Smart, sweet, sexy and successful – Maria Ho has it all. In addition to having earned more than $1 million playing tournament poker since 2007, Maria has appeared as a star of the reality show The Amazing Race (finishing in 6th place during the show’s 15th season) and made it to Hollywood week on American Idol. She is a standout at a game few women play – never mind consistently beat.
Maria was born in Taiwan in 1983, the younger of two daughters. Her family relocated to Southern California in 1987. As a child Maria had a love for music and for performance. But as a college student at UC San Diego, she was introduced to poker. The psychology and the competitive aspects of the game fascinated her, and she set about to learning as much as she could. She quickly moved from playing with friends to playing at nearby casinos.
Maria’s breakout year in poker was 2007, the year that she finished 38th of 6,358 players in the World Series of Poker Main Event and earned the designation of “Last Woman Standing”. Since then she has gone on to become one of the top female pros in the game today, earning tournament cashes all over the world totaling more than $1 million while continuing to play high-stakes cash games. In 2011 she made her first career WSOP final table, finishing 2nd in the $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em event for $540,020, the biggest cash ever by a woman at the WSOP.
Beyond the poker tables, Maria has shared her knowledge of the game as an on-camera host for WSOP.com, as a commentator for live WSOP final-table broadcasts on ESPN360, as a writer for several poker publications and outlets, and as a private instructor for aspiring poker players. When she’s not traveling on the tournament circuit or for events, she splits her time between Hollywood music gigs, charity work, and her family’s California-based real estate firm.