Team Pro's Celina Lin wins unprecedented second Red Dragon in Macau
Last night, while relaxing over a piña colada at the end of a dramatic day of poker, Celina Lin was talking about sports betting.
"I can't lose," she said incredulously, describing how she had turned almost nothing into more than US $800 by betting on her friend's tips in the Euro 2012 soccer championship.
Although she confessed to knowing almost nothing about soccer, her assessment of her Midas touch also extends into a field in which she is expert. Lin is now champion of the Macau Poker Cup: Red Dragon Main Event after not being able to lose around a captivating final table at the Grand Waldo Entertainment Complex in Macau this evening.
What's more, this is Lin's second Red Dragon victory, both in Macau. The Team PokerStars Pro from China became the first woman to win one of these things in July 2009. And now she is the just the first player of either gender to win a second title.
"I always wanted to be the first female champion, but I thought it was impossible to win it twice," she said. Impossible is nothing. Lin also takes the small matter of HK $854,000 for success here. That even puts her ROI from the soccer betting to shame.
Another well-worn soccer phrase best describes the final table play: This was a game of two halves.
The first levels of play were among the most action-packed ever seen around any table in the world. Seven players were eliminated in little more than 120 minutes, almost all running into the irresistible force of Qi Ming Fan.
Lin was the only one to survive a truly sensational buffeting in those early exchanges, and her prize was a heads-up duel with her countryman Fan. But boy did this then take a slowdown. It turned into an epic. The heads up phase lasted six hours, about three times as long as the rest of the final.
Lin had a four-to-one disadvantage, then ground all the way into the lead, then lost a huge pot and was four-to-one down again, and then ground all the way back once more.
The full story is best experienced via our live updates, which are both exhaustive and exhausting. They detail how, in short order, we would lose Zhengwei Ni, then Yu Liang, then Jordan Westmorland, Daniel Sing and Richard Hu.
Chang Rak Choi would hang around a little longer, and even took the chip lead for a little while. But then a massive hand between him, Chul Woo Park and Fan swung it back in Fan's favour, and Park would be skittled soon after as well.
"We were actually joking that he (Fan) would bust everybody on the final table and then end up heads up," Lin said of a conversation with Fan she had yesterday. And so it came to pass.
During that titanic heads up encounter, Lin was actually one card away from elimination when she was out-kicked after both her and Fan had flopped top pair of kings. But she spiked a three-outer to survive that hand, and from there was unbeatable.
The final hand this evening came when Lin managed to turn two pair with a mighty six-four, and they got it all in with Fan holding a straight and a flush draw. It missed, which meant Lin had to pose with the 6♦4♠ for her winner's photo.
But she couldn't care less, and who could blame her. She also had the coveted Red Dragon in the shot. "I think it's the most prestigious trophy in China," Lin said. 'Everybody knows about the Red Dragon."
And just in case there were people who didn't know about Celina Lin, I suggest they learn. She is one awesome poker player and, at 29, has a massive career still ahead of her.
From all of us here in Macau, goodnight and thanks for reading during a terrific week of play. Congratulations Miss Lin. Long may her not-losing streak continue.
All photographs on PokerStars Blog from Macau are © Kenneth Lim Photography (//kennethlimphotography.com)