The Canada Poker team had the opportunity to meet and speak with Canadian poker pro Xuan Liu and observe her in action while attending the Stardust Canadian Poker Classic in Montreal this past weekend. She is an extraordinary person and poker player to watch – very calm and collected, impossible to read during play. Then, when least expected, she would unleash a very aggressive playing style at the table more often than not, winning her hands.
During Day 1 of the tournament, we observed her being stacked dangerously low in comparison to her other opponents at the table. Most players would have easily been fazed in the face of elimination, but not her. Xuan was stone cold and played her way back up to amass one of the largest chip stacks of the tournament over the two subsequent days of play, demonstrating that she is the “real deal” to eventually finish in 4th place out of a 337 player field.
CP: You are from Toronto but I understand that you have some history with Montreal. Tell us a little about that.
XUAN: Toronto is a fine city to grow up in but I would probably consider Montreal to be more fun. Since the legal age for drinking and gambling is eighteen in Quebec I’ve taken many road trips there with friends when I was younger. I’ve spent at least one New Years Eve there as well, taking advantage of the eccentric nightlife. My younger sister currently attends McGill University so it makes for a good excuse to visit.
CP: How has your overall experience been at the Stardust Canadian Poker Classic? What do you think about the club and the tournament?
XUAN: I enjoyed world-class hospitality at the Stardust Canadian Poker Classic. The structure was perfect for a $1000 buy-in, and the staff and dealers were all very friendly, organized, and knowledgeable. The social media and satellites did a really great job promoting the event, and I was quite impressed by the live stream that was set up for the home viewers. I agree with a friend of mine who admitted that he would play this tournament every day of his life if he could! The hostesses were also super attentive and gorgeous.
CP: You’ve been travelling to different major tournaments. Could you please tell us a little about that?
XUAN: I’ve been traveling around the tournament circuit for almost two years now. Initially I wasn’t sure what to expect of my abilities and results, I kind of just dove in head first. I told myself that even if I bricked every event I would still have all these travel experiences to make it worthwhile. I’ve spent a lot of my time on the road since, and have been to 16 countries and dozens of cities around the world to play poker. Most of these places are in Europe for the EPT, but I would love to travel more to Asia and other regions as well.
CP: You are definitely one of the most recognized Canadian female poker players. In your blog you mention that “with recognition comes an interesting set of responsibilities that isn’t always natural for my personality”. How do you deal with your poker fame?
XUAN: I am usually quite friendly and approachable, but am still an introvert and a relatively private person. I think it’s indispensable to maintain a solid support system and spend a lot of time with people who are well-grounded and don’t take themselves too seriously. Even though I’m always flattered by the attention and compliments, I make a conscious effort not to let poker fame get to my head. I want to stay hungry for results rather than allow myself to dwell in past successes. At the end of the day I’m just a girl fulfilling my own dreams by traveling the world and acquiring financial freedom through a silly card game.
CP: As a Canadian pro, have you seen a trend lately in live poker in Canada and what would you like to see from poker in Canada?
XUAN: I am absolutely ecstatic about the new stops on the Canadian tournament circuit. They’ve always been too far apart location and/or time-wise for me to forgo traveling to other destinations with consecutive events, but I would love to travel closer to home if possible. Poker in Canada appears to be heading in the right direction and it’s a really exciting time to be a player right now.