Chen An Lin is a highly recognized Asian poker professional from Taiwan. He began mounting numerous deep runs in 2015, mostly in Macau. He earned his first six-figures in 2016 at the EPT Monte Carlo High Roller event, then when 2018 rolled in, his live tournament career boomed. He finished 8th at the Aussie Millions Main Event in January and proceeded to win the Macau Millions Main Event in April. These achievements helped catapult him to 5th rank in The Hendon Mob All Time Money List for Taiwan. At the recently concluded J88Poker Tour 2019 in Taiwan, we were able to sit down with Chen An for a brief interview.
Interview by Tricia David translated by J88PT Amy Zhang
SMP: You are from Taiwan but you had to compete most of the time abroad where you were quite successful. You won the Macau Millions last year. With poker growing rapidly in Taiwan, how does it feel being able to attend events in your home country?
Chen An Lin: In the past few years the buy-ins were very low. Now with the arrival of J88Poker Tour and APT, these international brands hosting events in Taiwan, the buy-ins are much higher. It attracts more foreign players because the prize pools are larger. So it is great. Also, international players enjoy the food and entertainment in Taiwan. They only have a good experience. So with the poker industry much better than before, it is still only the beginning. Just the start of something even greater.
SMP: Last year you won the Macau Millions Main Event. It was your biggest live score. What did this victory represent for you and how does it affect your future goals?
Chen An Lin: Before I won, I already had previous side event wins. But this was the first time I won a Main Event. I always wanted to win a championship event and I finally did it but it took five years. So it is really a milestone for me in my poker career. After winning, I felt much more confident about myself and my game. As a poker player, you can win small games here and there, but winning a big one, the Main Event, my confidence level was much higher. I feel I can accomplish more.
SMP: Absolutely. Winning a major tournament, especially the Macau Millions is a life-changer. With your achievements, you are now ranked 5th in the Hendon Mob All Time Money List with over 1 Million in earnings. How would you explain the emergence of these talents coming from Taiwan such as yourself, Pete Chen, Kitty Kuo?
Chen An Lin: All professional poker players from Taiwan wish to make poker a great sport in the country and it be recognized in the world. To be a poker player in Taiwan is actually not a great job for the mass population. Let’s say a player wants to find a girlfriend, they would have difficulty introducing themselves. The parents would be surprised and not take them seriously. But with more and more players joining and helping grow the industry in Taiwan, there will be more awareness and eventually they will realize that poker is a job. It is not something illegal. It is a legitimate job and a hard job. It is a competition. I invited celebrities from Taiwan to attend the opening event of the J88Poker Tour and they enjoyed. Even asking me to help them improve their game. The more people join, the more the game is viewed as something brighter.
SMP: Are you a dedicated tournament player or do you also indulge in cash games?
Chen An Lin: From 2011 to 2015, I stayed in Macau and I focused on cash games and my results were good. But the reason I also enjoy playing tournaments is because if I win, I will be written about in the media and it will improve my reputation in the industry. This is why I play both. There are so many online poker sites and online cash game sites, I’ve played so many in the past. And I also play home games. I still play online cash games. I actually don’t think I’m a very good tournament player. Last year, Pete Chen coached me in tournament play. After that I’ve done well. So now I can say that I am now a professional tournament poker player. If you are a good cash game player then you switch to play tournaments, it is easy but not the other way around.
SMP: Talking about your tournament career, you were previously signed with PokerStars. Now you are signed with J88Poker as one of their ambassadors. How did this opportunity present itself to you?
Chen An Lin: Yes I was signed with PokerStars before and it was a good company, the biggest online brand in the world. By signing with them, as one of their Team Pros, it helped build my portfolio / resume. But there were restrictions as compared to J88Poker. Even if J88Poker is just a small company at the moment, a new company, I can offer my expertise and advice. For example, I suggested to J88Poker to kick off their live events in Taiwan. I brought J88Poker and CTP Club together for the first event to happen. Also, I plan to start my own YouTube poker channel which J88 supports. The brand is more relaxed on what I am able to do as a Team Pro.
SMP: Okay one last question. You’ve been to the WSOP and went deep in several events. Do you have intentions of returning this year? If yes, what events will you play?
Chen An Lin: Yes I will go to the WSOP. I will play all the events but not the high roller events. I will play the 10K and below. No mixed games. I will be in Vegas for about fifty days. I’ll be there from May 25 until the Main Event finishes.
SMP: Great! Good luck to you there! Thank you for taking the time to chat with us.