Interview: Korea’s rising star Jae Wook Shin

Emerging into the live Asian poker circuit roughly around two years ago, it took Korea’s Jae Wook Shin a year to get his bearings until he started posting some consistent cashes at various live events. This year, he has already won two trophies and boasts of much more to come. At the Poker King Cup National event, Shin sat down with Somuchpoker for a quick chat about his chosen life on the felt.

Jae Wook Shin
Korea’s rising star Jae Wook Shin

SMP: Hi Jae Wook, thank you for taking the time to sit with us. When did you start playing poker and when did you decide to make living out of it?
Shin: I started playing Hold’em poker six years ago. I joined an online Korean poker site where they offered both play money and real money games. Then around four years ago, I started playing in PokerStars, both the cash games and the tournaments. A year after, I started playing more seriously, focusing mainly on tournaments.

SMP: Why did you make the switch from cash games to tournaments?
Shin: Honestly, online cash game is way more boring compared to online tournaments. Even if I play longer sessions in the online tournaments, it is much more exciting making the final table than winning big money in the online cash games.

SMP: We’ve noticed that you are playing significantly less online now and more on live tournaments. When and why did you make the transition?
Shin: Around two years ago, some friends and I created a small online group with the goal of studying tournament poker and exchange ideas to improve our game. From there I met Sim Jae Kyung aka Simba. He encouraged me to start playing live tournaments because he noticed I was doing well online and felt I would do well live. So I first tried playing live at the APT on September of 2014. I didn’t do well but that’s when I started playing live tournaments.

SMP: How does being in Team Korea help you as a poker player?
Shin: Being part of Team Korea is helpful because we travel as a group. It helps me a lot mentally, especially when I reach the final table, it feels good having the support. Traveling with Simba and SJ Kim really helped my game.

SMP: What are your poker goals?
Shin: I would like to win a WSOP bracelet so I am thinking of going next year. I want to be the first Korean player to win a bracelet. (chuckles)

SMP: Who do you find to be the most talented or impressive poker player in the Asian circuit?
Shin: I think among the Korean players, SJ Kim, and in Asia, Raiden Kan.

SMP: One last question, what is your biggest win online and live?
Shin: For online, my biggest was around $33K but I’ve also won many small five-figure tournaments. I’m more of a tournament grinder. My first big live score was just last month at the Metro Card Club’s 3M Guaranteed Summer Event where I won my first-ever trophy and a payout of PhP295,000. After that, I won the APT Opening Event, but just wait because I feel confident that a big championship win is coming my way. (laughs)

Metro Card Club Victory
Metro Card Club’s 3M Guaranteed Summer Event

Translated into English by Joe Kim

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Louis Hartwell

Graduated in Media Communication at the University of Lausanne, Louis Hartman is a co-founder of He began his career in Cambodia as freelance journalist. In same time he was making his living by playing poker every night at that time. Intense learner, he read dozens of poker strategy books to improve his skills during many years. With a strong interest about poker "behind the scene" in Asia and his communication skills, Louis launched Somuchpoker in 2014.

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