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A Look Back At Poker’s Iron Maiden and Metalhead Liv Boeree

Updated: Nov 25, 2022

In recent news, and perhaps unsurprisingly, Liv Boeree has been found dabbling in analytics. Also known as the Iron Maiden of poker, she was featured in SAS Explore 2022 as a key speaker on using technology to inspire, educate and transform the future. For those who are only familiar with her careers in poker and music, this may come as a surprise. However, fans who have been following Boeree’s journey for years know that there is more than simply card games and music in her life.

Intrigued? Let’s take a closer look at Boeree’s story below.

A background of astrophysics

Liv Boeree, born in 1984, is known for many accomplishments that started from a young age. She studied at Ashford School with straight-As and pursued her deep love for space and astronomy in college.

Boeree would earn a First Class Honors degree in Physics with Astrophysics at the University of Manchester. This is where she'd become even more passionate about science — specifically topics like space exploration, physics discoveries, AI dangers, extreme weather, and encouraging women in STEM subjects — which would continue to inspire her later ventures in life.

Playing metal and punk

Boeree first listened to the classic Metallica track, “The Unforgiven” during her teen years. Boeree found herself transfixed by the power and emotion of the song and decided that simply listening to her guitar heroes wasn’t enough. She would chase after the goosebumps by playing along to other hit songs and uploading these clips on YouTube. See her rocking to “Kissing The Shadows” by Children of Bodom in the video highlighted above.

While Boeree was in university, she would play lead guitar in the heavy metal band Dissonance. Further down the line, she would also play for the goth-rock outfit Nemhain, the brainchild of Cradle of Filth’s Adrian Erlandsson.

Life after music

In 2005, Boeree noticed an advert for a reality TV show that was looking for contestants “willing to use their powers of skill and deception to win money.” Lost on what to do after university and hoping to pay off her student debt, Boeree applied on a whim. Little did she know that this would jump-start her career into poker.

Falling in love with poker, Boeree would pursue the game as both a player and TV host. Her first major win was the European Ladies Championship in 2008, and in 2010 she scored her biggest win of €1.25 million ($1.23 million) at the EPT Sanremo Main Event on the European Poker Tour. This is why Boeree ranks as one of the best female poker players of all time. Known as the Iron Maiden in poker communities, the self-confessed lover of heavy metal music would go on to win the European Poker Tour main event in 2010 and the European Poker Awards’ title of Female Player of the Year in 2014, 2015, and 2016. As of January 2020, her total live tournament earnings have exceeded $3,800,000.

Fans were sorry to hear her leave the professional poker scene in 2019, but there were fortunately many things lying in store for the powerful woman. Boeree had invested heavily in philanthropy during her time as a poker player. She co-founded her own organization, Raising for Effective Giving, and continues to use her platforms to speak about advocacies close to her heart. In 2021, fans were pumped to catch her with pop music vanguard Grimes on their latest podcasts, which she co-hosted. They discussed topics surrounding AI, techno music, faeries, life on Mars, the intricacies of sword dancing, the Dune saga, and much more.

It isn’t surprising that when the community thinks of incredible female musicians, such as Ivani whose vocals tinker with rap and harmony or Amindi with her vulnerable songwriting, Liv Boeree’s name always comes to mind. With a combination of brains, talent, and beauty, the permanent metalhead has been able to simultaneously forward the industries of music, poker, and technology. In the years to come, many continue to anticipate great things from powerful women like her both in and out of music.

Written by Leo Clarke

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