The English queen of the felt

 
Timothy Barber
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IS LIV Boeree too good to be true? An astrophysics grad and sometime model with the looks of a Bond girl and a penchant for heavy metal – a YouTube video she’s uploaded proves she’s no mean guitarist – she’s also the sixth biggest winner in tournament poker this year, with $1.8m from the last ten months. Not bad for a 26-year-old from Kent.

Boeree’s major success came in April when she won the San Remo leg of the European Poker Tour, scooping $1.2m by winning out over 1,240 entrants. She’s now joined the team of pros sponsored by PokerStars, the biggest poker website, putting her alongside some of the most renowned players in the game.

She’s admirably unphased by plying her trade in a poker world that, despite its global popularity, has failed to attract many female players. “I’m a very competitive person, and anything where you can challenge the boys and beat them at their own game is perfect,” she says. “I’ve always thrived in male-dominated environments – the physics world was actually pretty similar.”

Well yes, though hardly as lucrative. Boeree got her degree in astrophysics from Manchester University, and was considering a masters when she entered a poker-themed TV show in 2006. “It was advertised as using your skill and powers of deception to win £100,000,” she says with a grin, “so perfect for me.”

The programme saw novices get trained in poker before competing with each other. With her maths skills giving her edge, Boeree proved a natural and never looked back, earning over $2m over all since then.

“I’m not a gambler in the slightest, but I get my buzz from the side of poker where you’re trying to out-psych your opponents,” she says. “My friends from my pre-poker days think it’s hilarious, but this is a job for life, and I love it.”

For information on Liv Boeree and the UK & Ireland Poker tour, see www.pokerstars.com/ukipt