Xuan Liu

Idealistic Poker Heroine

I Only Write on Leap Days

I actually wrote most of a blog post on my way home from Australia, but this finalized version looks almost nothing like the bizarre, poetic version I had in my head at that altitude. A lot of that one had to do with getting older, meditation, my relationship with my mom, and Cosmos, but this one makes way more sense as a first entry in such a long time.

I had an adventure-packed few months down under with lots of time spent on self-reflection and practicing the art of enjoying life in the moment. For a while the novelty of choosing a non-traditional career path had mostly worn off and was replaced by phases of uncertainty and self-doubt. The money I had made in poker seemed to have all been an illusion, and opportunities had become scarce, but somehow I continue to find myself with insurmountable gratitude for my life situation and all the doors that poker has opened.

When I was young I was driven and excitable with big aspirations. My family started with virtually nothing in a foreign country like many immigrants of the time, and I am so much of who I am today because of that internalized resiliency. When I first started making significant money from poker (for my investors) my main goal was to allow my dad to retire early from his manual labour job as soon as possible. I was thrown into a crazy world of high returns, high expenses, along with the lowest lows. I became filled with anxiousness that revolved around wanting to be successful by having the coolest experiences in the shortest amount of time, and being able to provide my family with experiences they never had. I made huge financial mistakes being overly optimistic about the game and many industry promises that I am still paying for today. Having said that, I’m also thankful for the eyeopening lessons that have forced me to look objectively and grow to be comfortable with who I am now. Today I hold myself to a very high standard with everything I do, and like to think that I no longer waste my time being agreeable, unconsciously hoping to be liked by as many people as possible. Like many females, I fought against impostor syndrome in many facets of my life, and I’m done not feeling like I’ll ever be good enough for the impossible expectations we face, both internal and external.

After making the tough decision to leave a rewarding three-year relationship and beginning to feel like I was stagnating professionally I started asking myself the hard questions again. I am now studying poker frequently and focusing my introspection on what I really want for my future, ignoring external pressures. Since doing so I’ve dyed my hair to suit my mood, have largely ignored what people could think about this and that, and had a solid 2015 with almost $200k in live cashes. 2016 is also off to a great start after a decent Aussie Millions and being drafted by the Montreal Nationals in the first season of Global Poker League, and in April I will be filming “Girl Got Game” with seven other fierce poker ladies. The upcoming weeks I will be home in Toronto preparing for my real estate exam to rebuild my roots here, getting started with various games on Twitch, and making myself available for coaching. All these things seem pretty cool for my ego, but they really are dwarfed by how content I feel inside. I’m also going to do a better job of not letting the media stuff get in the way of time that should be spent on actual progression and growth.

One last thought: I used to think the world was SO unfair, and have really enjoyed feeling like the mainstream has finally caught up! The equality debates are pretty heated now – feminism, racism, class, political correctness, and although I would love to jump into the ring for all these issues, I simply do not have the energy or see a lot of value in doing so in most formats. I used to defend the bullied, the passive, even those who were not present or didn’t want my input indiscriminately, but I have learned that it’s almost always hopeless and ill-advised to present rational arguments to radicals who don’t have critical thinking training. It can even be counterproductive if you inadvertently make them feel less intelligent in the process. We all have vastly different perceptions based on our unique experiences, and the opinions of some will only shift when they are ready. Ultimately we all just want to love freely and be loved in return, so be nice to each other.

 

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11 comments on “I Only Write on Leap Days

  1. steve
    February 29, 2016

    ure awesome

    • xxl23
      March 22, 2016

      Thank you, as are you for commenting 🙂

  2. steve
    February 29, 2016

    and nice article:)

  3. Kai Herbertz
    March 1, 2016

    “getting started with various games on Twitch”

    Awesome! Twitch.tv is pretty cool – what’s your channel’s name?

    “All these things seem pretty cool for my ego, but they really are dwarfed by how content I feel inside.”

    Even though I don’t know you, I empathize with this. It’s great that the time out helped you to focus and be content 🙂

    “I used to defend the bullied, the passive, even those who were not present or didn’t want my input indiscriminately, but I have learned that it’s almost always hopeless and ill-advised to present rational arguments to radicals who don’t have critical thinking training.”

    Spot on. Rather than fighting against negatives, it’s better (imho, ymmv) to actively support positives. It’s healthier and probably more effective at making a change anyway.

    • xxl23
      March 20, 2016

      thanks for the thoughtful feedback!

    • xxl23
      March 22, 2016

      twitch.tv/xuanliu

      • Kai Herbertz
        March 23, 2016

        Cool, thanks for the headsup. I’ll have a look later on 🙂

  4. John Benstead
    March 1, 2016

    Do we really ever know, why we are attracted to a person, a place or even an inanimate object! I have been attracted to the general playing of cards for too many decades!

    My journey diverted from the 52 card “bible” when I met someone and went on to have 2 amazing sons, immigration to Canada and the breadwinner syndrome kept me in check as the family grew and prospered!

    Like so many people I became single, later in life, and was able to concentrate on the non human loves I carried around inside me. Dogs, Golf and Poker. Ultimately these became not enough, I’m from the school that says something shared is something better. I started to date and strangely saw a pattern that I was dating Asian ladies and specifically Chinese origin women! My life changed! I admire their family ethics, their mores and their loyalty across the many stratas of life!

    I had neither seen nor heard of you until the Aussie Millions and I remember tweeting that it was so great to see someone with such grace and poise in a sea of scruff, or something like that. While absolutely affirming that you are totally safe, I enjoy you for your skills, obvious intellect, your style and to my eyes your beauty!

    Greetings and best “felt” wishes!

    John B

    • xxl23
      March 22, 2016

      Hello John, thank you for your support these last few weeks and for allowing me to get to know you a little better. I am gracious you were able to relate to my blog since I guess we have both recently re-prioritized our focus to what makes us happy, It really is never too late for major life adjustments to pursue what we love and surround ourselves with people who give reciprocally. I’m sure our paths will cross soon on the felt. All the best, X.

  5. SC
    April 28, 2016

    I came here after listening to your podcast with ChicagoJoey, which I found to be both informative and entertaining. As someone with similar background as yours, I gave up wanting to become professional rather have poker be a hobby. Skimming through your post I was pleasantly surprised to write your great insights, some of which I can definitely relate to.

    Now, my question: can you talk a little bit about your university years? What were you studying? Had poker not gone well, what was plan B? You mentioned in passing something about putting academics in the back seat when you became interested in primarily poker, how did your immigrant parents react to it? How did you/do you deal with the stigma of gambling associated with, especially within the Asian community, playing poker professionally?

    • SC
      April 28, 2016

      I’m afraid when I commented, I had not read your FAQ, which answers a few of my questions. If willing I’d still like to hear your response. Thanks

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This entry was posted on February 29, 2016 by in Blog, Poker, Toronto.
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