Maria Ho has accomplished tremendous feats in her poker career that has inspired hundreds of female players over the years. Ho made it to the final table at the $3,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em event during the 2019 World Poker Tour (WPT) Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown held in April.
She is now gearing up for a highly-anticipated final battle which is set to take place at the HyperX Esports Arena in Las Vegas. With a $715,175 top prize on the line, this year’s WPT final table could become a career-defining moment for Ho. On May 30, she will compete with five other finalists at the state-of-the art Las Vegas venue, in front of cameras and TV production crew.
The Women in Poker Hall of Fame inductee has been playing poker professionally for many years now, achieving massive success at countless final tables. She also works as poker TV commentator and has tried taking part in several televised tournaments.
Given her poker background and broadcast experience, cameras are nothing new to Ho. What makes the WPT final table extra special for her is the fact that her family will be among the audience, watching her play. The more than a month gap between the start of the tournament and the upcoming final table, the change in venue from Florida to Vegas and the amount of money on the line, makes it a high pressure situation.
Many poker pros fail under pressure but Ho has both the experience and the composure to handle whatever comes her way.
Fighting Pressure With Positivity
She admits that she does feel a bit pressured to win the WPT title in the presence of her family and friends. However, she deals with the pressure by staying positive and not letting the moment overwhelm her. Her Twitter feed provides an insight into how she goes about her life. Everything always has a dash of positive vibes, no attacks on a fellow poker player, not a single rant against a certain tournament venue or format. And all of this has to do with her upbringing.
In poker, a player must not dwell on negative emotions. Ho believes succeeding in this mind sport requires a tough mental fortitude and the ability to move past your own doubts and mistakes.
Staying Motivated
While Ho is extremely grateful for everything she has achieved, the poker pro has no intention to stop. Her competitive spirit motivates her to become better, to improve what needs to be improved, and to never rest on her laurels.
Ho often steps out of her comfort zone to expand her horizons, and this mindset has benefited her through the years. In the aftermath of Black Friday in 2011, Ho signed a sponsorship deal with WinStar World Casino in Oklahoma which still stands up to this day. She will also be remembered as the first woman to serve as main strategic commentator on a poker series for her work with the Heartland Poker Tour back in the early 2010s.
While Ho acknowledges that some of her achievements involved luck, she also does not discount the fact that she is where she is right now because she has put herself in it and she worked hard for it. Ho’s motivation, skill, hard work and talent brought her to a number of broadcasting jobs, keeping her busy till this day and taking her to new audiences all over the world.
Ho emphasized that her main motivation is not to gain recognition but to just keep improving as a player, though she admitted that it somehow felt fulfilling to be recognized.
Inspiring Women in Poker
Ho was recently honored at the Global Poker Awards as Broadcaster of the Year, during a ceremony held in Las Vegas. Last year, she was also inducted to the Women in Poker Hall of Fame for her exemplary contributions and achievements in poker. These awards are just icing on the cake as Ho is an accomplished poker player with more than $3,000,000 in live tournament winnings.
Her live tournament record serves as an inspiration for many female poker enthusiasts around the world who might still feel intimidated to get involved in the male-dominated sport.
Should she win this year’s WPT final table, Ho would take home the much-coveted WPT title, $715,175 in cash, plus a $15K buy-in to the Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions. She currently sits in second place in terms of chip count with 16.65 million, following James Carroll who has 18.52 million.

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