Chen-An Lin & Yaxi Zhu playing their first Red Dragon as Team PokerStars Pros
The first few days of any Red Dragon at PokerStars LIVE Macau is a like a giant reunion.
Hundreds of poker players from around the world under one roof, catching up and getting ready to share in the experience of playing one of the region's favourite poker tournaments.
China's Yaxi Zhu and Taiwan's Chen-An Lin are two familiar faces of poker in Macau. Both have posted big results in the past and both are in attendance at this week's 23rd edition of the Macau Poker Cup.
This time around something is different for Zhu and Lin, however.
And the almost 1,000 players partaking in the Red Dragon are starting to notice.
After all, this is the first outing as members of Team PokerStars Pros for two up and coming faces of the Asian poker scene. Their confidence must be at an all-time high and that should have their opponents scared to face them at the felt. Ultimately, however, all the players at PokerStars LIVE Macau seem excited that they have two new professionals representing poker in what is still an ever-growing region.
Lin is certainly excited to help poker grow in Asia and especially in Taiwan.
"The best thing about getting this opportunity as a Team PokerStars Pro is the chance to represent Taiwan," Lin told us during a break at the Red Dragon. "I think a lot of poker players in Asia dream about being able to help poker grow in their region and I get to live that dream of representing Taiwanese poker.
Zhu is also excited at the prospect of helping poker become as big as possible in Asia and is already thinking about how she is going to make an impact.
"Poker in China is different to anywhere in the world," Zhu said. "If you are promoting poker in Europe or the United States or Australia, it's already a very mature market. In China, it's just in the baby stage."
"I think you have to be creative in the ways you try to attract new players. You have to take into account the difference between players who don't know anything about poker and those that know at least a little bit."
Lin has already seen huge growth in poker in his home country and doesn't really see a limit to how much bigger it could get.
"There is no limit to how big poker could grow in Taiwan, but right now it is gaining a lot of momentum and growing every day," Lin said. "You can see the growth of poker everywhere. Even when you walk around the city people are playing poker at night markets and everywhere. It's great to see."
No doubt poker in Asia has grown in recent years with much of that seen right here in the Macau Poker Cup which has hosted some of the biggest fields in the world. Zhu is relishing in the chance to play the Red Dragon and considers it one of the most important events in this region.
"The Red Dragon is very popular in China. I actually think players in China revere the Red Dragon more than even the APPT and ACOP. The buy-in is just a great amount for this market. And no doubt the reputation of the Red Dragon has grown with players like Celina Lin winning two titles and some other Chinese players doing really well."
Lin and Zhu will certainly be hoping to continue to make a name for themselves at the tables with some results during this current Macau Poker Cup and more in the future. But what's clearly more important to them is the continued strength and growth of poker In Asia.
You can be sure poker is in safe hands with Lin and Zhu joining an already impressive roster of Team PokerStars Pro in this region.
The Macau Poker Cup 23 runs until September 13 and live updates of the event can be found on the Red Dragon page here at the PokerStarsBlog.