There was something a little different about Celina Lin as she took her seat at this year’s Aussie Millions.
Returning to the Crown Casino felt that kick-started her original passion for the game, Lin looked more focused than ever. Perhaps it was her newly-wed glow. Maybe it was being back among her Melbourne-based family who she had left upon pursuing opportunities in the Asian poker market. Or perhaps it was the fact that, as well as being a Team PokerStars Pro, Lin was representing as an official ambassador of the Aussie Millions.
After a mighty run in the Main Event, Lin found herself through to the final four tables, sharing some table time with two of the most iconic players in the game – Phil Ivey and Patrik Antonius – seated to her direct right. “I don’t really get intimidated by players at the table, but at the same time, Phil and Patrik add another level of caution in your decision making,” Lin reflected. “I stayed focused and played my game. Overall, it was enjoyable, and I had a great time chatting with them about the high stakes cash games in Macau.”
Although starting out Day 4 as a short stack and having to contend with Ivey and Antonius, Lin managed to double her stack a couple of times to be in with a fighting chance at the title. You will never see her limping through pay jumps. It’s the steely focus on the top prize that breeds champions. “I never had a big stack, so my options were more limited. I just looked for places where I could pick up chips or good situations to double up. I don’t think it’s a specific strategy for that day, but I definitely wasn’t prepared to bleed chips by just calling and then folding.”
Lin may have fallen short of a final table appearance, collecting $40,000 for her 24th place finish, but the women of Macau were still represented as the TV cameras rolled. Hong Kong-based Jay Tan had the biggest result of her career, ultimately falling in 7th place for a $150,000 payday, and a third regular Macau female player, Kitty Kuo, also made it deep into Day 4 before exiting in 17th place. These results speak volumes about the depth of skill lurking amongst the female Asian players, with Lin leading the way in recent years.
“I was definitely rooting for the girls all the way. Results like this are great for both women and Asian players! Hopefully, more will take part in these higher buy-in events after our results,” Lin said. “The Asian poker community has been growing so rapidly the last couple of years, but mainly following the PokerStars Macau tournaments like the Macau Poker Cup and ACOP (Asia Championship of Poker).”
Lin gladly took the opportunity to use her profile and role as ambassador to expose Asia to the experience of playing at Crown Casino. “Going deep in the Main Event this year made the experience that much better, and the Asian support during the run reminded me of the excitement I first had when I started playing poker in Crown.”
And the greatest support for Lin came from her new husband, who jumped on a last minute flight from Hong Kong to Melbourne to support her deep run. “It’s such a wonderful feeling to have someone willing to travel 10 hours just to support you for just a day or two. In some respects, it adds more pressure because you don’t want to disappoint. But the end result is positive either way. Either I keep playing and going deeper, or I bust and we get to spend time together that was totally unexpected. Clearly I wanted to win the title, but it was a really good balance of going deep and quality time.”
Lin plans to play the full Asia-Pacific circuit this year, encompassing all APPT and PokerStars Macau events, so we look forward to seeing many more deep runs in 2013.