Ace-ten against pocket sevens, blind versus blind, is a battle that is normally guaranteed to end badly for someone. And most of us would agree that head-to-head combat in a poker tournament is not the most auspicious way to start a relationship. But that is exactly what happened when Team PokerStars Pro Liv Boeree and pro player Kevin MacPhee faced each other all-in at the NAPT Bounty Shootout in Los Angeles last year. The two were seated next to each other at the table when the hand came up, and according to Kevin, “both of us massively overplayed our hands pre-flop.” They ended up all-in but Kevin eventually won it with quad aces and went on to cash in ninth place in the event. But that wasn’t the end of it for the couple though; rather it was just the beginning.
Kevin says, “I’m not sure what happened, but I must have caught her eye or something,” he says of the tournament. The next week he traveled to Barcelona and while there he visited the Gaudi Cathedral with some friends. As fate would have it, he and Liv ran into each other again along with another group of friends, and they all started hanging out together doing some sightseeing. The day was Thanksgiving, as it happened, so they all made plans to have dinner together at a restaurant and later “tore up the clubs.” After that, they started seeing each other, and traveled to Prague together a few weeks later. The relationship was then put on fast forward when they spent Christmas together in Liv’s hometown in the UK after his flights were cancelled to go back to the U.S. to his home in Idaho. “After a month of dating, we’re spending Christmas together with her folks,” Kevin observed, sounding a bit amazed at the timing of the whole “meet the parents” encounter.
And even though they live on opposite sides of the Atlantic, traveling to tournaments for PokerStars keeps them together the majority of the time. “I do miss him when we’re not together though,” says Liv, “so we try to keep that to a minimum,” although she remarks that their romance has not cancelled out their competitiveness toward each other. She claims they “still bicker about that infamous hand against each other,” but for the most part their competitive encounters these days are mostly confined to Ping Pong, Monopoly and Chinese Poker. Unless table draws make it unavoidable, they play poker together only for fun these days according to Liv. “We’ve played micro-stakes heads-up on PokerStars a few times just for fun when he was home and I was in the UK. Those were generally ridiculous though, and we were basically trying to take the most humorous line in each hand for the growing number of railbirds, as opposed to actually playing well.” But in tournaments they prefer to not be playing together, because as she puts it “Whilst it’s nice to have a friendly (and handsome!) face at the table to look at, we prefer not to be seated at the same table, as we don’t want to take each other’s chips!”
Both players commented that one of the best things about dating another poker player is the opportunity to have someone to share the ups-and-downs of the game with. “Having someone that understands you and the game, and can therefore support you through the emotional swings of the game,” is very important says Liv. “Similarly, it’s nice to have someone who can travel to most of the events with you too, and is in the same friendship group.”
The couple seem to have a relationship grounded in friendship and shared interests, and the glitz and glamour that go along with pro poker are not much of a factor. Kevin remarked that he doesn’t see Liv as “. . . that big TV PokerStar, Liv Boeree. To me, she’s just “my Liv, . . . and my best friend.” And Liv seems to be equally down-to-earth. Although this will be their first Valentine’s Day together, she says she is “. . . not particularly romantic when it comes to Valentine’s Day. As long as I spend it with him, then I’m happy.”
True romantics or not, we at PokerStars Women wish them and all of our poker playing couples a wonderful Valentine’s Day . . . and the best of luck at the tables (hopefully separate ones) if they decide to celebrate it playing poker.
For more information on Liv and other Team PokerStars Pros, along with all the latest news and promotions for PokerStars Women, see our home page. You can also check out our Facebook page for all the latest information on tournaments and qualifiers.