Lupe Soto and Maria Ho were announced today as this year’s inductees into the Women in Poker Hall of Fame (WiPHoF), capping a two month-long nomination and voting process. The two women will be honored in an induction ceremony on June 26th at the Orleans Casino in Las Vegas. Tickets to the event cost $55 each (it is a luncheon ceremony, so attendees will have some good eats), with proceeds going to PokerGives.org.
The poker public was able to submit nominations for the WiPHoF Class of 2018 via the Hall’s website for the first two weeks of March. Eligibility requirements to be considered were:
a) A candidate must have been active as a player or industry leader for a minimum of 10 years prior to nomination and 35 yrs of age or older.
b) Player/industry leader must have contributed to the world of poker in some significant way. For example, a candidate may qualify by either winning major poker tournaments, gained prominence through their poker success, or by making significant contributions to the industry of poker.
c) Player/industry leader candidate must be a proponent of women in poker- i.e.: refrain from publically criticizing women’s tournaments.
d) All nominees must be approved by the Organization Committee and current Hall Members.
The nominees were reviewed the WiPHOF Organization Committee and current Hall of Fame members and the list was whittled down to eleven finalists:
Now, my colleague Earl Burton was one of the media members (along with living WiPHoF members) who were given a ballot to cast (and I loathe him for it). He apparently doesn’t know what he’s doing, as none of the four women upon whom he bestowed his approval were elected. Now, he DID say that Lupe Soto would be one of the winners, along with Jennifer Tilly, so he was right there. And he DID say that Maria Ho and Kara Scott would be elected someday, so he was also right there. But look, let’s face it, his votes didn’t end up counting for anything.
Rather than rewording everything, here are the bios of the two newest members of the Women in Poker Hall of Fame, straight from the WiPHoF website:
It’s fitting that the Hall in its 10th Anniversary year inducts its Founder, Lupe Soto. She has been an advocate for women in poker for close to two decades. Coming from an online poker background in the late 90’s, she became aware of how many women were playing the game from the comfort of their homes. Yet, in land based poker rooms, it was very common to be one of the very few women sitting at a table. In efforts to increase women’s participation in poker, she created the first online poker forum for women back in 2002 and followed it up with a poker tour dedicated to women, Ladies International Poker Series (LIPS) in 2004. She has worked tirelessly to create opportunities to introduce women into the game with a myriad of programs. She also conceived the Hall which has honored 17 other women to date for the significant contributions to the poker world. “I am so excited to be included amongst these amazing women. The ballot this year was filled with some of the most respected and well deserving women in the game. All of them should hold a place in the Hall and I’m sure one day soon, they will!” Said Soto when learning of her selection. Soto currently is the CEO of Senior Poker Tour, and the Founder & Executive Director of the newly established Women’s Poker Association (WPA), a non-profit member based organization to advance the development of women in poker.
Maria Ho is a record-breaking professional poker player, TV personality, Ambassador and host/commentator. This is her first year to be eligible for the Hall and was easily selected for induction as she has sky rocketed to success in all areas of the game. She’s currently ranked fourth on the GPI among female poker players in the world, and is 10th on the female all-time money list with over 2.7 million dollars in earnings. She was the first female in history to be hired to a poker television broadcast (HPT) as the resident strategic commentator. She has also been seen on the Emmy Winning 15th season of The Amazing Race, as well as on ESPN as part of the broadcast team for the WSOP Main Event in 2017, and currently co-hosts WPT’s King of The Club on Fox Sports Net. When notified of her selection, she said “Wow! What wonderful news to receive! I am honestly incredibly shocked and beyond honored to hear this”. Maria was globe-trotting in the Netherlands attending the WPT festivities there when she was notified.
Congratulations to Lupe Soto and Maria Ho on their well-deserved honor!