June 16, 2011
Figuratively speaking, United States National and World Champion boxer Christina Kwan’s gloves are on and her guard is up when she sits down at a poker table. Carrying over the mental toughness and discipline she has acquired through a brutally demanding physical sport, Christina applies many of the same lessons she’s learned from inside the boxing ring to her seat at the card table. Every hand is a new round and every round is a mental regroup.
While at the poker’s grandest and richest stage where nearly $192 million in prize money is paid out, the World Series of Poker, annually held at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Kwan reports for double duty. She is representing her own global marketing and media company, Kwan International, as she reports on gaming results and insights from the series while also taking down pots as a player.
The parallels of boxing and poker are endless. “Poker is a combination of analysis, strategy, mental assertion, and stamina. It’s everything that I’ve always had to implement in boxing. My opponents in either forum are trying to get inside my head and disrupt my thought process. I stick to my plan and I don’t let them sway me,” says Kwan.
While the demographics of poker players are vast, Kwan undoubtedly brings a new dimension to the scene. Multi-faceted and creating success for herself on multiple platforms has made her an intriguing individual. Rattling off her credentials is no short list. Aside from achieving elite champion status as a boxer, the North American born Chinese is also a leading businesswoman as she operates her own company that makes the Las Vegas Motor Speedway its home. She is an honors scholar from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). She is an entrepreneur who has a diverse gaming background. She is heavily involved in the motorsports industry as an elected board member on the Specialty Equipment Market Association’s (SEMA) Businesswomen’s Network, a motocross rider, and the driver of an 18 foot Challenger drag boat where she has built an engine that is capable of pushing 1,300 horsepower. Kwan most notably brought international awareness to the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) on ESPN while representing an 8,000 horsepower Nitro Funny Car.
A power packed resume, Kwan is the atypical representative of her involved roles. Standing 5’3” and just 100 pounds, she is confident and articulate, exuding an unforgettable presence and impression upon anyone she meets. While there are many talented players in the world of poker, Kwan brings a unique skill set to the table.
“Many have said that my discipline from boxing has helped me in poker, but there’s no doubt that the lessons from poker have helped me in boxing. Patience, every second counts and every decision counts,” says Kwan. “I’m around so many incredibly great, smart, and strong players in the game of poker. I am honored to play in the same arena as them.”
When asked if there are other boxers she would like to see in the poker world, smiling, she replied, “Sure, all of them. This is a venue where weight divisions don’t matter. More than calling any boxers out, however, there are a few promoters and matchmakers that I’d like to have the opportunity to knock out.”
While balancing a life that is full of professional endeavors, Kwan has found success in poker. Seen regularly playing tournaments including the exclusive Media Tournament at the WSOP, Kwan has made a consistent statement on her future in this game of skill. As the month and a half long series concludes on the Rio floor, Kwan is elated to have participated in the event as both a player and as a representative of the media. Look for her ending analysis of the series, including in-depth coverage of the November Nine final table, on this record breaking year for the WSOP at Kwan International.