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Poker Couple Maria Ho and Rainer Kempe Strike It Big in South Africa

Rainer Kempe and Maria Ho
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  • Maria Ho and Rainer Kempe won $178,794 in prize money while at the WPT DeepStacks Johannesburg.

The World Poker Tour DeepStacks continued its international leg over the weekend at South Africa’s Emperors Palace Hotel Casino Resort. It was there that poker power couple Maria Ho and Rainer Kempe – who were guests of Shuffle Up Poker South Africa – laid claim to three titles between them.

For Ho, she topped a 387-entry field to win the $1,000 buy-in WPT DeepStacks Johannesburg Main Event for $69,166. The win, the third of her storied poker career, brought Ho’s lifetime earnings up over $2.7 million.

Ho: “I have played a lot of WPTs, so it’s nice to come here and take one down."

On the final day, 29 players returned to action with Ho, who this summer was inducted into the Women in Poker Hall of Fame, in the chip lead. She maintained it all the way to the final table, where she would notch three knockouts before making it to heads-up play against Riyad Khan.

In the final hand of the tournament, Ho had doubled into a big lead when she shoved the button holding king-five offsuit. Khan called off with jack-eight offsuit. Despite flopping a gutshot, Khan failed to come from behind and had to settle for second place and $49,246 in prize money.

“I have played a lot of WPTs, so it’s nice to come here and take one down,” Ho told Royal Flush Crew’s Caitlyn Howe after her win. “It feels good to win. To be the final person standing in a tournament is what we do this for.”

Others to cash the tournament were Joseph Rahme (12th - $5,879), Uriel Levy (22nd - $2,905), Kenny Morgan (28th - $2,144), and Jason Strauss (36th - $2,144).

Maria Ho
Maria Ho won the WPT DeepStacks Johannesburg Main Event for $69,166

Official Final Table Results

PositionPlayerCountryPrize in ZARPrize in $
1Maria HoUnited StatesZAR 1,000,000$69,166
2Riyad KhanSouth AfricaZAR 712,000$49,246
3Justin UysSouth AfricaZAR 458,000$31,678
4Joe AbreuPortugalZAR 290,000$20,058
5Rob FennerSouth AfricaZAR 223,000$15,424
6George LevineSouth AfricaZAR 185,000$12,796
7Shadley AbrahamsSouth AfricaZAR 155,000$10,721
8Steven RadloffSouth AfricaZAR 127,000$8,784
9Jarred SolomonSouth AfricaZAR 101,800$7,041

Here’s a look at Maria Ho’s winner interview with Caitlyn Howe:

Rainer Kempe Claims Two Titles

Maria Ho’s significant other, Rainer Kempe, also had a big showing in South Africa winning not one, but two titles. The first came on September 30 when he topped a field of 15 entries to win Event #1: ZAR200,000 Super High Roller Freezeout for $81,270.

A week later, he was at it again, this time as one of 59 entrants competing in Event #5: ZAR20,000 Big Roller Semi NLH for $28,358.

“Spent some time in South Africa Taking home some trophies. Let’s hope I’ll get less hate for it than that dentist dude,” Kempe joked on Twitter after his wins, referencing the animal trophy hunting controversy in the mainstream news.

Between them, Ho and Kempe won $178,794 in prize money while in Johannesburg.

Rainer Kempe
Rainer Kempe won the ZAR200,000 Super High Roller Freezeout for $81,270

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