With over $2.9 million USD in poker live tournament earnings and ranked as one of the top female poker players in the world, Maria Ho poker journey is worth exploring. She has become a renowned poker player, especially with her induction into Women in Poker Hall of Fame 2018 nomination. She has also earned her place as the only person to be the World Series of Poker Main Event Last Woman Standing at four different times. She was also the first female to be hired as a strategic commentator on a poker TV broadcast team. No doubt, Maria Ho’s exploit in the world of poker is worth looking into. In this article, we will look at the life, poker journey, net worth, game exploit, and everything you need to know about this poker goddess. Let us dig right into the highlights.
Early Life of Maria Ho
Born on the 6th of March, 1983, Maria Ho is an American poker player, host, and television personality. She was born into a proper traditional Chinese family, Cantonese. She is very fluent in Mandarin. When she was four years old, her family moved from Taiwan, her place of birth, to the United States and settled just outside of Los Angeles, Arcadia, California. Maria Ho has an elder sister who is a Clinical Psychologist and media personality, Dr. Judy Ho.
She had an early childhood like any normal child with her family. While in college, she took keen interest in poker and started playing poker as a pass time at this stage. From early in life, she has been drawn to the competitive spirit and the psychology involved in the game of poker. Not long, she moved from playing poker with her college friends to playing the limit cash games at Indian casinos close to her. Maria Ho poker became affiliated with the Lambda Phi Epsilon fraternity through the Lambda Lil Sis program. She was introduced into the world of the game by fraternity brothers of Lambda Phi Epsilon. While playing poker at college, she didn’t give up on her academics. She went ahead to enroll at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) where she majored in Communications and minored in Law.
Maria Ho is not all about books and poker; Maria surely has other areas of interest. She was very passionate about music and performance which prompted her to become a member of the University of California, San Diego Acapella group known as the D.O.T.s. All through her time in school, she was involved in several musical performances of the school which include Anything Goes, and The Marriage of Figaro.
She graduated from the school in 2005. At this stage, Maria has moved from playing low limits to high stakes cash games. She has also grown her bankroll to a point where she was confident to start a career in the field as a professional poker player. Of course, building a bankroll to this state has not been easy. She went from losing all to gaining some but she never gave up on her dream of becoming a professional poker player. She kept on playing until she got her breakthrough and amassed the bankroll that placed her in the league of professional poker players.
Looking at Maria Ho poker status today, it would definitely be hard to picture her fetching shoes and scrubbing bathrooms for female customers in restaurants and hotels. Well, that was exactly the story of Maria before she gained her fame in the world of poker. For many people, seeing her in this light is quite impossible as all we can see is the goddess at the table analyzing poker hands and her glamorous look at live tournaments.
Before rising to stardom, Maria Ho got involved in jobs that are common with teenagers trying to make ends meet. While she was in high school, she worked as a hostess at the Tony Roma restaurant. At some point, she also took up the job to assist ladies in buying handbags and footwear at Nine West. While at Tony Roma restaurant, she had to clean bathrooms, and mop the floor. Sometimes ago at an event, she reminisced about carrying mops and buckets around cleaning and scrubbing all day long.
She confirmed taking up these menial jobs in a short video at World Poker Tour Amsterdam. However, with more than $2.9 million USD in live tournament cashes, and a 9th place position on the Women’s All Time Money List, and a Women in Poker Hall of Fame nomination; all her past belittling job have become a distant memory. Maria Ho has a lively personality that endears her to many of her fan. Her personality is more pronounced when serving in a position as a co-host or a commentator on poker shows. She has indeed come a long way from simply scrubbing and cleaning bathrooms as a teenager to becoming a top female poker player.
According to her, she got interested in the game and started playing with her college mates without the intention to make a full career from it at first. According to her, she loved the strategy and psychology involved in the game which prompted her to pay close attention to the game. However, she later discovered that the game is something she can build a career on and she went ahead to pursue her dream. Good for her; the game has made her famous and rich as well. Apart from playing poker, she has also become a good poker tournaments host. Of course, with a good understanding of the game, she makes an excellent host.
One important thing that many people didn’t know about Maria Ho is her love for music. At some point in her life, before she became a popular figure in the poker world and a TV personality, she was aspiring to be a professional singer. She has the face and the voice to become a celebrity singer and she pursued her dream to become a member of the 3rd season of American Idol. She proceeded with the audition and made it to the Hollywood Week round. The judges were quite impressed with her voice and talent. Unfortunately, she did not make it beyond this round.
Maria Ho Poker Career
Maria Ho is one of the top ranked female professional poker players in the world. She has earned a couple of accolades which include a nominee for American Poker Award and 3-time nominee for Bluff Reader’s Choice Award for Favorite Female Poker Player. She has also competed in the 15th season of The Amazing Race as the only all-female team.
She had her first major tournament success during the World Series of Poker of 2007 where she became the last woman standing at the Championship Event. At this tournament, she placed at the 38th position out of a total of 6,358 players. At the end of the event she won a huge $237,865 which started her on a great part. In 2014, she repeated this feat when she placed in the 77th position at a tournament with a total of 6,683 other players. In 2011, she also finished at the 27th place earning the status of the Last Woman Standing. This event was at the World Series of Poker Europe Main Event of 2011.
In 2017, she also placed at the 6th place in final table finish. All these live tournaments games made Maria Ho the only female to ever hold the Last Woman Standing title at four different times at both the World Series of Poker and World Series of Poker Europe Main Events. During the World Series of Poker of 2012, Maria Ho happened to be the Most Cashing Female of the event series, boasting of six individual tournaments cashes. This feat was repeated during the World Series of Poker of 2014 where she made a total of eight cashes at the event.
Although she is yet to win any bracelet, the 35 year old goddess has nicely crafted a name for herself in the industry. There are quite a few women that have attained the level that Maria Ho has attained in the course of her poker career in the industry. In total Maria Ho poker made it to four final tables at live tournaments with a total of 52 Money Finishes at World Series of Poker. For World Poker Tour, Ho has yet to receive any title but we believe it is a matter of time. With the way she is climbing the success ladder, she is surely going to land a bracelet sometimes soon. In total, she has had a total of seven Money Finishes at World Poker Tour and has made it to the final table once in the course of her appearances at WPT. She was nominated to be inducted into the Women in Poker Hall of Fame in 2018. There is no doubting the fact that she will definitely enter the Hall of Fame at some point in her career, even if she doesn’t get into it this year.
Maria Ho Dossier as a Professional Poker Player
With almost $3 million USD earnings in live poker tournaments, Maria ranked as one of the top five female poker players in the whole world. Her comprehensive poker dossier includes 41 World Series of Poker (WSOP) cashes, 4 World Series of Poker (WSOP) final tables, 5 World Poker Tour (WPT) cashes, 3 World Poker Tour (WPT) final tables, and some other 8 final tables on different professional poker tours. She was the first female in the whole history of poker to be hired into a poker television broadcast as the resident Strategic Commentator. She took up this task in the year 2013. All through her professional poker career, Maria has continued to showcase her expertise and skills as an on-air commentator and host. She has been involved in two different seasons of the Heartland Poker Tour and also made appearances at the WSOP.com and ESPN 360.
Maria Ho is a host and an ambassador for the Poker Central Network (PCN), the host of the famous The Battle of Malta, and the Celebrity Spokesperson for the Win-Star World Casino. Famous for her personality in the poker industry and entertainment industry, she is widely known for competing at the Emmy-winning 15th season of the popular The Amazing Race for earning a place as a 3-time Last Woman Standing at the WSOP (World Series of Poker) Main Events in 2007, 2011, and 2014. Maria Ho poker also broke the long standing record for the largest cash a female has ever won at a World Series of Poker during the 2011 World Series of Poker. She took a second place at the $5,000 No Limit Event and won the sum of $540,020 USD for her brilliance.
As a respected and skilled professional poker player, she has received various invitations to play at the World Team Poker Invitational. At this event, her team, Team China, won the first place in 2010. She also participated in World Mahjong Tour in Hong Kong where she played the traditional Chinese game, Mahjong with some other poker celebrities from Taiwan and China. Ho has also taken a place as a panelist at Anderson Cooper 360. She was also named the Team Manager for an Inaugural season of the Global Poker League in the year 2016.
She currently lives outside of Los Angeles, California with her loved ones. When Maria is not engaged in poker tournament circuit or traveling for events, she is frequently seen singing passionately at Hollywood music gigs and working with her family to successfully build their real estate firm. She is committed to charity works, which takes plenty of her time. As of the year 2011, she was listed in the 12th position among worldwide female poker professionals in total overall tournament earnings. She made it to the Hollywood Week during the season three of the American Idol in the year 2002. She is a close friend to a fellow female poker professional player, Tiffany Michelle. As a matter of fact, both of them are best of friends.
Recently, Maria Ho has spent less time at poker table. She is more involved in pursuing her other interests and passions. She is heavily involved in gigs and singing in Los Angeles and helping her family grow the family owned successful real estate company. Apart from all these, she is also involved in various charitable causes which include donating money and her time at NGOs such as Road 2 Recovery, The Ronald McDonald House, and The National Kidney Foundation. Maria is very competitive in nature and she loves anything that puts her on her toes, which was why she got interested in poker table in the first place.
Maria Ho Career as a Host and Commentator
Although she started her career in the world of poker but she has diversified to other areas. In the year 2013, Maria Ho poker became a part of the season 9 Heartland Poker Tour broadcast team. She was a co-host and a strategic commentator. In actual fact, she was the first female in the whole of poker history to be recruited as a team member of a poker television broadcast as a resident strategic commentator.
For the period of two years, Maria remained a part of the production team. She later signed on as a commentator and co-host of The Final Table which was presented by Rush Street Productions. It is important to mention that Rush Street Productions Company is the creator of the famous Poker Night in America. In the year 2017, Maria took up another role as a sideline reported for the NBC Sports Super High Roller Bowl. She also became a commentator at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event break desk handled by ESPN.
Apart from frequenting the poker tables, she works as a commentator and host, a writer for various poker publications, and a private coach. In her career as a writer, she has written many articles and contents for many poker publications and she also authored one chapter in the book, Winning Women of Poker – Secret Strategies Revealed. She also worked as a columnist for Bluff Magazine between 2011 and 2015. In the January of 2018, Maria Ho co-hosted the Poker Championship event of the PokerStar Caribbean Adventure (PCA) 2018 which took place in the Caribbean. She is currently a regular face on CBS Sports as a commentator and a co-host at the Final Table.
Maria Ho Personal Life
Although she doesn’t have a nickname at the felt table, Maria Ho is popularly known by her great poker face, and trust her; she is not afraid to use it. She is beautiful, unassuming but very determined to achieve success in life. She is from Taiwan but didn’t grow up in Taiwan. She only lived in the city for four years with her family after she was born. For the past one decade, she has been at the table playing poker and over the course of her career, Maria Ho poker has amassed over $2 million USD in earnings through live tournaments.
She has a sister, Dr. Judy Ho, who is also a popular face in the media. Dr. Judy spends a lot of time on the television talking about her career and other news related topics that focus on her core area of expertise. Although both sisters are not in the same line of career or business, both are very good friends and maintain a very good relationship. Maria Ho has lived in the United States for most of her life and while in college, she was always playing poker for fun.
Currently, Maria Ho is not in any romantic relationship, although in 2008, she was rumored to be in a relationship with Michael Phelps. The rumor was not confirmed and it can be categorically stated that she is not in any romantic relationship as of now, as far as we know. For many of her fans, she has remained quite a mystery as far as her personal life is concerned. Unlike many celebrities in her class, Maria rarely post on social media and whenever she does, she only post bomb shots of herself at some luxurious places or at the felt tables or pictures of her hosting an event. She rarely reveals private information about herself. She could be said to be elusive.
The media has tried to get some juicy gossips about her private life but she remained a mystery. She was recently nominated to be inducted into the world of the Women in Poker Hall of Fame and strangely, she didn’t flood her social media page with the news. However, the world of poker got a glimpse of her private life when she got busted during the 2018 World Series of Poker Main Event. She took to Twitter and ranted for a while. She chronicled her activities after leaving the event till she got to bed. The fan felt relieved knowing that she is after all a person with feelings. Maria is an active member of Sportspeople from Taipei, People from Taipei, and American people of Taiwanese descent.
Maria Ho Net Worth
Being in the industry for over a decade, Maria Ho poker has made a name in the industry. Not only a name; she has also made a tidy fortune for herself in the industry. Currently, her net worth is estimated to be close to $3 million USD from her total live tournaments. These earnings include 54 World Series of Poker cashes, 4 final tables at the World Series of Poker, and 1 World Series of Poker Circuit final table. She also has 7 World Poker Tour cashes, 1 final table at the World Poker Tour, and numerous final tables at other professional poker circuit. Born on the 6th of March, 1983, The Taipei, Taiwan born 35 year old poker professional is on the list of the top female poker players in the world, ranking at the 12th position.
Over the course of her career as a professional poker player, TV personality, and a host, she has been nominated three times for the Bluff Reader’s Choice Awards for the Favorite Female Poker Player. She was also nominated for the American Poker Awards and competed as the only all-female team during the 15th season of the Amazing Race. Recently, she was nominated the first year she became eligible to be inducted into the 2018 Women in Poker Hall of Fame.
As a commentator and TV host, she has also earned some great money that impacted on her total net worth. She has made appearances at the NBC Sports Super High Roller Bowl, season nine and ten of the Heartland Poker Tour, and CBS Sports’ The Final Table. During the ESPN’s 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event, Maria Ho poker featured as a break desk commentator. She is a celebrity spokesperson for WinStar World Casino, an Amazon eSports ambassador, live tournament series host, and the host of Battle of Malta poker tournament. She has featured as a panelist at Anderson Cooper 360, and was also a featured player at the World Series of Poker Tour ‘Ones to watch’ for two consecutive seasons in 2011 and 2012. In 2014, she replaced the famous Kara Scott as the host of the Battle of Malta poker tournament. She was named one of the twelve Team Managers at the inaugural season of Global Poker League in 2016. This event brought in the Emmy winning actor, Aaron Paul, as one of Maria Ho’s Wild Card picks.
Maria Ho poker journey has been exciting and rewarding. She has made a name for herself in the industry and she is often associated with fellow poker player, England’s Live Boeree, and both are regarded as two of the best known female professional poker players in the world. In her career as a poker pro, her total live earning is $2,954,325 USD. Her best live cash game was $540,020 USD and she was listed at the 474th position of the all-time money list. Maria was listed in the 274th place on the United States All Time Money List and 51st position in California, USA All Time Money List. She was ranked 156th on the Global Poker Index Ranking, 478th in the All Time Money List Best Rank, and 69th in the popularity ranking.
She was also ranked as one of the top female players in the world and was recently nominated as Women in Poker Hall of Fame 2018 inductee. She competed at the Emmy winning’s The Amazing Race. Maria Ho was the only person to be the World Series of Poker Main Event Last Woman Stand for four different times (in 2007, 2011, 2014, and 2017). She was also the first female in the history of poker to have been hired to be part of a poker television broadcast team, functioning as a strategic commentator. She is a host and an ambassador of Amazon eSports. She was a Team Manager of the 2016 Inaugural Global Poker League and a Celebrity Spokesperson for Win-Star World Casino. Maria Ho poker journey has indeed been an eventful and rewarding experience. We look forward to see more of her at the felt table.