Liv Boeree: Poker, science, and philanthropy

Liv Boeree
Posted on: February 11, 2023 23:10 PST

Born in Kent in the UK and nicknamed “Iron Maiden,” Liv Boeree has a fascinating life story to tell.

After playing lead guitar in a heavy metal band during university, she embarked on an incredibly successful poker career, earning almost $4,000,000 in prize money before calling time on her professional career in 2019.

Her life after poker has been equally impressive, thanks to her profile as a science commentator, speaker, and philanthropist. 

This is the story of Liv Boeree, one of the world's top all-time female poker players – before, during, and after her achievements on the poker circuit.

Early years 

Liv Boeree is a native of Kent in England and was educated at Ashford School. She studied Physics at Manchester University and was a guitarist in a heavy metal band called Dissonance

She also worked with several clothing brands at uni, modelling gothic clothing and enjoying an alternative lifestyle. 

After graduating, she decided to use her science degree to enhance her poker skills, which led her to apply for a poker reality TV show to kickstart her career.

Liv Boeree poker achievements 

Liv Boeree’s poker career started in 2005 when she appeared on the reality TV show Showdown. Poker stars Phil Hellmuth, Annie Duke, and Dave Ulliott coached Boeree and her fellow contestants, and this experience fuelled her desire to make a name for herself on the poker circuit. 

Her first big win came in 2008 when she won $42,000 at the $2,000 No Limit Hold’em Ladbrokes Poker Ladies European Championship for her first-place finish. She followed it up with a top-50 finish at a 2008 WSOP event in Las Vegas, walking away with just over $4,000.

But her biggest career triumph came in 2010 when she won the main event at the European Poker Tour in Sanremo, Italy, with $1,698,300 in prize money. She became only the third woman ever to win an EPT title and quickly established herself as one of the world's most talented female poker players.

She continued her success on the EPT later in 2010, finishing second in a London side event in October, winning $80,326. 2017 was a particularly great year for Liv, as she won event #2 at the World Series of Poker with her boyfriend at the time, Igor Kurganov, leaving the event with $273,964 and a WSOP bracelet.

In the same year, she won $150,000 at the Poker After Dark Session VIII in Las Vegas and $55,189 at the PokerStars Championship in Barcelona for an eighth-place finish. 

When she announced her retirement from professional poker in 2019, Liv Boeree had earned $3,861,839 on the circuit, putting her comfortably in the top 500 of the all-time money list. She is the only woman to win a WSOP bracelet and EPT event. 

But what made such a talented poker player call it a day early in her career?

Life after poker – science!

It’s fair to say that Liv Boeree is more than just a poker player. Before getting into poker, she earned a First Class Honors degree in Physics with Astrophysics from the University of Manchester and has put her passion for science to good use. 

On YouTube, Boeree has amassed over 50,000 subscribers, with many of her videos bringing in hundreds of thousands of views on the platform.

Her videos explain various scientific phenomena, including philosophy, technology, futurism, physics, and engineering. She has focused much of her post-poker career on building her channel.

Liv Boeree is also an established and well-respected speaker who has appeared at universities and other institutions to discuss various scientific topics and issues over the years. For instance, she gave a 2018 TEDx talk in Manchester on the benefits of thinking in probabilities, reflecting on some of her successes on the poker circuit.

Other notable speaking gigs for Boeree include an Oxford Union debate and an appearance at the Cheltenham festival. She has also spoken on various podcasts and TV shows since calling time on her poker career and has even written scientific articles, including one published by the Future of Humanity Institute.


Liv has used her platform and profile as a way of supporting causes that are important to her, and she has made many telling philanthropic contributions in recent years. 

While still playing poker, she co-founded Raising for Effective Giving. This platform promotes an approach to giving known as “effective altruism,” which provides advice and support for people looking to make donations to specific charities and causes. 

The platform has raised over $14,000,000 for charitable causes worldwide and motivated Boeree to become a member of Giving What We Can, a global community of people contributing 10% of their income to effective charities each year.

It’s inspiring to reflect on the positive impact that Liv Boeree has had on the world since leaving the poker circuit through her science videos and philanthropic ventures. Although she’s unlikely to make a return to a professional future any time shortly, she remains one of the best female poker players of her generation.

Recap: Liv Boeree 

Liv Boeree’s successes on the poker circuit are extremely impressive, and her achievements in the US and Europe between 2008 and 2018 highlight just how good a player she was.

After retiring from professional poker, Boeree has enjoyed even more success with her charitable ventures and her YouTube channel, arising from her passion for science. 

By subscribing to her channel, you can keep up with Liv Boeree’s life after poker.

Feature image by WPT under Creative Commons.