Poker greats, aliens, and optimal dating strategies were just some of the subjects poker pro and certified smart person Liv Boeree touched on during a recent appearance on Lex Fridman’s podcast.
Boeree, a “self-confessed nerd,” holds a degree in astrophysics from England’s University of Manchester. Though she plays less poker than she used to, she remains a prominent figure thanks to her talks on game theory and physics. Her partner is poker pro and philanthropist, Igor Kurganov.
This, combined with her $3.8 million in live earnings, EPT title, and WSOP bracelet, mean she’s still a poker player at heart. Her unique background and her game-theoretic approaches to other aspects of life were the main topics of discussion when she appeared on the Lex Fridman podcast.
Boeree ranks Hellmuth among poker greats
Fridman, who is a computer scientist, artificial intelligence researcher, and podcaster, classes Boeree as a friend. With shared interests in physics, game theory, and poker, they spoke for more than three hours this week.
The YouTube video was published on Wednesday and contains a number of interesting talking points, including a hot take on who the poker players in the game are today. During his discussion with Boeree, Fridman referenced a number of poker pros, including Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth.
In the case of the latter, he even knew about Hellmuth’s proclivity for spontaneous outbursts at the table.
Boeree didn’t rank Hellmuth as the best player in history, but she did laud his ability to win consistently at the WSOP, despite the game advancing over the last two decades (see video above).
In her words, Hellmuth has found a way to keep the “magic alive” at a time when poker has become almost entirely about math. That magic, as Hellmuth would say, is the ability to read people, and Boeree believes there’s something interesting in his approach.
He might not be the greatest, but his ability to make the game “work for him” is not only impressive but worthy of further investigation, Boeree said. She believes the “magic” could be an extra layer to poker that we don’t yet understand, and Hellmuth has a way of tapping into it.
Lex and Liv intellectualize poker
The discussion then goes into some areas of poker that people don’t often talk about on mainstream podcasts. Whether or not there is an undiscovered layer to poker is almost irrelevant. What’s salient is the fact Boeree and Fridman are having an intellectual discussion about poker on a podcast with over 2 million subscribers.
This demonstrates that poker isn’t a game of pure luck, which is a topic Boeree and Fridman discuss in relation to game theory (see video above).
Beyond poker, the pair also talk about whether we live in a simulation and how Boeree is no longer a hardline atheist (see clip above). Aliens are also a hot topic of conversation (see video below), as is the best strategy for dating.
Overall, it’s an interesting conversation that goes deeper into poker and other aspects of life than a lot of popular podcasts do. You can click here to watch the full conversation.