Maria Ho was born in Taiwan in the traditional Chinese family. When she was four years old, the Ho family moved to the United States, where Maria was raised. And even though she was living in Taiwan for only four years of her life, she kept a strong bond with her motherland. Now she is one of the top-scale poker players and a TV host and commentator. Maria has over $3.7 million earned in different poker tournaments and is proudly standing among the best female players. In 2018 she was included into the Women in Poker Hall of Fame.
It is rather standard for the poker players to come into this field through an unexpected route. Maria was a fan of mahjong - a game that is known around the world and requires quite a witty mind. But it was the only game she was involved in before college. Maria decided to take a psychology course at the university, and that was a critical moment because it planted her future passion for poker. As she was studying, she got very curious about the competitive mindset. And the poker table is the best place to watch and experience it. Another thing that pushed Maria to this game is that poker was very popular among her friends at the time.
Eventually, starting with a sole academic interest, Maria developed a deep love for this game. Being naturally highly intellectual, Ho needed only a few months of learning to feel confident enough to participate in rings held in local casinos. Trying competing with others, Maria didn’t fail. In fact, she had huge success playing against experienced rivals.
In 2005 Maria got her bachelor’s degree in Communications and a minor in Law. The primary intention Ho had was to enter the law school right away. But at that point, she already was rather successful taking part in high-stakes poker games. It was bringing her enough income to support herself. That’s why she made a decision to stick to her poker career and see if anything good will follow. Maria thought that if she fails to earn enough money here, she will just go back to the plan with the law school.
As you already understand, she didn’t have to go back to law school. Over a couple of next years, she continued improving her skills combining poker with the family business. In 2007 Ho finished 38th in the World Series of Poker winning over $200.000. In fact, she was the last woman who was left standing at this point. So naturally, the community recognized her.
Maria appeared on different races over a few years. Then in 2011, she received a bracelet at the World Series of Poker winning $540 020 - the record amount of money won by a female at this tournament. Then she finished 27th in the WSOP Europe and earned the Last Woman Standing award.
Today Maria is a 12th best female poker player worldwide. Now she is an on-camera host for WSOP and a commentator for ESPN 360. Ho writes different publications on poker for various magazines and websites. And she still has her passion for mahjong - Maria even took part in the World Mahjong Tour.