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From StarCraft to the Asian Poker Scene: A conversation with Lim Yo-hwan, aka boxeR

Lim Yo-hwan is widely considered to be one of the most successful StarCraft players. He played professionally at the highest level until 2010, when he decided to retire.

Since then, he has transitioned to poker, and he is now playing professionally on the Asian Live Poker circuit.

Boxer – Photo APT

Somuchpoker: You have been a famous StarCraft player, but now you are focusing your energy on poker. How were you introduced to the game of poker?

I started to play poker 6 years ago. My mentor in this transition was “Zerglee”, who started to play poker 11 or 12 years ago. He taught me about the game.

SMP: When and why did you make the decision to transition from StarCraft to poker?

Lim Yo-Hwan: Playing StarCraft competitively is demanding from a physiological standpoint. I was getting older, and I felt that my body wouldn’t be able to handle the long hours that are required to play Starcraft. I didn’t have anymore strength and energy for that.
My mentor told me that poker is like sport, but it is only a mind game and is less demanding on the body.

SMP: In your opinion, what are the similarities between real-time strategy games like StarCraft and poker?

Lim Yo-Hwan: I think that both games are very different. Starcraft involves very little luck, but poker requires quite a bit of luck.
When you play Starcraft, it’s 1 vs 1 alone in front of your computer. With poker, you can play live, so you get to see and meet the people you’re playing against. When you are at a table, you also play against several people simultaneously. Overall, I feel that they’re two very different games.

SMP: What skills did you develop playing Starcraft that have helped you to succeed at poker?

Lim Yo-Hwan: My ability to concentrate during a long period of time helps me for sure. Sitting for a very long time is also not a problem for me. Patience is also a strength that I developed while playing Starcraft that is also very useful for my poker game.

SMP: You are not the only one who has made this transition. A lot of top professional video game players have done the same (Elky, etc.). How can you explain that?

Lim Yo-Hwan: When I had the chance to play StarCraft 10 years ago, it was the Golden Age of E-sports. When I decided to make the transition to poker, poker was entering its own Golden Age. I think a lot of players followed the same thought process.

SMP: When you were playing videogames at a competitive level, you spent a lot of time and energy in training and preparation. What about poker now? How do you work on your game?

Lim Yo-Hwan: Right now I have a family, and I am involved in many activities, which doesn’t give me all the time that I want to work on my poker game. When I am in Korea, I play online poker, and I play a lot of table simultaneously. It’s a good training.

SMP: You have collected nearly $200,000 in live earnings on the Asian Poker Circuit. What are you goals now as a player?

Lim Yo-Hwan: My goal is a Main Event trophy. I think that if I succeed at that, with my name, I’ll be able to give more visibility to the game in Korea. Koreans still cannot play poker tournaments in their own country ( Korean cannot enter in casinos). I want to push to change this situation.

Interview by Trần Đức Hùng

A few hours after the interview Boxer took down the WeLoveSport Deep Stack Turbo event !


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