea was the entire world to him. And I also admired how much Adam cared about people in general. One day, I was actually talking about charities with Adam because he struck me as the type of person that would care about that stuff, and I asked him some advice on some potential charities to donate too. He suggested I donate to MS research. Okay, so I asked him why? He told me his Mom had MS and they were very close to coming up with a cure and any additional help would be so beneficial. I was more than happy to do it. I started to donate to the cause immediately with a % of my winnings.

I also learned that Adam was donating a significant amount of his own personal earnings to MS research. Adam even told his Mom that I was donating money to her cause. One day, his mom even emailed me personally to thank me for my support for curing MS. I guess she was very pleased that one of Adam’s friends would also champion his cause and she was so thankful that she wanted to bake me a huge batch of homemade cookies!!

I continued to see Adam a couple of times a week playing poker and then he got more involved with bigger gigs and he was going to Las Vegas more often but we continued to stay in touch. When LAX first opened and I was just signing with the Martin’s Poker team he made sure I had a table and was taken care of. There was a huge mix up actually over my reserved table and when Adam got back to CA, he personally came to the Commerce and brought the Main manager down to personally apologize over the mix up and took care of the situation. And that was the type of guy Adam Goldstein was.

Over the past year and a half, I haven’t had a chance to keep in contact with Adam at all. We both had different priorities and poker wasn’t one of them. I don’t really know what happened in NY and what was going on with him, unfortunately. To me he will always be the caring and compassionate person who loved his Mom more than anything in the world. A generous person who would go out of his way to take care of a friend. It’s a sad loss. I hope Adam has peace and happiness.

Cheers!

Closing one of life’s Chapter: The “Two Year Promise”

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

Everyone’s life is made up of different chapters. We move on to the next chapter for a variety of reasons. Usually we move from one chapter in our life to the next when we reach closure on something in our previous life. It could be a relationship, school, becoming an adult, being able to legally drive or starting a new career. But each chapter is usually marked by the closure of one thing and moving on to the next.

I am now about to enter a new chapter in my life. I am in Vietnam right now and September 6th marks the 2-year anniversary of my father’s passing and my 2-year promise to him. Two years ago, I entered a new chapter in my life; a life without my father in it. I heard of the news when I was on the felt playing the Main Event in Barcelona. I immediately left for Vietnam.

From that day forward, I made a 2-year promise to my Dad. I would commit my energy and time to honor him. Most of you may not know this but I am very much a “Daddy’s girl”. I loved my Dad very much and he was such an important person in my life. I very much looked up to him and felt tremendously loved by him. None of my personal success would have been gratifying if I wasn’t able to share that with him.

In Buddhist culture, we believe in life after death and we believe good deeds can help bring peace and comfort to those who have passed before us. So, I made a 2-year commitment to my father to fulfill his final wishes and do as many good deeds as possible in that time. I wanted to ensure he had serenity, peace and love in his next life. I don’t want him to suffer at all.

Highest Gift to the Departed –

According to Buddhism, good deeds or ‘acts of merit’ bring happiness to the doer both in this world and in the hereafter. Acts of merit are also believed to lead towards the final goal of everlasting happiness. The acts of merit can be performed through body, speech or mind. The persons who receive the merit can be either living or departed ones.

Transferring merits to the departed is based on the popular belief that on a person’s death, his ‘merits’ and ‘demerits’ are weighed against one another and his destiny determined, his actions determined whether he is to be reborn in a sphere of happiness or a realm of woe. The belief is that the departed one might have gone to the world of the departed spirits. The beings in these lower forms of existence cannot generate fresh merits, and have to live on with the merits which are earned from this world.

Those who did not harm others and who performed many good deeds during their life time, will certainly have the chance to be reborn in a happy place. Such persons do not required the help of living relatives. However, those who have no chance to be reborn in a happy abode are always waiting to receive merits from their living relatives to offset their deficiency and to enable them to be born in a happy abode.

Those who are reborn in an unfortunate spirit form could be released from their suffering condition through the transferring of merits to them by friends and relatives who do some meritorious deeds.

As many of you are aware, I have spent a lot of time in Vietnam over the past 2-years. I have spent approx 4 months of the year living in Vietnam and maybe this blog will offer some perspective on why I haven’t been as focused on poker recently because I know many people have wondered why I haven’t been playing as much. It’s simply a different chapter in my life.

I have had that chapter in my life where I used to play poker for 3 days straight without any sleep. In my early 20’s, I had amazing stamina and couldn’t walk away from a poker table. I would frequently put in 2-3 day sessions of straight poker and completely crash for a day or two and then do it all over again. If I could title that chapter in my life, it would have been called the “Grind”.

The most recent chapter of my life was dedicated to my loving and wonderful father. I spent many days and nights at my father’s temple, prayed for him, sent him dedications and lived out as many good deeds as possible. This includes the charity work I do in Vietnam. This is something I will continue to do in the future but really took on more meaning and significance when my father passed away.

On September 6th, 2009, the Chapter entitled: “Two Year Promise” closes in my life and I will move on to the next chapter. I have no idea what is in store but I have come to peace with my father’s passing and I now have closure. I feel confident that his spirit can rest in peace and I know deep in my heart my Dad would love to see me move on and start the next chapter of my life so that is exactly what I intend to do.

This will probably mean more time on the road traveling for Liz Lieu, more time on the felt and back to playing more poker and focusing more on my career again. So be warned poker players!! Liz Lieu is coming back and going to focus more time and attention back to making money and doing what I love. But I don’t regret the decision to take much of the past two years off at all. Luckily, I’ve made enough money over my lifetime and had money saved up to be able to do this. I’m very fortunate to be in that position.

So far I’ve been in Vietnam now for over a month. I left for Vietnam a couple of weeks after the WSOP Main Event in early July. I did take some time however to participate in the APT Macau event. I played in the APT Celebrity Challenge and the Main Event. Other players in the field included Poker Pack crew Quinn Do, JC Tran, Nam Le, Chino Rheem, Steve Sung and a host of other pro’s from the United States and Europe. One of the highlights of this trip to Macau was seeing a number of Chilipoker’s qualifiers sporting our Chilipoker logo.

(photo courtesy of asianpt.com)

I was also approached by famous Chinese language director Janet Chun to participate in the final shooting of a poker film. At first, I didn’t really know how serious they were or not about the offer when they first approached me but they insisted they wanted me to be a part of the movie and for me to be involved in the final table. I spent 3 days in Hong Kong participating in filming the final table scene of the “Poker King”. The movie is scheduled to be out later this year.

I would like to send out a special thanks to the entire movie crew for the wonderful hospitality throughout my stay in Hong Kong. It was an awesome experience!

“Poker King” tells the story of two bitter poker rivals competing for world championship glory. The cast will be all-star, A list Chinese actors and pop stars with a cinema release across the region set for later this year. Actors with the coveted starring roles include Louis Koo, Sean Lau Ching -Wan, Jacky Heung, Stephy Tang, Cherrie In and Josie Ho. There have been several famous gaming films in the region, most notably the 1989 Chinese language classic ‘God of Gambler’s’ starring Chow-Yun-Fat which spawned dozens of spin-offs – but ‘Poker King’ is set to be the first release that focuses on poker.

I think it is the perfect transition for me to move into my next chapter in life. I hope it has some significance because there are high hopes for the poker market to expand into Asia and China in particular. Perhaps the next chapter of my life involves being a part of that expansion; to be at the forefront of the poker movement into Asia. Who knows? I just know that I am in a good place. I have peace in my heart and I am ready to start my next adventure!!!

Love and kisses everyone. I will be flying back into the States sometime next week. I look forward to being back and visiting with friends and family before my next big adventure to Venezia for the Festival del Poker ME, then moving on to London for the WSOPE ME, and lastly the WPT Marrakech, Morocco which is sponsored by Chilipoker. The Marrakech Event will take place from the 12th to 18th of October. I am really excited to be a part of this Event especially because my Chilipoker family has a huge role/ part in this event. I hope to see many of you there!

Cheers!