April 10, 1965, Taipei, TW
Palo Alto California, US; Las Vegas Nev., US
$2,357,614 (Includes all tournament winnings)
As we know, poker world is full of glamorous, sexy, competitive and some professional poker beauties; and they all are identified by their own assets. Joanne Liu is uniquely well known for her flair for cards and collection of distinctive fun hats and zany outfits she wears in poker plays. Her accolade includes winning WPT Ladies Night IV and placing the highest woman in a WPT championship event. She is one among the most successful and popular women poker player around.
In 1985, Joanne moved to Illinois and spent three years there. Later she moved to Palo Alto, California. Her sister, already living in California, influenced her career in poker. While working as a software engineer with computer chips, she learnt the skills of Limit Hold’em. Meanwhile she also started to shift to No-Limit Hold’em because of her temptation to do something bigger and the increasing popularity of the game. Finally on her friend’s suggestion to become a full-time professional poker player, she resigned from her job in 2004 and decided to choose poker career.
Joanne started her poker career from the Bay 101 Casino in San Jose, California, in 1996. The same year, cashing in tournaments, she made her first final table in a major poker tournament in a 1996 World Series of Poker $3,000 limit hold’em event.
Since then she has accumulated almost one million dollars in prize money and made over 40 money finishes in several major tournaments. Recently, she made to the final table of the Five-Diamond World Poker Classic, a World Poker Tour; however, she still awaits her first WSOP bracelet.
As of 2005, Joanne, became well-recognized leading woman in the poker world; and in 2006, she played in the WPT Season 5 Ladies Night out on organizers invitation. When she made her first win on television and became the World Poker Tour champion by defeating Kelli Griggs in the heads-up final, she was well paid off with honor and appreciation by the poker world. There, she was given the nickname “Mac Truck” by the WPT’s Linda Johnson. That same year she married her beloved and fellow pro poker player Dan Alspach in a ceremony that was true to their perfectly matched flamboyant personalities. The couple, along with their two children, split their time between homes in Palo Alto and Las Vegas.
Joanne’s notable competitions include a second place behind Ted Forrest in the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Stars Event in California. This best payday at $600,000 made her the highest placed female poker player in a 2007 WPT event.
She had many other wins during 2007, including placing 35th at the pot limit hold’em teams event of the Crown Aussie Millions Championship. She finished eighth at the no limit hold’em event of the LA Poker Classic. She also placed 15th in the limit hold’em event of the World Series of Poker. Towards the end of 2007, she topped off her year with a first place win in the no limit hold’em event of the Gold Rush Poker Tournament.
In 2008, she won the Deep Stack Extravaganza at the Venetian Casino and continues to cash in regularly at almost every tournament. That same year, she placed fifth in total live tournament winnings among female players with more than $1.7 million. During her long poker career she has cashed in on 115 occasions, winning over $2,348,203 in prize money from live tournaments.
It is believed that Joanne has inherited some good gambling genes from her mother who is also a good poker player even in her 80s. She credits all her achievements to Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War.” She also dreams about conducting poker seminars and hosting tournaments in East and Southeast Asia as the game of Texas Hold’em takes hold there. For this, she finds Sun Tzu a good hope, which will assist her as an ambassador of poker to the Chinese-speaking world.