PokerStars has made no secret of the fact that they want to make Asia one of their biggest targets for growth in the coming years, seeing it as the great untapped market for poker players in the world.
That strategy has largely played out in the signing of players to their Team Pro roster from Asian countries, with two more signings taking place this week.
On Wednesday, PokerStars announced the signings of Taiwanese poker pro Chen-an Lin and Chinese poker pro Yaxi Zhu, adding more depth to the poker site’s roster of Asian players.
The two players each have a slew of impressive results in tournaments throughout Asia, as well as some good results elsewhere in the world.
Of the two players, Zhu may be the one more familiar to players worldwide.
She is a former finance and business manager who took to playing in poker tournaments last year and immediately found success, which wasn’t limited just to Macau and other Asian poker hotspots.
Zhu’s first recorded poker cash was also her first recorded win: a victory in a HK$2,500 ($322) Bounty event at the 2014 Asia Championship of Poker in Macau.
However, her biggest win came late last year, when she won a €2,200 ($2,450) side event at EPT Prague, taking home €119,100 ($132,500).
Zhu’s success has translated in higher-profile events as well. Just last month, she cashed in her first European Poker Tour Main Event, finishing in 115th place at EPT Barcelona. Her overall career winnings come in at more than $252,000.
Lin may not have the same level of results around the world as Zhu, but he certainly has shown consistency in his poker career. Lin has been playing since 2009, and has racked up more than 20 cashes in Macau alone.
Lin’s biggest win came last August, when he won a HK$20,000 ($2,580) buy-in event in the Macau Poker Cup, earning HK$380,700 ($49,100) for his victory.
Lin also has two cashes on the Asia-Pacific Poker Tour, as well as two wins in small events at the Aria in Las Vegas, bringing his career winnings to more than $216,000.
According to PokerStars, the signings are the continuation of a strategy designed to help local players connect with professionals they can aspire to emulate and compete against.
“The popularity and appeal of local professional players and celebrity enthusiasts help to inspire new audiences around the world, as they seek to learn from and then play against their poker heroes,” the company said.
That inspiration is something PokerStars is particularly looking for in Asia, where poker is gaining popularity in nations like Japan, China, and India.
According to PokerStars Associate Director of Pro & Celebrity Marketing Kristy Thompson, Lin and Zhu will help to raise interest in poker in their respective countries.
“These players are highly respected in their local and national communities and will help to raise the profile of the game in their regions,” Thompson said.
Lin and Zhu are already being given a chance to wear their PokerStars patches in competition. The two players are both taking part in the Macau Poker Cup at the PokerStars LIVE poker room at the City of Dreams casino through September 13.