What is your aim for 2008?
LL- I want this to be a year of balance for me. I had a lot of change last year, including moving to London and the death of my father. I want to continue to spend time on my charitable works in Vietnam, as this has become one of the most important parts of my life. It is important for me to slow down more and enjoy all of the opportunities I am fortunate enough to have. I really look forward to exploring London, Paris, and other cities throughout Europe this year. And of course, I want to play a little poker as well.
You are a great specialist in limit hold'em, what do you like in this version of poker?
LL- When I started, limit hold'em and stud were really the two games that were played. I learned limit and moved my way up, and it has always been my specialty. I think I've become a better player at other forms of poker, but I'll always feel the best when I'm playing limit.
What are the qualities someone has to have to succeed in limit hold'em rather than in no limit?
LL- In limit, you need to be able to handle the swings without emotion. It is much more difficult to protect your made hands as you can't control the amounts of your bets. In No-Limit, you can put players to the test more with raises. Players will more often see the turn and river cards on draws, so you have to be prepared for losing pots. For most good limit players, the math is second nature. For those just starting, you need to understand when you have the odds to stay in pots and when you need to get out. Being successful in limit is about getting extra bets into the pot when you're ahead. You'll see good limit players check-raise more to get extra bets into a pot rather than to push people out of a pot.
Which player is your idol?
LL- The two players I respect the most would have to be Barry Greenstein and Patrik Antonius. Barry has always been very honest and generous to me, and his work with charities is an inspiration to us all. Patrik is just an incredible player. I know there are many who feel he is on the short list of the best players in the world, and you can include me in that group. I always learn something whenever I watch him play.
Did a player ever impress you at a poker table?
LL- All the time! The internet has produced more quality players in a shorter amount of time, so you can't simply assume that a younger player is inexperienced. When you play literally hundreds of thousands of hands in a year or play dozens of tournaments a week, you can make huge strides quickly in your knowledge of the game. We continue to see that with new stars like Annette Obrestad. I've always tried to learn as much as I can from as many players as I can.
Do you think female poker players have qualities that male poker players don't have?
LL- I think it's great that we have more and more ladies playing in tournaments and cash games, but this is really something that has happened only in the last few years. When I started playing, I was always one of the few women in the room. I do think that men play differently against women, and it leads to bad decisions on their part. At certain stakes, they will try to bully a female player more or tilt more when they lose a pot to a woman. As I learned the game, I noticed that most winning players aren't affected by what a player looks like, their gender, race or age, but if being a woman gives you an edge, then I'll take it!
You're a very beautiful woman, do you think that some men are disturbed by your beauty when they play against you?
LL- I sure hope so!
At a poker table, do you have use of your charm?
LL - I try to be friendly and courteous at the table, always treating others with the respect everyone deserves. It is important to get a feel for the table and understand the different players, what they are doing, their actions, and their mannerisms. Especially in tournaments, players often give out a great deal of information without knowing it.
Tell us about your new sponsorâ€¦ Why did you choose ChiliPoker?
LL- My partnership with ChiliPoker is really a partnership with Alex Dreyfus, Chilipoker's founder and CEO. I was looking for a place where I could be more than just a face in advertising or an image on a website. I wanted to find a site where I could be a part of the team, and my first six months with them has exceeded my expectations. ChiliPoker is wonderful, and Alex is a true partner, a man of real vision and integrity. It's great to be part of a fast-growing site, but really I wouldn't be part of it if I didn't believe in Alex.
Tell us a little bit about Fabrice Soulier...and French poker players in general.
LL- I really got to know Fabrice when we both went to Macao, and I really like him a lot. At the table, he's a real action player, and I think he really reads players very well. I think France has many great players. David Benyamine is one of the best players in the world, and Bruno Fitoussi's runner-up finish in the $50k HORSE event was a terrific performance. ElkY (Bertrand Grospellier) is also a top young player, and I've seen him at many WSOP tournaments. I'm sure I'll meet many more great French players during the EPT events as well.