Maria Ho and Lupe Soto Inducted Into Women in Poker HOF

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Maria Ho and Lupe Soto Inducted Into Women in Poker HOF

The Women in Poker Hall of Fame is turning 10 years old this summer and fittingly two incredibly distinguished members joined its ranks this week. Maria Ho and Lupe Soto both carved out very unique and distinct legacies in the poker world and have blazed trails for women interested in the sport the world over.

Major Star Gets Well-Deserved Nod

Ho is one of the more recognizable female faces in professional poker and she’s built quite a name and winning reputation for herself to go with that familiar face.

The Arcadia, California native was born in Taipei, Taiwan and has amassed $2,803,728 in total live earnings over a distinguished career. She’s still going strong, too, most recently taking home $20,253 this week in a $10,000 Limit Hold ‘em World Series of Poker Championship event.

Ho ranks 77th on the Hendon Mob’s popularity index and that could partly be due to her long track record of success. She’s racked up four WSOP cashes, been to four WSOP final tables, six World Poker Tour cashes and one WPT final table.

She’s additionally become very recognizable on television as a host and personality even starring in the 15th season of the Amazing Race and even appeared as a panelist on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360.

Despite being told most of her life that pokers was a “no-girls allowed” type of industry, particularly when she was younger and in college, she took that challenge as extra motivation to push past the competition.

“I’m the kind of person who’s driven by doing the things that people think I can’t do. I’ve always gravitated towards the unconventional, maybe because of my fairly strict upbringing; that and the challenge of finding success in this male-dominated industry, are some of the reasons I was so drawn to it in the first place.”

Soto Recognized for Unheralded but Important Work

Soto’s total winnings are numbered at just $2,996 with just four cashes in her life as a poker player, but she’s a major player in the legacy of poker in the United States and around the world. Her contributions have been much more behind-the-scenes as she was one of the founders of the Women in Poker Hall of Fame.

Soto literally helped write the book on women’s poker, or rather wrote a major part of the organization’s mission statement: that the Hall of Fame commemorates “women of outstanding performance in the poker world. Its purpose is to enhance awareness and celebrate contributions and achievements of women in poker as recognized and respected representatives and proponents of women in poker.”

Linda Johnson, member of both the WiPHoF and Poker HoF, presented Soto with the award at Tuesday’s ceremony and championed her incredible legacy.

“If this was jeopardy, and the answer was Lupe Soto, the question would be, ‘Who has done the most for women in poker over the last twenty years?’ What she did for getting women involved in poker is amazing. It was a place that women could go to play and where they could meet like-minded players, and for many women, the LIPS tour is their first exposure to live tournament play.”

Soto’s own speech reflected on just what makes women such capable poker players touching on certain feminine qualities and motherly instincts that give strong women players an edge. For one she credited women knowing how to “read their children” or “read their partners” when their words and actions may not be lining up with intent.

“I think that women get a lot out of the innate things that we possess. They can make money. And they can create some phenomenal relationships, and for me, that’s the most important part – the relationships and the friendships and the industry as a whole, just what a wonderful sport it is to be in.”

Hall of Fame Going Strong After Decade

The WiPHoF was established in 2008 and is described on its website as designed to honor women in poker who have acquired prominence and have made contributions to the poker world. But honoring deserving candidates is only part of what the organization does.

The Hall of Fame aligns with Poker Gives a powerful charity organization that “provides financial aid and humanitarian efforts to military families and homeless vets through the support of the poker industry.”

As an all-volunteer organization, the website claims that many individuals, businesses and industry professionals have contributed and still contribute their time and talents to make the Hall a success.

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