Maria Ho is known for being one of the top poker players in the world. And because of her success in poker, Ho has made appearances on top reality shows. PopCulture.com recently caught up with the 37-year-old poker Hall of Famer, who talked about her experience on The Amazing Race and American Idol.
“The Amazing Race is by far the best experience I had in my entire life, but it was also the hardest,” Ho said to PopCulture. “I’m naturally a very competitive person, but even I could not have prepared for what The Amazing Race entailed. It definitely challenged me every step of the way, and it made me feel really inadequate at times as well. But I think it’s really nice to be able to have those opportunities in life where you are really pushed to your limit.”
Ho competed in Season 15 of The Amazing Race with fellow poker player Tiffany Michelle as her partner. The duo finished in sixth place out of 12 teams and Ho said she “definitely” would do it again. “From the physical side, I would train a lot harder for it,” Ho stated. “Every time there was a physical challenge, I would be very intimidated by it. I never felt there was a physical challenge I was going to excel in or be fully prepared for.”
Before The Amazing Race and becoming famous in Poker, Ho tried out for American Idol. That was made possible thanks to her sister, who Ho claims is a “better singer” than her and wanted to audition. “We actually went together,” Ho explained, adding that she comes from a musical family. “I was 18 at the time and it was not anything I’ve ever done before, to put myself out there in that way. It was really nerve-wracking but I never even expected anything to come out of it. But singing is definitely something I enjoy doing on the side.”
Ho went on to say she never considered making a career out of singing because she felt like the odds weren’t in her favor. But she did well in the third season of American Idol, as she made it to Hollywood Week. Performing in front of the judges is one of the biggest parts of the show, but Ho said she wasn’t intimidated by performing in front of Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell.
“I really didn’t have a good sense of who they were or how big they were in the industry,” Ho said. “I felt like that kind of helped a little bit. I feel like when I auditioned I really just blacked out. I really had no awareness of the fact that these were the people I was auditioning for.”