Professional poker player Maria Ho has a schedule that is so busy that most of us would get dizzy just thinking about it. Currently ranked the 3rd best female poker player in the world, she has racked up over $2.6 million in poker earnings. She is the only poker player in history to be the Last Woman Standing at the World Series of Poker – three times. Maria is also the co-host and commentator on the Heartland Poker Tour. She is the first female in history to be hired to a poker TV broadcast team as the strategic commentator. She is also a private coach, a celebrity spokesperson for WinStar World Casino, and a columnist for Bluff Magazine. And if that were not enough, Maria competed in season 15 of The Amazing Race and was a contestant on American Idol.
Despite long hours at the poker table and long flights from one city to the next, Maria has made her health and wellbeing a top priority. I had the opportunity to chat with her about her healthy habits, including how she stays fit (and sane) while being constantly on the go.
She explained to me that many people don’t realize that poker players must have stamina and endurance to stay energized through what could potentially be up to twelve hours a day at the tables. An early morning workout gives her the energy boost and endurance needed to get through those long days of intense concentration.
For fitness, Maria prefers hotel gyms for cardio, and she keeps a variety of websites and videos bookmarked for in-room workouts and yoga. She also utilizes YogaGlo.com for both yoga and meditation.
Speaking of meditation, Maria does a daily practice of meditating to quiet her brain and clear her mind of potential distractions. She prefers a guided meditation which helps bring her to a heightened place of clarity, focus, and awareness.
What does a professional poker player eat to stay healthy and energized? Maria has found that starting her day with a green juice and light protein (such as a hard boiled egg) keeps her feeling invigorated. Generally, the rest of her day consists of small healthy snacks and a salad with light protein for dinner. She also tries to limit her carbohydrate intake, particularly in the evenings.
Maria’s priorities don’t stop at her own health. She also invests in the health of others. She is an advocate for the National Kidney Foundation, a cause that is near and dear to her heart. A believer that is vital for women to lift each other up, Maria also supports causes that benefit single mothers and domestic violence survivors.
After having a rare few days of time at home this month, Maria is ready to take off again for a World Poker Tour event followed by announcing the Heartland Poker Tour. Curious, I asked Maria what she likes to bring with her as she travels the world. Her answer included a yoga mat, a small air purifier, and personal comforts to help her sleep. She is also an avid reader, keeping one book on hand for some light escapism and another to stay focused on her craft.
Wherever she is at, and whatever she is doing, Maria Ho is doing it with her priorities in tact. You can learn more about Maria at http://mariaho.com/ or by following her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/mariaho.
Photo credit: Bobby Quillard