Maria Ho

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Maria Ho

is a famous poker challenger and key contributor

Poker Score: 95,172

Popularity: 376,532

Contribution: 95,113

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About Maria Ho


In a rare combination, Taiwan-born Californian Maria Ho is a fixture in Top Ten lists of 'sexiest poker babes' and at the same time is an inspiring promoter and role model for women in poker. While a very successful live tournament player, Maria Ho's career in poker is by no means confined to the tables. Coaching, writing and commentating, acting as poker host and brand ambassador - she's done it all! 

Maria Ho' top tournament accomplishments are associated with the WSOP (where she scored her biggest cash of $540,020 in 2011). She is most famous as the Last Woman Standing in three WSOP Main Events - 2007, 2011 (WSOPE), and 2014. Additionally, she completed two summer World Series as the female player with most cashes (eight ITM finishes in 2014!). 

And if her poker resume is not impressive enough, Maria Ho is fluent in Mandarin, has competed in the World Mahjong Tour, and is a singer/musician who loves performing at music venues!

Her latest high-profile professional commitment is with PokerListings Battle of Malta and in November 2015, she will be welcoming BoM players as official host for the second consecutive year.

Written by Annie RKH
Last update: 20/05/2015

Jobs & Achievements


Celebrity Spokesperson for the WinStar World Ca...,
since May 2015
Official Host PokerListings Battle of Malta ,
since May 2014
Maria Ho was a columnist for Bluff Magazine.,
May 2013 to Dec 2013
Heartland Poker Tour,
since Jan 2013
WSOP 2013,
Jan 2013 to May 2013
Has a chapter in "Winning Women of Poker: Secre...,
in Jan 2011
Competed in Season 15 of Emmy winning reality T...,
in Jul 2009
Played in World Mahjong Tour, Hong Kong 2008,
in Jan 2008
Last Woman Standing at the World Series of Poke...,
since May 2007

Latest performances

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The biggest cashes of Maria Ho


Rank: 2 / 865
Event 4: $5000 NLHE Hold’em
Jun 2, 2011
Tournament Results
Event 55: $10000 NLHE World Championship
38th Annual World Series of Poker 2007
Jul 6, 2007


38 / 6358

$7500 NLHE
2016 Shooting Star
Bay 101
Mar 7, 2016



Last followers / following

RankingHero Interview: Maria Ho about Battle of Malta, the WSOP, and more!

While a very successful live tournament player (three-time Last Woman Standing in WSOP ME!), Maria Ho's career in poker is by no means confined to the tables. Coaching, writing and commentating, poker host and brand ambassador - she's done it all! Her latest high-profile professional commitment is with PokerListings Battle of Malta and in November 2015, she will be welcoming BoM players as official host for the second consecutive year.And if her poker resume is not impressive enough, Maria Ho is fluent in Mandarin, has competed in the World Mahjong Tour, and is a singer/musician who loves performing at music venues!


Maria Ho: "I think the ultimate recognition is to be remembered not just as a good poker player but a good person."

You started playing poker in college like many others and unlike many others, you did graduate from University of California with a major in Communications and minor in Law. Were you ever tempted to abandon/interrupt your studies? Any advice to college kids thinking about dropping out to take up poker full time?

First of all, advice to college kids wanting to drop out: DON’T DO IT! Poker isn’t going anywhere and take it from me, it's a lot harder to make a living at it then it looks!

And if poker doesn’t work out, you will be happy to have a Plan B to fall back on... so STAY IN SCHOOL, kids, and play poker on the side.

No, I wasn’t ever tempted to drop out because poker was something I did on the side for fun and to make some extra cash. But I never found that it had to be “poker” or “college”. I was able to go to school and still hone my poker skills in my spare time.

You were in American Idol in 2004 and in Amazing Race, together with @Tiffany Michelle, a few years later. Is there another reality show you can see yourself in? 

I had always wanted to be on The Amazing Race since Season 1. I loved that it was competitive but also relationship building and physically, mentally and emotionally the most challenging thing you could embark on. It has also won a ton of Emmys and garners so much respect from the industry. Between American Idol and The Amazing Race, I think those are as respectable as you can get for a competitive reality television show. I have my sights set on Survivor now. I think that the skill set I use for poker naturally lends itself to a show like that and I would love to see the similarities in action!

If you and a poker friend of yours could star together in any TV series or movie, which one would you pick (which friend and which show :)?

Uhh…. The Amazing Race…. again?



You love music and you are a singer yourself. Do you ever listen to music while playing a live tournament? 

I do love music, but when I’m at the poker tables I’m focused. I think that music can be a distraction when playing poker. I want to be engaged and fully involved and aware of everything happening around me.

There is so much information that you can pick up, if you listen and observe, when playing whether it is just generic table talk or people giving information about what they do in their lives away from the tables that might give you an indication of their playing style. So, I don’t generally listen to music at the tables but when I do I listen to a lot of hip hop to get my energy going.

You played in the World Mahjong Tour in 2008. Any other games or sports you are passionate about?

Nothing else that I’m passionate about playing. But I’m a big sports fan and absolutely love the NBA. GO LAKERS!

Which would you pick if you had the power to instantly enact it in the United States: full tax exemption for poker winnings or online poker regulation?

I’d definitely want online poker to be an option in the U.S. I don’t think U.S. players even care if their winnings are taxed… just allow us the opportunity to play online! We didn’t realize how good we had it until the luxury of making money playing online poker in the comfort of your own home in your pajamas was taken away from us!

Who are your big influences in poker - the theorists and/or players from whom you’ve learned most? 

Most of my education came from practical application. I started playing in college and worked my way up through the limits. It was a lot of trial and error. I think there are great resources online and in book format. At this point in my career I feel lucky to have friends who are excellent players, and of course I have conversations with all my poker playing friends, to try and get their thoughts and alternative opinions on poker theories and hands. I can't really say that I've had one significant influence. I embrace every change to learn and grow from the poker players around me whom I admire. With that said, @Daniel Negreanu has always been someone whose career I aspire to and whose class in this game and ambassadorship I greatly admire. 

RankingHero has been in the news lately with its just released HeroScore feature. It’s a ranking that tries to incorporate more difficult to gauge aspects such as popularity and contribution, in addition to poker results. Have you had the chance to explore it? 

I’ve definitely checked out the site and it looks like a really fun and interactive way to rank poker players. I love that it combines both a ranking system and social elements as well.

As a successful poker professional, how do you yourself ‘give back’ to the industry? Do you think success in poker comes with a responsibility?

I definitely feel a sense of responsibility. Poker can be a very self-serving game, so I take it upon myself to do good.

I donate a good portion of my winnings to charity and volunteer my time in Los Angeles as a member of L.A. Works - a volunteer organization that contributes to a variety of charitable organizations. I also try to be an active member and voice in the poker community. I’m passionate about advancing the causes of the poker industry and try to contribute as much as I can.

Is there a particular poker record or special achievement you would like to outdo some day?

I’m very proud of the records I’ve broken so far: being the first to be the Last Woman Standing three times over in a WSOP Main Event - breaking the record for the largest cash a female has ever had at the WSOP (in 2011 with my $500k+ score), and being the first female ever hired to a poker television broadcast as the strategic commentator…. but I think any and every poker player aspires to winning a WSOP bracelet… so lets just say that for now. 

What would be the ‘ultimate recognition’ for you as a poker pro?

I think the ultimate recognition is to be remembered not just as a good poker player but a good person.

There are some aspects of our industry that have drawn some shady characters but I strongly feel that the only way to grow poker in the mainstream is to present it in the best light possible, A part of that is being a good ambassador for the game and making sure that poker doesn’t stay stigmatized.

What was the most rewarding aspect of being an ambassador and official host of PokerListings Battle of Malta last year?

I so enjoyed chatting to all of the players because of what BOM stands for. It is a very affordable buy-in but it gives you the feel of a high buy-in, elite poker festival. I love that so many of the people that come out to play are recreational players who are looking not just to play poker but for the full experience. Everyone was so excited and were having such a good time, win or lose.

Which of your obligations as official host proved most challenging?

I would have to say that playing in the BOM Main Event and going deep while still making sure that I fulfilled my hosting duties was the most challenging. Sometimes on my breaks from the tournament I would be interviewing a player so I didn’t get a whole lot of down time but I love being challenged! And I wouldn’t have it any other way because I not only got to host an awesome event but I cashed in the Main Event and made some extra money!

Battle of Malta has been setting and improving all kinds of records each year. What would make you particularly proud in the upcoming 4th edition?

Well, year after year they keep shattering the record for the single largest poker event in Maltese history so I would love to see us do that again this year. I think the turnout keeps increasing because players realize what a great value this tournament is and most importantly they are having fun! The parties and events during BOM are first class all the way.

How would you ‘pitch’ the event to an experienced poker pro and a recreational player?

I would pitch it to them the same way quite honestly. I think this event appeals to everyone whether pro or recreational player because not only is there tremendous value in the tournament but it’s basically like a poker vacation! Malta is a beautiful place and BOM makes sure to pack in a ton of action both on and off the felt!

While women are a tiny minority in live poker, they seem better represented among sponsored players. In what ways do you think women are better ambassadors for the game?

I think getting more women into the game would help boost poker’s popularity ten-fold. If seeing women pros and ambassadors inspires more women to get into the game then that would be ideal for everyone in the poker community.

The WSOP stands out in your resume and you really seem to be in your element during the World Series. How important is Vegas to the whole experience? Do WSOP Asia and WSOP Europe bracelets shine just as bright?

The WSOP is the Olympics of poker. From its earliest inception, it is what every poker player aspires to.

Based on the sheer numbers I don’t think that WSOP Asia or Europe can quite compete, just yet. The payouts, television views and overall clout that the WSOP provides its bracelet winners is bar none. Granted, any tournament that I can outright WIN, I think is an amazing accomplishment. But so far, I think that a WSOP bracelet is the highest achievement in the minds of most poker players.

Do you have any special plans for your first WSOP bracelet? Who will be the first people to share your joy & celebration?

I don’t think you will see me wearing it around on a regular basis but I am sure I will find a nice place on my mantle to display it. I will definitely be celebrating with my family and closest friends. I’ll be sure to let you know when I get there… err…. get it.

[published by @Annie RKH June 16, 2015]



 great interview :)))