Poker Player Spotlight: Maria Ho
- Maria Ho is a US professional poker player who was born in Taipei, Taiwan.
- She is a professional poker player, TV host, and commentator.
- Her live poker tournament winnings have exceeded $4 million ($5m according to wikipedia).
What makes Maria Ho a successful poker player?
The Taiwanese American female poker player is one of the most popular female poker players in the world and continues to be an inspiration and role model for many female poker players.
The following article turns the spotlight on female poker pro Maria Ho. Keep reading to find out more.
Who Exactly is Maria Ho?
Born on March 6, 1983, in Taipei, Taiwan but she grew up in the United States. Maria Ho made a name for herself as a professional poker player, TV host and ace commentator. A Women in Poker Hall of Fame inductee, she is among the world’s top-ranked female poker pros. Her total live tournament earnings have exceeded $4 million ($5 million).
She has achieved 75 World Series of Poker (WSOP) cashes, 12 World Poker Tour (WPT) cashes, six WSOP final tables, three WPT final tables. She has had a total of 156 cashes playing poker.
Ho has also appeared on several TV shows, including Deal or No Deal, The Amazing Race and Hollywood Week.
Ho’s Poker Earnings
Ho is also a popular poker personality as she has over 6400 followers on Twitch.
Her player profile on the WSOP website says she has $1,959,554 in total WSOP earnings and $1,010,914 in WPT earnings.
Life As A Poker Player
When Ho was four years old, she and her family moved to the United States. She has an older sister, Judy Ho, a psychologist and media personality who hosts Face The Truth, a CBS talk show.
Attracted to the competitive spirit and psychology of poker, she started playing poker with her friends in college. Later, she started visiting the neighboring Indian tribal casinos to play low-stakes cash games.
By the time she graduated with a minor in law and a major in communications from the University of California in San Diego, Ho had started playing high-stakes cash games and built a sizable bankroll.
Since her bankroll was already plump, she decided she wanted to become a professional poker player.
WSOP and WPT Achievements
Ho’s first major WSOP success came in 2007 when she emerged as the last woman standing in the WSOP championship event. She won a prize of $237,865 and ranked 38th among 6,358 players.
She repeated the feat in 2011, reaching the 27th rank and emerging as the last woman standing in the main event of WSOP Europe. In 2014, she ranked 77th among 6,683 players, and in 2017, she finished sixth at the final table. These achievements make Ho the only female poker player to hold the title of Last Woman Standing four times at WSOPE and WSOP main events.
The biggest cash prize she won in her career is $540,020. She won it at the $5k NL Texas Hold’em event at WSOP 2011. This amount is the largest to be won by a female poker player at a WSOP event.
She was the female poker player that cashed out the most during 2012 WSOP, having finished in the cash six times. She beat this record at the 2014 WSOP by finishing in the cash eight times.
In March 2019, she reached the final table of the LA Poker Classic $25k High Roller Tournament for the second year. Finishing first, she won the second biggest live poker tournament prize of her career, $276,690.
The next month, she participated in the six-handed WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Main Event and finished third, winning $344,960, the second biggest live poker tournament prize of her career.
Ho’s WSOP success is very motivating to other female poker players as they look up to her for inspiration. Here are a few more of her achievements:
- Finished 10th at the WPT Bellagio Cup
- Finished 6th at a WSOP circuit event in South Africa
- Finished second at the $10k buy-in 8-Game tournament at the Aussie Millions
When the World Team Poker (WTP) launched in 2010 as a global team-based poker league, they invited Maria Ho to play as a representative of China. Ho accepted the invitation and helped China to become the first country to win the WTP.
TV Host and Commentator
Here is a list of Maria Ho’s contributions as a commentator:
- In 2011, she became the celebrity spokesperson for WinStar World Casino.
- In 2013, she joined the broadcast team of the ninth season of the Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) as a strategic commentator and co-host, making her the first female poker pro to hold such a role.
- In 2015, she became the commentator and co-host of the new poker series The Final Table on CBS Sports.
- In 2017, she became a commentator and host on Amazon eSports for its Mobile Masters series.
- She hosted the Battle of Malta, an annual NL Hold’em event in Malta founded by PokerListings.com in 2012 and run by Casino Malta.
- She was a break desk commentator of the WSOP Main Event for ESPN from 2017 to 2021.
- She is also a break desk commentator of events like High Roller Triple Crown, Super High Roller Bowl, US Poker Open, and the WSOP for PokerGo.
- She is the winner of the Broadcaster of the Year 2019 Global Poker Award.
In addition to being a host and commentator for several events, Maria Ho shares her valuable experiences, success tips and winning strategies through contributions to several magazines.
Some of her contributions includes a chapter to the Seaside Publishing book Winning Women of Poker: Secret Strategies Revealed, edited by Joyce LaFray and Chris Cosenza
Ho has also participated in many invitational gaming events in several countries. She went to Hong Kong in 2008 to participate in the World Mahjong Tour along with many professional Mahjong players and celebrities from Taiwan and China.
In 2016, she became one of the 12 team managers for the inaugural season of the Global Poker League (GPL). As a team manager, she coached her team L.A Sunset which included Aaron Paul, an Emmy award-winning actor and star of Breaking Bad.
Here is a list of Ho’s achievements as a television host, commentator, and broadcaster:
- In 2001, she participated in the 15th season of The Amazing Race, the Emmy award-winning CBS reality show.
- In 2002, she reached the Hollywood Week rounds of the third season of American Idol.
- In 2005, she appeared as a surprise guest on Deal or No Deal.
- In 2003, she was one of the panelists on Anderson Cooper 360°, the CNN chat show. The same year, she was the WPT’s featured Ones to Watch player for seasons nine and ten.
- In 2019, she was a guest on Deal or No Deal and Stock Draft on CNBC.
- She has been continuously delivering commentaries on CBS Sports, NBC Sports, FOX Sports, and ESPN.
Some of Her Awards
- Broadcaster of the Year Global Poker Award in 2019
- Nominated for the Broadcaster of the Year Global Poker Award in 2020
- Women in Poker Hall of Fame Inductee in 2018
- Nominated for the title of Favorite Female Poker Player by Bluff Reader’s Choice Awards thrice
- Named WPT’s Ones to Watch on the ninth and tenth seasons
The Woman Behind The Poker Player
Maria Ho has a pretty busy life playing in poker tournaments, hosting poker shows and series, delivering commentaries for poker events and appearing at red carpet events. However, she does have a life outside of poker.
Maria Ho loves to sing and is quite good at it. She performs in many musical gigs mostly in Los Angeles, California and occasionally outside of Cali. Ho also gives a lot of importance to philanthropy and charitable events. She spends a lot of time participating in charity-related activities. For example, she has been hosting NASCAR’s annual children’s hospital charity event for the last eight years.
In addition to playing poker, hosting, delivering commentaries, travelling, and working for charitable causes, she works in her family real estate business in Los Angeles. When she wants to play a game that is not poker related, she likes to have some fun playing Mahjong.
If you are looking to get to know Maria Ho better, we suggest you connect with her on social media and she is very active on Twitch, Twitter and Instagram. She also has a YouTube channel with 4.4k subscribers. Go ahead and give Maria Ho a follow on any one of these social media channels today!