Xuan Liu makes playing poker look effortless. No, scratch that, she makes playing poker look like a shampoo commercial. Liu sits at the table with her legs tucked up beneath her kneeling on her chair in a riding side-saddle kind of way. Jet black hair cascades down towards her chip stack and... , well, it's all too easy to get carried, which may well be part of the reason she's picking up so many fans.
Liu has become a regular feature on the EPT over the last season or so and, perhaps unsurprisingly, never seems to be without a dinner invitation. But as we all know, the hardcore poker fraternity only opens its arms to those it believes are worthy, the players that are rated as knowing their onions. Liu most certainly ticks those boxes. Liu racked up three EPT cashes during 2011, one of which was her third-place finish at EPT San Remo, where any of the final four players (Rupert Elder, Max Heinzelmann, Liu or Team PokerStars Pro Max Lykov) would have been worthy winners. As it was Liu picked up €360,000 and a stackful of plaudits as she did so.
It's rinse-and-repeat for that process at the moment as she's driven her chip stack up past the 4,000,000 mark (the approximate average for the final table) and is using her position well. On her direct right is the second-largest stack of the tournament, Kyle Julius with 3,800,000, and Martin Jacobson, who is a little shorter on 1,780,000.
Jacobson, who has dropped a million since the players returned from dinner, has passed chips onto both players on his right; bluffing an ace on the river which had given Julius top pair, and a folded button raise into Liu, who had come over the top from 125,000 to 280,000. (although he did recover some by three-betting Ruben Visser successfully pre-flop).
Liu doesn't seem to be the kind of player to blow up so it's going to take some grim situations to keep her from making her second EPT final table.