Interview: Celina Lin looking for a first title in Philippines

ByKomishAirms
City of Dreams Manila, Philippines

The Dragon Lady of the Asian poker circuit is in Manila for the ninth time, but more than setting her eyes on the Main Event title, Celina Lin is here to add to her already illustrious six year run and quite possibly make The Land of the Morning her personal playground. Monitoring her first moments in Level 2—when she made her quiet entrance into the competition— somuchpoker.com saw her double up by calling a preflop raise from the Button and eventually going all in on the flop to reveal that she flopped a set of deuces against the nut flush draw and her set held to give her an early hefty stack. During the break, somuchpoker.com had the good fortune of catching up with the Asia Player of the Year (APOY) rankings and Celina was her usual candid self all throughout.

You finished tenth in the ACOP Platinium Series 10 Main Event a few weeks back and made 30 Final Tables in APOY events, extending you all-time lead in that category. Your thoughts on that?

It made me feel better finishing fifth in the Pot Limit Omaha Final Table (laughs). Hopefully no one is really close and no one will ever catch that. I treat every event the same way whether it be a $300 side event or a $10k Main Event. That’s who I am, I have that kind of passion for the game.

You arrived in Manila today. Besides having the goal of winning the Main Event what are your other goals here this week?

To be honest, I was really excited coming down to see the new poker room here. It’s my first time here since it opened and from what I can see is that it’s an amazing room to be playing in. It’s one of the best places I’ve gone. City of Dreams is one of the best.

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Celina Lin made 30 Final Tables in APOY events

You’ve been around the circuit for many years now, but what keeps you motivated to continue on in this field?

I really love the game and as I said earlier, I treat every event the same way. There are times that you do lose a little bit of the passion for the game—depending on how you’ve been running, actually, and that’s happened in some point of my career. But for me, it’s just about having a career that you have the love and passion for. I wake up everyday wanting to still play and having the chance to turn a hobby into a career path is a genuine joy.

Was there any point in your career when you said to yourself, “I’m done with poker”?

No. Someone once asked me once, “do you see yourself playing forever?” and I said, yes, I do. One day I’d be this 80-year-old Asian lady at the table who you’d think is at the table not knowing anything but then I’d still be three-betting everyone’s asses (laughs)…

When you’re not playing, what’s your daily routine? Do you work out? What is your diet like?

I’m actually really healthy. I usually eat about six meals a day, but small portion meals. It’s mainly concentrated on vegetables, protein—I use Chia seeds. I do a lot of Pilates, I go for hikes at the mountain near where I live, so I really live a normal person’s life. But I also have online hours that I have to put in as well, (like) multi-table tournaments and I’ve actually been doing a lot of “twitch” (www.twitch.tv) and I’ve been doing that for about a month and half. Everybody’s support has been simply amazing. I think at the highest point, I had about 1,700 viewers for one of my first streams. I just made me realize that there are lot of people out there that are just as passionate about the game as I am and I’m just always happy to come out and say “hi”.

There’s no Ladies’ Event here in the APPT. Do you think there should be one? 

I always enjoy Ladies’ Events but to be honest, I’ve never cashed in a Ladies’ Event live. I just can’t play against them. I don’t know how. It’s really different. My mentality is I know how to play against male players, but against female (players I have) no idea. But I actually gained a little confidence in Ladies’ Events because about a month ago, I actually won the Women’s Sunday on Pokerstars so I'm thinking ‘OK, maybe I am good against ladies’ but who knows? Those could actually be guys playing there as well (laughs). 

There’s a saying that women are natural lie detectors. When you’re in a table with more than one woman in there, are you more on guard?

I always enjoy Ladies’ Events but to be honest, I’ve never cashed in a Ladies’ Event live. I just can’t play against them. I don’t know how. It’s really different. My mentality is I know how to play against male players, but against female (players I have) no idea. But I actually gained a little confidence in Ladies’ Events because about a month ago, I actually won the Women’s Sunday on Pokerstars so I'm thinking ‘OK, maybe I am good against ladies’ but who knows? Those could actually be guys playing there as well (laughs).

If you were to choose the best women players in the world in your Final Six to play against, who would they be?

Are you kidding me? I’ll pick the worst players in the world to be with me (laughs). But in all honesty, I’d pick Jennifer Harman—I’ve always been a fan of hers, Vanessa Selbst. I’ve also always been a big fan of Annette (Obrestad), I love Vicky Coren—I love everything about her, her personality is just great and also Liv Boree. I was actually busted out of the EPT London Main Event by Vicky.

 Everybody looks at you as the Poker Ambassadress of Asia. How do you feel about that?

I actually feel that I’ve had a certain influence to bring more females into the game, and I think that’s me doing my job right. I feel that the ladies should not be so shy. They should get out there, and I’ve just proved that I can play a man’s game and do it just as well.

What is your best poker moment? 

My second Red Dragon win, because winning it for the first time people say you got lucky. Winning it for the second time is proof that you can really do it (it was no fluke). The money (approx US$110,000) is good but sometimes it’s all about the trophy—having to be able to carry that home is a really, really good feeling.

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