Many poker fans know Celina Lin as a Team PokerStars Pro. She has a solid reputation in the Asia-Pacific region of the world as a skilled poker player, though she is also regarded as a kind and respectful person in the poker community.
Born in Shanghai, China, Celina spent a good portion of her youth in Australia, including attending Melbourne University. And it was in that city, at the Crown Casino, that she first played poker in 2004 at the urging of friends. Her first time on the felt was also her first winning session, which led her to online poker where she built a five-figure bankroll in a matter of weeks.
While Lin has numerous live and online poker scores to her credit, she is probably best known for her record-setting accomplishment of winning two Red Dragon titles. Her continually impressive performances at the PokerStars Macau Poker Cup are only highlighted by her 2009 and 2012 Main Event victories.
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Her standing as a representative of the Asian poker community led Alex Dreyfus to ask her to participate in the Global Poker League as a team manager. Considering she lives in Hong Kong, her team is the Hong Kong Stars, and she was excited to take on the new role.
Lin’s choices for team members on GPL Draft Day were all from the Asian region, but many viewers wondered about her strategy of picking names that were not as familiar as others. But Lin has the utmost confidence in her team, which now includes WeiYi Zhang, Raiden Kan, Dong Guo, and Bryan Huang, and plans to shock the world when the GPL begins.
She told us a little about her plans for the GPL’s Hong Kong Stars.
PokerUpdate: What was your plan going into GPL Draft Day?
Celina: Going into Draft Day, my plan all along was to showcase some of the best players Asia has to offer. Being the only Asian-based city in the GPL, there’s no better way to get the emerging markets in Asia excited for the GPL and cheering us on.
PokerUpdate: Did your selection process go smoothly or did you hit a stumbling block along the way?
Celina: I knew that I wouldn’t run into any problems picking up any of my players. My players are the faces of the APPT and Macau Poker Cup circuit, so most managers would have never heard of them.
PokerUpdate: What are your team’s greatest strengths?
Celina: My team will have watched the other players in the League on EPT feature tables, will know their thought processes. My players will, therefore, be able to adapt to their style of play very easily and quickly.
PokerUpdate: Have you already chosen your wild cards? Or are you still considering options? (Any hints about your choices are welcome. Ha.)
Celina: I actually have a few options in consideration right now, and of course, still working on Jackie Chan! If a celebrity wild card doesn’t work out, I think I will look at an online heads-up or 6-max specialist.
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PokerUpdate: How do you feel about being a team manager?
Celina: My role as a Team PokerStars Pro is to be an ambassador for poker and promote the game as a sport to the mainstream. I’ve been doing that for the better part of the past decade. So when I was offered the position, I saw GPL as another platform that’s aligned with my desire to promote the game in a positive way.
PokerUpdate: What are your goals as the team’s manager?
Celina: The draft was a big part of my goal as the team’s manager, which focused on growing poker in Asia. I also wanted to find a team I felt would have good chemistry collectively and conduct themselves in a way that Asia would support and be proud of. This is going to be a solid foundation to create a team people will get behind and cheer on at the end of this season and going into the Grand Final! Yes, I planned that far. *smile*
PokerUpdate: Do you feel prepared for the GPL to begin? What are you looking forward to the most?
Celina: I know the strength of each of my team members. We are about to head into the start of the regular season on April 5. I am looking forward to the leaderboard with our names on the top week after week and people scratching their heads.
PokerUpdate: What are your hopes for the GPL?
Celina: We are all hoping to see poker in an arena similar to eSports such as League of Legends. We’d love to see poker have the same level of success with poker being recognized and treated as a mind sport!