When we think of poker broadcasts such as the European Poker Tour and the World Series of Poker, well-known names such as James Hartigan and Joe Stapleton come to mind, but in the wake of this magical duo, we have the amazing Maria Ho. Not only is she a respectable professional poker player herself, but she is also known as a leader when it comes to women in poker. Above all, she is someone who is always there for poker players in general, and she has also been called the advocate of female poker players on top of that. With nearly $5,000,000 in live poker winnings and multiple awards for her poker media work, she is continuously pushing herself to its potential.
How it all started
At the age of just four years old, Mario Ho moved from Taiwan to the United States, where she grew up in the shadow of Los Angeles in Arcadia, California. Being brought up with a strict regime of her parents, Maria and her sister were traditionally raised. Speaking several languages fluently, of which Mandarin had to be spoken at home, she grinded through her early life with a few rebellious manners. Obey and order was made very important by her parents, and the older she got, the more she was looking up the boundaries. It went so far, that she was put to an ‘all-girls catholic high school’. Which was a result of hanging out with the wrong people, and not showing any kind of improvement when it comes to schoolwork. All this was followed up by her college years, where she got her first experience with poker.
By playing home games with friends at first, she managed to evolve her poker skills to a certain level already. She absolutely loved the psychology that comes with the card game, while her competitive needs were getting what they were looking for. She had found her calling, but as her parents insisted, she had to finish her university as well. With a Major in Communications and a Minor in law, being successful was quite the understatement. During these years, she went from playing home games to somewhat more advanced games such as fixed-limit games at the local Indian casinos, while she kept on playing the home games with her friends as well at the campus. As soon as she got graduated with her degrees, she took it to a whole different level, as she entered the High Stakes games. At first, it didn’t go well, as she did not make any results at her first-ever World Series of Poker.
While her parents wouldn’t be impressed by the poker game, as it remains still a gambling game, she had to finish off her studies. Because of the gambling aspect, she didn’t mention it at first to her parents. But when the money kept on coming in from poker, she had no more excuses than to just come clean. After that it allowed her to focus on playing poker, and she became more certain of making it rain at the poker scene. After a bit more than 1 year of her professional career, she went back to the World Series of Poker, and this time she would make some nice deep runs.
Achievements in Poker
With $4,500,000 in live poker career earnings, it is to say that Maria Ho did well for herself over the years of her professional career. Despite having 177 registered tournament results with live poker, this amount fully reflects her talent for the poker game. It called kicked off in 2007 at the World Series of Poker, where she made a deep run in the Main Event, finishing 38th for $237K. That Main Event was eventually won by Jerry Yang. The official world championship of live poker was going to be the red line in her poker career, in many ways. Fast forward to the year 2011, she managed to get a runner-up result, finishing behind Allen Bari in the $5,000 NLHE event, good for $540K. You could tell she really wanted to chase a bracelet, somewhat she eventually would not accomplish later in her career either. Even though there was no bracelet for it, she won two years later her first big tournament in the $5,000 buy-in No Juice tournament, cashing $100K.
All poker players were warned about their poker skills of Maria. She was determined to follow her dreams in poker and become one of the best in the world. After loads of amounts of cashes all around the world, of which a 6th place at WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star ($179K), and another 6th place during the WSOP Europe Main Event ($202K), she would have her best year in terms of results in 2019. Not only did she win the $25K Commerce High Roller for $276K, but roughly one month later she would strike again by becoming 3rd at the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown for $345K.
With a grand total of eight final tables at the World Series of Poker and the highest rank of place 22 during the Online WSOP Main Event (Pandemic era), she is still on the hunt for that one thing she really wants to have in the likes of a bracelet. At the WPT however, she has got already one title behind her name, and a total of four final tables.
Currently, Maria Ho is one of the top-ranked female poker players in the world, and one of the few Women in the Poker Hall of Fame. She made numerous of TV-appearances as a poker player, for example, in Poker After Dark. She also got the title of ‘last woman standing’ in the World Series of Poker Main Event in 2007, 2011, and 2014. She was team captain of the ‘LA Sunset’ team during the Global Poker League, which eventually landed in the semi-finals.
It's not all just about playing poker
Mario Ho is most definitely not only known for her great poker skills, but is also a very respectable tv-host and commentator for many great events such as the World Series of Poker, Super High Roller Bowl, European Poker Tour, Heartland Poker Tour, PokerStars online coverage, and Poker Night: The Tour. All these are either to be watched on the internet, or through TV channels such as NBC Sports, CPS Sports, and ESPN. Often, however, it is not her primary intention to join the commentary booth alongside James Hartigan and Joe Stapleton, as she plays those events herself. But whenever she busts out of the tournament or has spare time to join them, she will and most certainly it is very entertaining to watch. Not to be forgotten, she won the Global Poker Award for Broadcaster of the Year in 2019.
She also took part in a show called ‘Amazing Race’, ‘Anderson Cooper 360’, and ‘American Idol’. It shows Maria is really living her dream by continuously being involved in poker. On and off the tables. Even in her private life, she is in a relationship with German superstar Rainer Kempe.
Why do we think she deserves a spot in our Women in Poker Series?
- Maria Ho is already around for more than a decade in the poker industry. And with her continuous effort in raising awareness for poker, she is a true asset to the community.
- With close to $5M in live career earnings, she is one of the top 5 ranked poker women in the world. As she is still playing numerous events, this won’t change in the near future.
- By helping out women in poker, raising awareness for this subject, and being an ‘advocate’ for women in poker, she is showing a true dedication to trying to make a better world out of it.
- Her TV-Host and commentary career is to be called respectable. The amount of time and effort she puts in to accomplish even off the poker table can only be called electric.
- Not only did she accomplish a professional poker career, but she also got awarded numerous times for her dedication to growing poker communities. Which until this very day, is what the world of poker needs.
Women in Poker
As earlier mentioned, she is a true warrior when it comes to supporting women in poker. Raising awareness for somewhat which is still a topic in today’s daily life, is only to be appreciated. Besides that, she is a real example for any female poker player, if not all poker players out there. Traveling all over the world for playing poker is one thing, but then to be over the world wide world with her tv performances, that’s another level. We are confident enough to say that Maria Ho is one of the main personalities in female poker history, and she has just started to hunt for big victories in live poker, so sure we will see her around more often when we go through recent results.
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