Celina Lin: Happy no Matter What

TAGs: celina lin, Lee Davy

Lee Davy sits down with the head of the Global Poker League’s Hong Kong Stars, Celina Lin, to get the lowdown on why she chose poker as a profession, the theme that continually runs through her life, and much more. What is it like to represent the largest online poker room in the world in one of their most important markets? What is life like as the head of the Global Poker League (GPL) Hong Kong Stars? Celina Lin answers those questions and much more including why she chose a career in poker, her heroes, her villains, her favourite books, and much, much more. Celina Lin: Happy no Matter WhatCheck it out. Why poker? “Poker is the first thing I have found that I wake up excited to play every day, my passion for the game is the second to none. I grew up with a very competitive nature, and poker happens to be a game where players are trying to find strategies to beat each other. Poker is a game that stays fun because it has so many variations and is always evolving.” Describe the epiphany when you realised you would want to pursue poker professionally? “For me, I always wanted to find a job where I could work my own hours and be my own boss. Poker also offers the freedom to travel the world that everyone dreams of doing, and many may never get to do.” Define your role in poker? “I’m a professional poker player, and PokerStars offered me a position as Team Pro to be an ambassador for the company and the game I love.  Being a female in a male-dominated industry means that my accomplishments inspire other women.  I started out focusing on being the best player I could be.  But having other women tell me that my success gave them the courage to compete made me realise that representing women is also a part of my role.” What is the theme running through the story of your life? “In search of happiness, as you hit different stages of your life, I think priorities changes and what makes you happy also changes. When I was younger, I felt acquiring material things made me happy; I have even bought same style items in several different colours because I couldn’t make up my mind which I liked better. As I have gotten older, I come to realise that memories, experiences and time are most important. Instead of spending your time distributed across different areas, you spend more quality time dedicated to friends and interests.” Who are the most influential people who have helped you become Celina Lin PokerStars Ambassador, and how did each of them contribute? “My family and friends are my rocks in life.  They all have amazing qualities that I admire. It keeps me grounded and gives me perspective on life while I work in a non-traditional industry.  Of course, the support I’ve received from my fans has been terrific, and their positive reinforcement keeps pushing me to work harder and perform better.” Who or what continues to be the villain in your poker career and personal life? “The villain in my poker career and personal life would probably be myself; I think that it’s easy to lose sight of your goals in this community. Money and results can dictate how you feel about yourself. Instead of feeling blessed with what you have we tend to concentrate and chase on what we are missing.” What internal struggles do you battle with? “Many people live their lives based on how others expect them to; I started off following the path of being an A+ student, getting a practical degree. Finding poker made me detour from that, and I began to live my life the way I wanted to, without worrying about how others perceive me. Now, my name comes up when my high school friends talk about if anyone is doing something interesting with their career.” What have you learned through the first half of the GPL, both personally and professionally? “I have learnt that my choices for my GPL team were the correct ones. As a manager of Hong Kong Stars, when to roster my players and against which teams can be challenging. When I am faced with such issues, I am always able to talk it through with the players on my team, and in times of need, they will put up their hands up and step in. Teamwork is an essential ingredient to our success so far in the GPL.” When did you show the most courage in life and why? “When I bungee jumped off the Macau tower. My legs were tied together, and they had a policy that they won’t push you, I had to jump off myself. I think that the idea of doing something that is against your survival instincts is pretty scary, you are definitely taking an unnecessary risk there. It was exhilarating and given the chance again; I would still jump. When I was making the leap, I thought to myself, if I could be a full-time professional poker player, without the fear of how society may view me, there isn’t much I should be afraid of doing.” Whose talent do you most envy and why? “I have always admired people who can sing; I enjoy watching people with talent that I don’t possess. I hear the way people describe music, how it just makes sense to them. To me, it is almost like problem-solving, where they have figured out something I can’t even begin to understand.” What experience made you the wisest? “Poker is a life lesson that I am still learning from every day. It has taught me so much over the years, probably much more than any other job. In poker, you have to be able to manage your emotions, time and money wisely. Otherwise, it can be a recipe for disaster.” What is the thing you are best at? “Social skills: the ability to make a good impression on people is probably what I am best at. I am always the same on and off the felt, and people find me approachable and genuine. So what I am best at happens to be the easiest thing for me!” What habits do you have that have helped build a successful life? “Money management. I think that as a poker player, you know that times have changed and will always do so, and when the going is good, you should always try to save for a rainy day.” What do you see when you look at the world? “I always used to look at the destination of my journey rather than enjoying the journey itself. I would always ask what the point is and the end goal, have certain expectations and set myself up for disappointment. I have learnt to relax and enjoy the journey each step of the way, stop and smell the flowers.” What best non-poker books have helped your poker game and why? “You can be happy no matter what by Richard Carlson” is a book I have read and always go back to every few months to remind myself how to approach happiness. Most people have certain conditions that need to be met for them to be happy, the book has taught me how to be happy regardless of the situation that you are in. It’s about how you look at things, something that is negative can become positive if you just change the way you think about it.” Describe your perfect future? “As cliché as it sounds, a two storey house, with a husband, two kids and a dog in a city with beautiful weather! Most importantly, I want to find someone that I can work towards all this together as a team, and who will accept me exactly for who I am.” If I gave you 10,000 hours to work on anything what would it be and why? “Photography. I have already started to work on it in my own time. I am passionately curious about the things I see and people I meet on my poker journeys across the globe. Photos offer me a return ticket to a moment in time that is otherwise gone; it’s the only language that is truly universal.”


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