In the Netherlands, professional poker players Tiffany Michelle and Maria Ho were eliminated from the CBS reality series “Amazing Race” when the duo was unable to complete either side of the leg’s Detour. The last women standing in the 2007 and 2008 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Events sat down with Poker News Daily to recap their journey.
Poker News Daily: Congratulations on finishing sixth in the 15th cycle of “Amazing Race.” The show was filmed during the WSOP Main Event. How do you feel now after watching it unfold on television?
Ho: It definitely took some time after the fact to cope with, but watching it on television was hard for both of us. We’re living it and feeling those emotions all over again.
Michelle: We made it so much further than we thought we would. At any point, we were willing to accept our fate.
PND: Several in the poker community have labeled the Netherlands’ Detour as sexist due to the presence of a high striker and whipping winds at the golf course. Do you agree?
Ho: From a production standpoint, it’s so hard for them to come up with all of these tasks. We’re not going to call it unfair. All we knew is that we gave it everything we had, but what we had wasn’t enough to complete it. In golf, the elements were too much to overcome. For us to try the high striker 70+ times, it obviously wasn’t the easiest thing to do. It might have come off like we didn’t give it our best shot, but we did.
Michelle: We spent three hours giving each side of the Detour a decent shot. If you can’t finish a Detour, you got a penalty of 24 hours. At one point, EMTs had come out and assess that we weren’t getting hypothermia. Either way, we knew it would be tough to come back from that.
PND: What was the most memorable part of the race?
Ho: Every moment was memorable. We got to go to so many good places and do things that we would never be able to do under normal circumstances. It was memorable when we got a four-hour penalty after losing two tourists and also had a speed bump to overcome. I feel like people were going to count us out and we wanted to show that we could compete, so we gave that next leg of the race our all. It was so great to come in the middle of the pack on that leg.
Michelle: Any time I was able to do a challenge that the guys were doing, like in the Dubai desert, it was incredibly rewarding.
PND: Was it tough seeing that two Harlem Globetrotters were among your competition?
Ho: We definitely tried to size them up a bit based on what we saw. Once we got to know who they were, they didn’t physically intimidate us. It’s not always about being the strongest or the fastest.
Michelle: We started calling them the “Lakers” because they looked like basketball players. We knew that they were going to have a lot of strength physically, but we could use our intelligence and creativity to counteract that.
PND: Do you feel that you represented the poker community well?
Michelle: All that we can represent is ourselves. It’s a big burden to take the poker community on our shoulders. A lot of poker didn’t come into play and this is a very physically intense game. All that we can hope is that our friends thought well of it. All we could do is represent Maria Ho and Tiffany Michelle the best we could.
PND: Are you changed after this experience?
Ho: The “Amazing Race” was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It’s life-changing in the sense that you get to push your limits physically, emotionally, and mentally. This race gave us both the opportunity to do that. Given any situation we encounter, we know what’s inside of us and what we’re capable of. In addition, the bond between Tiffany and I will last a lifetime. We were close friends leading up to this race and there’s nothing like having a person to lean on.
PND: The finish line of this installment of “Amazing Race” is in Las Vegas. How disappointed were you to hear that given you’re both professional poker players? Also, who’s your pick to win?
Ho: You have some strong teams left. Sam and Dan are tough boys. Meghan and Cheyne won a lot of legs. The Globetrotters have been in it to win it. Matt and Gary have sneaked by. Any of the last five teams are going to be tough competition. We got so close with those top teams. We’re excited to see how it ends.
Michelle: This was ours to lose. Las Vegas is our second home. It’s a place we’re very comfortable and familiar with. It broke our hearts that we couldn’t be a part of it. Lady Luck was on our side for parts of the race. If we made it that far, we would have given the other teams a good fight to the finish.