Maria Ho (2011)
|Residence||Arcadia, California, U.S.|
|Born||March 6, 1983 (1983-03-06) (age 35)
|World Series of Poker|
Main Event finish
|World Poker Tour|
Maria Ho (born March 6, 1983 in Taipei, Taiwan) is a Taiwanese American poker player, television personality and host. One of the top ranked female poker players in the world, her accolades include being a 3-time Bluff Reader’s Choice Awards nominee for Favorite Female Poker Player, an American Poker Awards nominee, competing as the only all-female team on the 15th season of The Amazing Race, and a 2018 inductee into the Women in Poker Hall of Fame (being inducted the first year she was eligible and nominated).
Ho has amassed over $2,900,000 in live tournament winnings, which includes 54 WSOP cashes, 4 World Series of Poker final tables (and 1 WSOP Circuit final table), 7 WPT cashes, 1 World Poker Tour final table and multiple additional final tables on the professional poker circuit.
As a television host and commentator she has been seen on shows such as the NBC Sports Super High Roller Bowl, CBS Sports The Final Table, season 9 and 10 of the Heartland Poker Tour, and most recently as a break desk commentator on ESPN’s 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event coverage. Maria is also the celebrity spokesperson for the WinStar World Casino, host of the Battle of Malta poker tournament and an Amazon eSports ambassador and live tournament series host
In 2009, Ho competed on the CBS Emmy Award winning television show The Amazing Race 15 with best friend and fellow poker pro Tiffany Michelle. She has also been seen on the third season of American Idol (where she made it to “Hollywood Week”), as a panelist on Anderson Cooper 360, and for two consecutive seasons as a featured player on the World Poker Tour’s “Ones to Watch” (in 2011 and 2012).
Maria Ho has received invitations to play in various types of games all over the world. In 2008, she traveled to Hong Kong to play in the World Mahjong Tour, going head to head with various Chinese and Taiwanese celebrities and professional Mahjong players. She played for two consecutive years as a member of Team China in the Inaugural World Team Poker Invitational, helping her team secure a 1st Place victory in 2010. In 2014, Ho replaced Kara Scott as the Battle of Malta poker tournament host. In 2016, Ho was named one of 12 Team Managers (for Team LA Sunsets) in the inaugural season of the Global Poker League, notably drafting Emmy winning actor Aaron Paul as one of her Wild Card picks, as well as coaching her team to the championship match.
Fluent in Mandarin and born into a traditional Chinese (Cantonese) family, Maria is a younger sister of media personality and Clinical Psychologist Dr. Judy Ho. Maria’s family moved from Taiwan to the United States when she was four years old, eventually settling just outside Los Angeles in Arcadia, California.
Ho started playing poker in college. She was drawn to the psychology and competitive spirit of the game and soon went from playing games with college friends to playing limit cash games at nearby Indian casinos. She was introduced to the game by fraternity brothers of Lambda Phi Epsilon, when she became affiliated with the fraternity through their Lambda Lil Sis program. When Maria graduated from UCSD in 2005, with a major in Communications and a minor in Law, she had gone from playing low limits to high-stakes cash games and had grown her poker bankroll to the point that she felt confident to embark on a career as a professional poker player.
World Series of Poker
Maria’s first major tournament success came at the 2007 World Series of Poker where she was the last woman remaining in the Championship Event, placing 38th out of 6,358 players and earning a $237,865 payday. She repeated this accomplishment in 2014, when she came in 77th place out of 6,683 players. Her 27th place “Last Woman Standing” finish at the 2011 World Series of Poker Europe Main Event along with a 2017 6th place final table finish makes Maria the only player to ever hold the title Last Woman Standing four times over and at both the WSOP and WSOPE Main Events.
Host and Commentator
In 2013, Maria joined the Heartland Poker Tour season 9 broadcast team, as a co-host and strategic commentator. She was the first female in history to be hired to a poker television broadcast as the resident strategic commentator. She remained with the production for two years until she signed on as co-host and commentator of The Final Table, presented by Rush Street Productions (creators of Poker Night in America). In 2017, she took on the role of sideline reporter for NBC Sports Super High Roller Bowl, as well as commentated at ESPN’s World Series of Poker Main Event break desk.
Beyond the poker tables, Maria works as a host and commentator, as a private coach, and as writer for several poker publications – which include authoring a chapter in the book Winning Women of Poker: Secret Strategies Revealed and as a columnist for Bluff Magazine (from 2011-2015).
Maria co-hosted the PCA 2018 Poker Championship event, held in the Caribbean, in January 2018.