New girl on the block – Maria Ho bio
Glamorous Oriental pro Maria Ho is a refreshing addition to the female poker scene. Several female players are elevated to poker stardom after just one major tournament win, but Ho has proved her tournament prowess with eight WSOP cashes in five years.
A shrewd grinder, she is considered an expert in Limit Hold’em, having climbed the stakes from $3/$6 to $800/$1600 at the Commerce Casino in her native Los Angeles.
Not one to rest on her laurels, Ho has pledged to devote her life to the tournament circuit for the foreseeable future in order to gain experience. A formidable year has seen her leave US sportsbook Bodog to hook up with close companion Tiffany Michelle at UB POker.
Like Michelle, her beautiful looks mean she is the darling of many poker forums, and her presence on the green felt serves to intimidate macho male aggressors at the table.
Born in Taiwan, Maria Ho follows a host of stellar names including Johnny Chan and Scotty Nguyen who have migrated from South East Asia at an early age, and duly found success on American soil.
Like many youngsters, she discovered poker at a college home game, and after graduating from the University of California, she dedicated her life to poker. Before poker, she excelled in the performing arts, playing piano, violin as well as dancing to a high standard.
After honing her skills at the Commerce Casino, she made the relatively short trip to Las Vegas in 2007. It was at the 2007 WSOP Main Event that she recorded her first, major tournament cash, coming in 38th for a cool $237,865. And she was !
Further WSOP success came in 2009, when she narrowly missed the final table by coming 11th at the $10K Limit Hold’em Championship for $41k. 2010 has been Ho’s most consistent year, as she has scooped three WSOP cashes and a 10th place at the $10k WPT Bellagio Cup VI. Despite featuring in more and more NL tournaments, Maria maintains that Limit is her preferred poker variant, as it gives her the opportunity to play more hands.
Away from the felt, Ho is chatty, opinionated and insightful.
She claims that discipline and the willingness to learn are the keys to becoming a successful poker player, and believes that exciting young pros should hold on for more lucrative sponsorship deals. Ho cites Daniel Negreanu as one her favourite poker pros, praising his exuberant personality and humility at the table.
Maria also admires friendly veteran Barry Greenstein for donating his tournament winnings to charity, but when cheekily asked by Pokerlizard.com if he had hit on her (Barry has a soft spot for Oriental girls having fallen for Mimi Tran in the past), she replied no.
Maria laments her only dating experience with a poker pro, claiming it didn’t work out because of anti-social hours and ill-temper from loosing sessions.
In a foray into poker showbiz and reporting, Ho has featured as a hostess and commentator for the WSOP and ESPN 360. Her burgeoning television career has also seen her feature in The Amazing Race on CBS, and American Idol.
Maria Ho recently joined the UB Poker professional roster, as the site continues to revamp itself following the notoriety of the super-user scandal.
As well as long-standing ambassador Phil Hellmuth, Ho joins fellow The Amazing Race star Tiffany Michelle and Celebrity Apprentice contestant Annie Duke on the UB line-up.
Ho is playing a pivotal role in trying to bring poker to the Chinese community (China is seen as the destination of the next big poker boom, following the enthralling action at Macau) by providing a blog in her native language, Mandarin Chinese. Maria has a long way before she achieves the celebrated status of other female stars, including Jennifer Harman and Kathy Liebert, but at 27, she certainly has a bright future.
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