Maria Ho

My first blog of 2010 is coming a little later than intended but still a Happy New Year to everyone! I spent my first week of the New Year in the Bahamas for the Poker Stars Caribbean Adventure and I hate to complain about being in the Bahamas, but anyone who was there will tell you that the weather was pretty terrible during that time so I left earlier than I had planned and without the tan that I had so hoped to get out there!

Shortly after I got back the L.A. Poker Classic series kicked off here at home so I rolled up my sleeves and went to work with a couple of preliminaries. So far, nothing of note but I am sure that I will have good news to report by my next blog! I really got to give it up to Matt Savage who is an amazing tournament director that really listens to the players’ input, as well as having a very keen insight into what it takes to make and run a successful tournament series.

Last weekend I made the short trip out to Vegas for a little reunion of sorts with some of my closest friends and fellow competitors from “The Amazing Race”. It just so happened that the Miss America pageant was being held and televised live from Vegas last Saturday and for all of you who caught an episode or two of “The Amazing Race” one of the competitors was Miss America 2004, Ericka Dunlap. We thought this would be a good opportunity to get together, and check out Ericka’s world, so Cheyne and Meghan, the winners of our season of “The Amazing Race”, Sam and Dan, Ericka and her husband and I all met out there to mix a little business with pleasure. I was not exactly excited at the thought of watching the pageant live but of course I was open to the idea and really wanted to experience a really big part of Ericka’s life first-hand. But I can honestly say that it turned out to be really fun and interesting to watch! Ericka and her husband hooked us up with seats in the second row and after a couple of bets that involved consuming alcohol on who would win the whole shebang, I decided that this was not so bad after all! We also caught the Blue Man Group show over the weekend where we got to meet the blue men and talk to them afterward. I think the best one word description of the show is -confusing. If that description piques your interest than you should check it out and let me know how you would describe the show. Aside from all the fun and debauchery the Amazing Race fam took some time out to help build homes in Las Vegas for Habitat for Humanity. A huge group from the Miss America Organization piled into a bus and really put in some good work for a great cause. I really had such a great time with everyone and I am so glad that so many of us from the show have stayed close since because they are really amazing people and I am so fortunate to have them in my life.

I really need to wrap this up because after being home for only a few days, it is back to Vegas for me for a week this time around for some more of mixing business with pleasure! First on the agenda is my good friend and fellow poker player Vanessa Rousso’s birthday bash so I can only imagine that it will be a very long night. Then on Saturday I will be playing in a celebrity charity tournament at The Hard Rock Casino that is benefiting the Sharon Osbourne Colon Cancer program. And of course, Sunday is the Super Bowl and although I have no real rooting interests in either team, I have to pick one because it is obviously more fun to watch that way. So I will have to give it to the Saints, because after spending time in New Orleans for the first time a few months ago, I really fell in love with that city and the spirit of the people there. So WHO DAT? WHO DAT? WHO DAT SAY DEY GONNA BEAT THEM SAINTS? Haha.

Wait, I saved the best for last. I can’t leave out the fact that this Wednesday, February 10th, live from Las Vegas and the Orleans Arena will be the Harlem Globetrotters, with special guests Maria and Tiffany! Yep, that’s right, Tiff and I will be suiting up and joining the Globetrotters in some basketball shenanigans! For those of you who don’t know, two members of the Harlem Globetrotters were on the Amazing Race with Tiffany and I this past season and we have been invited to join in their show! I am really excited and looking forward to this really cool opportunity and if nothing else, I am going to have fun with it. Get your front-row seats now cuz I am sure you guys won’t want to miss this! But really, cross your fingers that I won’t be completely embarrassed out there on the court! www.harlemglobetrotters.com/news/index.html

Check out my “Poker Mind” interview with Amanda Leatherman. www.pokerroad.com/inside_the_poker_mind/maria_ho/

Building for Habitat for Humanity in Las Vegas

Meeting the Blue Man backstage (L-R Meghan, Cheyne, Blue Man, Brian, Ericka, Sam, Dan, and me)

My fellow racer ladies at Eve Nightclub in City Center.

After the Finish Line