Poker Mental Game & Planning

Liv Boeree Poker Strategy

1,956 Views Comments on 18/3/17

In this article, we're going to take a look at some of the hands that Liv played throughout her career and try to figure out some of the important elements of her strategy.

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Liv Boeree is a tremendously successful, popular and multi-talented poker player with more than 3,000,000$ in tournament winnings and the EPT San Remo title under her belt. She's a model, a mean guitar player and an astrophysicist to boot which is a combination of occupations, skills, and talents that are not very easy to come by.

Liv is also a co-founder of the Raising for Effective Giving organization which as of January 2017 managed to raise over 2,000,000$ for its supported charities. She's one of the faces of the growing "Effective Altruism" movement that aims to make a difference by supporting charitable causes that have the most impact on the world.

Liv Boeree is a very interesting, awe-inspiring figure, and a very competent poker player. In this article, we're going to take a look at some of the hands that Liv played throughout her career and try to figure out some of the important elements of her strategy.

Being Mindful of the Table Image

This is a very interesting hand (assuming you're able to look past Phil Hellmuth's awkward attempts at a conversation in the background) showcasing the fact that Liv Boeree is certainly no slouch at a live cash game table and she's capable of making dynamic, sophisticated adjustments based on recent history.

Her preflop open with 55 followed by a cbet with second pair, blockers and a bunch of backdoor equity look pretty standard. Turn is slightly more tricky, but still perfectly acceptable. Shaun Deeb is an aggressive player capable of floating the flop with a wide variety of different holdings and check/folding the turn against him would almost certainly be too weak. The river brings one of the worst cards in the deck for Boeree's range and folding would most likely be the best course of action against many opponents.

However, given the specific dynamic that we learned about in her commentary after the hand (and the fact that she's blocking a lot of straight combinations), she decided to make a very thin and impressive hero call.

The ability to dynamically and accurately adjust one's game based on incomplete information is certainly a mark of a great poker player.

Seizing the Opportunity

Continuing with the theme of aggressive adjustment in unusual situations we get this little gem of a hand. Just like in one famous High Stakes Poker hand involving Eli Elezra and Peter Eastgate, Boeree decided to capitalize on an unusual situation.

The confusion caused by the Spanish player's sloppy action made this a prime spot for a light squeeze by ensuring that there was a lot more dead money in the pot than it otherwise would be. Picking up on things like that is extremely important in a game of small edges and it's often what separates the good players from great ones.

Besides, it was a very brave play, pulled off in a very brave way which could come as a surprise for people who enjoy stereotypes a little bit too much for their own good.

Stack Management and the Power of Blockers

In order to become a successful tournament poker player, it's absolutely vital to learn how to use one's stack as an effective leverage and this hand is a real masterclass showcasing the concept of stack management.

QJs is a strong enough of a hand to open from just about any position in just about any stack to pot ratio. Flop cbet on a 6s8hTc is a no brainer given the amount of equity and backdoor outs. That being said, less experienced players would no doubt be tempted to just bomb the turn on a card bringing them one of the aforementioned backdoors.

Liv Boeree correctly recognized the fact that with the amount of chips left in her stack and the fact that she was blocking many Tx combos (and somewhat unlikely JJ-QQ), the unorthodox check/raise play should show a better expectation in the long run than a simple second barrel (especially if we take into account the fact that this play could lead to some real river headaches).

The Prisoners Golden Balls

Turns out that Liv had what it takes to win at a poker table long before her EPT success in 2010. Her appearance on a British daytime game show named "Golden Balls" showed us that she knew how to do some basic EV calculations, she was familiar with the concept of prisoner's dilemma and what's obviously a lot more important and impressive than that, she managed to showcased her bluffing ability without the poker chips or cards involved.

Liv understood the simple winning strategy and she did all that she could to make it as effective as possible, nodding her head at the right moment and verbally expressing the will to split the prize.

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Matt is predominantly a mental game and planning expert, with a terrific knowledge of science, meditation, practical methods of improvement and of course, a good level of poker skill! Look out for his strategy articles and follow him for his nobel-prize winning forum po ... Read More


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