Xuan Liu's $50,000 Cross-County Challenge to Every Canadian Province & Territory
Xuan Liu, a Canadian poker pro based in Toronto, works with Poker Power, A5 Labs, and WPT Global, the last of which recently set her a challenge to play poker in every province and territory of her home country.
The challenge took her from St John's Newfoundland on the east coast to Vancouver on the West and deep into the interior to Nunavut in the north. On her tour of the ten provinces and three territories of Canada, Liu started with US$1,000 (coming to a little over thirteen hundred loonies) live and US$1,000 online. From this bankroll, she had to pay her way across the Great White North!
If she completed the challenge, WPT Global was willing to give her $50,000 for her and a $12,500 WPT World Championship Main Event package for her to raffle off to her Canadian followers.
With the dust settling on her adventure, PokerNews sat down with Liu to talk about her adventure.
Q&A w/ Xuan Liu
PokerNews: What inspired you to take on this challenge?
Xuan Liu: Honestly, its been kind of a weird year for me. I stopped playing poker regularly for a while, but as I started playing more on stream, a ton of opportunities fell into my lap.
I played a lot of high-stakes poker, was stressed out a lot, and had the biggest downswing of my life. So I wanted to take some time away from the environment where I was being pulled in a bunch of directions at once. Just to find some space to be by myself and reconnect with the core reasons why I got into the game in the first placebecause its fun.
I thought, what better way to do that than to reconnect with the country that gave me all these opportunities in the first place? Not only that, but because its so hard to set monetary goals playing poker I wanted to do something else that was both memorable and quantifiable. Being the first person to play poker in all thirteen provinces and territories is something I will always have to tell my grandkids about.
Now that you can look back on the completed challenge, what was the experience like?
Without spoiling the ending, it was a blast! But also incredibly difficult at times. Even though I was alone for most of the trip, I had almost no time to myself.
Getting to thirteen provinces and territories in under a month, all on a modest bankroll took a lot of mental and physical energy. When I wasnt planning which flight to take, what hotel to stay at, or where my next game was going to be, I was either vlogging, sleeping, or playing poker!
Id probably never been so resourceful in my life, but it felt like there werent enough hours in a day.
I saw your live roll was depleted part way through the challenge, what was coming so close to failure?
Luckily, WPT Global gave me a roll to play with online as well. So, even when my live roll was depleted I was able to play small-stakes cash games online to rebuild. I had a pretty good Sunday that got be back into live games.
I also reached out to a few casinos in Calgary right around the time I was struggling hard, and Deerfoot Casino and Inn was kind enough to let me stay at their hotel for free.
What were the poker highlights of the tour for you?
At the first stop Niagra Falls, I went from being down more than a buy-inwhich was about a third of my live rollto winning finally earning about $250 per hour. That was a nice plot twist to start things off.
I wont reveal too much about what happened in Whitehorse, but that was a highlight as well. You'll have to watch my vlogs to find out what hapened there!
What about the non-poker highlights?
Well, I definitely applaud myself for strategizing to build a cushy roll from my first stop. In Niagra Falls I could just stay at home and freeload my expenses without any pressure.
Once I was on the road there were just so many variables I couldnt control. Ive only released one video so far, but there's a lot of drama to look forward to down the lineseeing the Northern Lights was a bucket list item of mine, and being above the Arctic Circle was a surreal experience.
The WPT gave you a $12,500 package to the WPT World Championship to raffle off, how did that go?
We just did the raffle last Thursday November 30. There was a hiccup and we had to redraw. But serendipitously the same name was drawn twice!
I was really happy to give back to the exclusively Canadian audience.
And what's the next challenge on your plate?
The entire Canadian challenge was really tough. I was on the road for 25 days and only felt like I had a solid grasp of the situation like five of them.