Interview: Nine questions to Raiden kan

With over $912,000 in live cashes, Raiden Kan is undoubtedly one of the rising stars of Asian poker. He sits at 4th place on Hong Kong’s all time money list, and was recently drafted to the Hong Kong Stars team in the Global Poker League. Last year he managed to win the 2015 GPI Asia Player of the Year award and this year, remains one of the highest ranked Asian players on the GPI ranking list.

Raiden Kan

1. When and how did you start playing poker?

RK: “I’ve been playing since 2007 or 2008, when poker started being played in Macau, at Grand Lisboa Casino. I can say that I am part of the first generation of Macau players.”

2. When did you make the decision to play poker for a living?

RK: “The first time I travelled to Macau and saw a poker table, I sat and played, and won for 18 days in a row. From there, I started playing full time for a living.”

3. What are your current goals as a poker player?

RK: “I am aiming to win 2 trophies per year, and hope like all players to make a big score. I am also looking to play more High Roller tournaments.”

4. In these last few months you went to both Prague, and Dublin to travel the EPT circuit (where Raiden has 13 combined cashes.) Does this mean you are going to focus more on the international circuit, and spend less time in Asia?

RK: “First, I love the good structure of EPT events and the soft field. It’s allowing me to finish way more often ITM in these events compared to what I can expect when I am playing in Asia. Last year, I started to play more tournaments outside of Asia. Most of the time EPT tournaments don’t conflict with the dates of major Asian tournaments, so in the future I should be able to keep doing both.”

5. Are you only playing live poker? What about online, and live cash tables?

RK: “I play everything. Really, everything.”

6. Why did you decide to join the Global Poker League draft?

RK: “The GPL is a great idea, and is very interesting to me! Poker is such an important part of my life. I have a great passion for poker, and am interested in every new initiative within the game. The fact that I am from Hong Kong, and there is only one Asian team, named Hong Kong Stars, also added to my interest. For all of these reasons, I didn’t want to miss the very first season.”

7. Was it a surprise for you to be drafted by Celina Lin?

RK: “I am very glad Celina has acknowledged my ability. I can’t say that I am in the top 5 players in Asia based on ability, but I can say that I am in the top 5 in terms of my passion for the game. I hope that poker will become more popular in Asia thanks to the GPL.”

8. Some poker media presented the Hong Kong Stars as the weakest team in the GPL. What would your answer to that be?

RK: “After travelling around the world to play poker, I am very sure that the Macau cash game and tournament scene is the hardest one. In Europe or USA, the  field is the field compilation is 50% older retired rich guys over 50 years old. In an Asian tournament, 90%  of the players are between 21 and 35 years of age, and so there are no easy tables. We are playing high level poker everyday that’s why I think that the Hong Kong Stars Team is underrated. I also hope that  Asian player after read this will consider try to go out of Asia more. So I don’t think this Asia team is the weakest, although our total earnings may be the lowest. Our skill level is higher than people think.”

9. Can you tell us more about your GPL team mates Dong Guo and Weiyi Zhang? Very few people outside of China seem to know them.

RK: “I don’t know Weiyi that well. I have seldom seen him around. Dong Guo is a very friendly person, but I haven’t played with him before. I hope that both will shine in the GPL.”

Cover picture: Kenneth Lim courtesy of Pokerstars


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