Liv Boeree is a woman who dominates in a man’s game. With a degree in physics and astrophysics Liv’s mind is perfectly programmed for the high stakes and big risks of modern poker. I was amazed to hear how poker has evolved over the last 20 years. Your typical idea of poker is probably like mine – a seedy room somewhere with a bunch of guys psyching each other out. But the way Liv plays it, poker is in fact a high performance activity. Not only do you need to be attuned to people in order to read how they play, you also need a wealth of theoretical knowledge and aptitude. It’s not just about body language. There are so many factors that determine the style of player you will be up against, and I was surprised to hear how adaptable you have to be even within one game. There are archetypes, but Liv says a good poker player takes nothing for granted, and keeps her mind open. People are complex, and that means the game will be too. And then of course, there is lady luck. Even on her best days, Liv says the real challenge of poker is the level of variables you have to contend with. Just being badass is not enough. Things either go your way, or they don’t. Inevitably, we tackle the problem of women in the game, which is still only around the 5% mark. Liv believes the reason is not simple. She doesn’t do broad statements or reduce problems to easy one liners. Having said that, she has no truck with the kinds of people who like to claim women don’t have the right brains for poker! Not only does poker require having a psychological advantage over others, you need to be a master of your own headspace too. Self-sabotage is something that is very common. Liv describes a situation in Montreal where she found herself doing something she knew was wrong, but she didn’t stop herself. However, Liv also tells me of an opposite situation at a tournament in Barbados, where she played the tournament feeling like she was floating on clouds. This battle with luck is fascinating. There are always unknowns, but at the same time, Liv knows that serious preparation brings the results. As a beautiful, intelligent woman with a high profile, Liv has not shied away from her sexuality, and is no stranger to a photo shoot. She opens up about how fine a line it is for a woman in her situation, and where she believes that line must be drawn. Liv Boeree is a super-intelligent, super-successful woman in poker, but there is so much more to her than that. With a background in science, and a career in show business, this was always going to be a surprising conversation.