While there aren’t that many women in professional poker these days—less than three percent of the 6,000-plus who competed in last year’s World Series of Poker Main Event wore bras and panties—there’s no question that none are playing (or looking) hotter than Maria Ho. Earlier this summer, the 28-year-old Angeleno and Amazing Race 15 vet scored the largest cash ever for a woman at the WSOP, $540,020. With 2011’s Main Event starting today, we hit this Made Babe up for insider info, fitness tips and how a guy can get her to go all-in…
MADE MAN: Congrats on the big cash in Event Number 4. What do you plan to do with all of that money?
MARIA HO: Poker is a game where you need money to make money, so I try to be smart about managing the bankroll aspect of it. Given what’s happened with online poker and losing that as a moneymaking avenue, I have no crazy intentions. When the Main Event is over, I’m going to take a few friends on a nice vacation somewhere in the Caribbean.
MM: What’s your strategy heading into the Main Event?
MH: Having a deep run in the Main Event previously has helped me shape my strategy for this year. It’s pretty much a 15-day tournament, so I’m not playing to have the most chips at the end of the day. I like to take it slow and capitalize on other peoples’ mistakes. I’m not around to be ultra-aggressive. I look for the best spots to play against the right people.
MM: How many come-ons do you get in an average World Series?
MH: There are so few women roaming the halls at the Rio that it kind of goes without saying that guys are going to come on to us. You get used to it. To be honest, I’m not sure if men are hitting on me because I’m good-looking or because I’m a woman.
MM: Worst pick-up line you’ve heard at a poker tournament?
MH: Where do I start? Any time a somewhat attractive woman walks by the poker table, someone will say, ‘Seat open!’ I’ve probably heard that one a hundred times. Also, I’ve met guys who bring their daughters and tell me I’ve inspired their girls to play poker—then they hit on me. That’s pretty creepy.
MM: So what’s your best advice for picking up a girl?
MH: Most women don’t like cheesy lines—they like someone who is real. Being a poker player, I can see right through someone who isn’t being genuine. It’s a turn-on when someone is just being honest.
MM: Will you even consider a guy doesn’t play poker?
MH: I am actively looking to date someone who doesn’t play poker. I just feel like when two poker players date, it’s never a combination that works out well. I would love to be in a relationship with someone who has a more normal lifestyle.
MM: Sunglasses at the table. Hot or lame?
MH: Lame! So lame! It’s not hot to me. I think sunglasses and hoodies take away a great part of this game—the physical tell. I want to see your eyes. I want to get a read on you. I dare people to get a read on me.
MM: What are the first words that come to mind when I say, ‘Phil Ivey?’
MH: Sicko. Baller. Intimidating.
MM: Phil Hellmuth.
MH: Interesting. Whiny.
MM: Jennifer Tilly.
MH: Great rack. Total sweetheart. Hard-core grinder.
MM: How does one getting a kicking body while spending so much time sitting at the poker table?
MH: Lots of discipline. I work out and stuff. You need to be active before or after you play. You also need to watch what you eat at the table. Some people eat two or three meals a day just sitting there. I try to be more conscious than many. Nice to hear it’s paying off.
Lead image from ubpoker.eu.