Poker pro Xuan Liu may be in Canada’s top 50 all-time money list, but she still knows how to mix it with the low-stakes grinders. And it’s a good thing too, because she’s currently partway through a challenge to play poker in every province and territory in Canada within a month, and when it comes to game selection she’s often having to take what she can get.
With a budget of just $1,000 for live play and a further $1,000 on WPT Global (US dollars), Liu isn’t searching out the type of high stakes games in which she made her name. And when it comes to a province like Newfoundland and Labrador, which has literally no casinos within its borders, the challenge can be as much about finding a game as beating it.
“I did not have a plan going to Newfoundland,” she tells PokerOrg’s Sarah Herring in our exclusive interview, below. “I just found this Facebook group, they have a game at 7pm…I just showed up, it was on the Royal Canadian Army base, just a bar game. It was super fun.”
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Giving fans what they want (and a WPT package)
The challenge has come about as part of Liu’s growing fascination with content creation. “I was really committed to poker for a while, but I think YouTube’s more fun. You can kind of do things at your own pace.” Which is not to say life as a content creator is free from the grind – it just requires a different type of focus.
“It’s a lot of hard work,” she explains, “If you see the amount of work that Rampage, Brad [Owen] and Andrew [Neeme] put in, it’s insane. It’s like a full-time ordeal. Like, no matter what you’re doing, you’re always scanning for things that could be interesting, that’s good for content.”
Taking on a bankroll challenge at lower stakes has meant the monetary upside is less than she’s been used to, but Liu is keen to point out that not all the rewards are financial. “It’s a blessing to have so many people who look up to you and are asking for more content. And I think it’s a disservice if you’re not giving them what they want.”
When games in bars and army bases are harder to find, Liu’s been logging on to WPT Global to continue her challenge from wherever she can. Her partnership with the WPT has also given her a $12,400 package for the upcoming World Championship at the Wynn, which she’ll be giving away to a lucky Canadian player if she can complete the challenge (Canucks, click here for details).
“Traveling is what made me want to be a poker player”
Liu’s posting regular updates from her road challenge on X and Instagram, with more poker content on her YouTube channel. But the adventure of playing poker in all of Canada’s 10 provinces and three territories is not being done purely for the likes.
“I used to be that $1/2 grinder at the local casino,” she tells us, “and traveling is actually what made me want to be a poker player. You know, just the opportunities, the freedoms, not having, like, a set schedule or anything like that. So I’m just going back to all the things I used to love about the game.”
The challenge comes to a head in early December, in time for the start of the WPT World Championship on December 12. We at PokerOrg wish Liu bon voyage and the best of luck.
Images courtesy of the WPT