– General Information –
Maurice Hawkins is an American professional poker player. He was born on February 2nd, 1980.
He’s best known for winning more WSOP Circuit rings, 14, than any other poker player in history. Overall, he’s cashed for $4.1 million in live tournaments during his career.
Hawkins is one of the most successful African-American poker pros out there. At the 2018 WSOP, there was a great scandal about one of his opponents’ calling him a racial slur at the table which ultimately led to a disqualification.
– Key Career Dates –
- 2004: He starts playing poker regularly in Florida land casinos after an injury forces him to end his football career prematurely.
- 2016: He wins the $1,675 NLHE Main Event at the Cherokee, NC stop of the WSOP Circuit for $279,722. That is his biggest single live tournament cash to date.
- 2017: He wins his record-breaking 10th WSOP Circuit gold ring after finishing first in the 2017 Horseshoe Council Bluffs Main Event for $97,561.
– Maurice Hawkins’s Career –
→ Beginnings ←
Hawkins got into the Alabama A&M University on a football scholarship. He ended up switching schools and transferred to Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida.
In Florida, he sustained an injury that ended his football career. He ripped his hamstrings while chasing a gunman in the college dorm.
That injury ended up leading him to find poker in his life. In 2016 profile piece on cardplayer.com, he recanted his start at the poker tables as such:
“Right around that time, I was on crutches. I knew I had to do something because I was losing my mind with boredom. So I went into a casino, the old Seminole casino, and started playing cards. They used to have these Omaha Sit&Go’s where they would stop play after 50 hands and the winner was whoever had the most chips. Then, as the poker boom happened, I started playing more No Limit Hold’em tournaments.”
His first big break happened in a $1,000 tournament held in Florida called “The Big Slick”. The name of the tournament refers to the nickname for the hand Ace-King suited. Hawkins took third place for $21,000.
He took his newly inflated bankroll to the Bahamas to play in one of the biggest poker festivals, the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure.
→ Live Tournaments ←
Maurice Hawkins’ Hendon page shows $4.111 million in live tournament earnings. He amassed that over the course of 15 years and 273 ITM finishes in different tournaments.
The first recorded result on his profile is from the 2005 PCA. He took 69th place in the $10K Main event for $11,600. The $21,000 score in Florida that he talked about in his article with Cardplayer Magazine is not listed by the Hendon Database.
He started playing WSOP Circuit events in 2008.
The WSOP Circuit is a year-round event series, managed by the World Series of Poker, that has stops all across the United States. They sometimes put on tournaments abroad as well.
Circuit events tend to have smaller buy-ins than the “regular” summer WSOP in Las Vegas. They also receive less media attention as well. Instead of bracelets, WSOP Circuit champions are awarded rings – just like Super Bowl and NBA championship winners.
Maurice Hawkins has the most WSOP Circuit rings in history, 14. He won his first one in the 2008/2009 season in Atlantic City, NJ. He won the $560 No Limit Hold’em event for $48,360 in December 2008.
His record-breaking 10th ring came in April 2011, after he finished first in the $1,675 Main Event in Council Bluffs, IA for $97,561. Since then, he managed to add 4 more to his collection, the latest in January 2020.
In April 2016, he won his 7th WSOPC gold ring in the $1,675 Main Event in Cherokee, NC for $279,722. That is the biggest single live tournament score of his career to date.
On top of his 14 victories, he managed to make it in the money in 96 other WSOP Circuit events. Overall, he has 110 cashes in the World Series’ year-round tourney series for $1.993 million combined.
Hawkins has some big scores from outside the WSOPC as well.
In September 2018, he came in 2nd in the $10,000 Short Deck Hold’em event at the Poker Masters for $115,500. In September 2015, he finished 4th in the $3,500 WPT Main Event at the Borgata for $220,258.
→ World Series Of Poker ←
Despite his historic victories at the WSOP Circuit, Hawkins hasn’t actually won any WSOP gold bracelet so far.
However, he does have 29 ITM finishes in WSOP events and a total of $623,240 in cashes combined.
The closest he came to a bracelet was a final table appearance at the $1,500 Monster Stack event in 2017. He eventually finished in 6th place in a gigantic 6,716-player field. He won $213,591 that day, which is his biggest payday from the summer World Series.
Hawkins has a couple more deep runs in tournaments with monstrously large fields.
In 2014, he came in 9th in the $1,500 MILLIONAIRE MAKER for $128,150.
In 2017, he had another 9th place finish, that year in the $2,620 NLHE event called The Marathon. He won $54,356.
His long poker career can also boast a cash in the WSOP Main Event. In 2012, he finished 271st out of 6,598 players and cashed for $38,453.
I took a picture and they let me go home with alittle Money. I called my shot and earned a ring.#Hawksview#Winning pic.twitter.com/cy2UiR7Blv
— Maurice Hawkins (@mauricehawkins) April 8, 2016
→ Live Cash Games ←
Hawkins has always been more of a tournament player than a cash game player. This holds true even to the very start of his career, when he was playing Sit&Go’s in his local land casino in Florida.
In February 2018, he appeared on PokerGO’s revived version of Poker After Dark. There, he played a live streamed session of $25/$50 No Limit Hold’em cash game with a $100 big blind ante and $20,000 minimum buy-in. He was faced with such opponents as Antonio Esfandiari or Mike Dentale.
Chillen in the Light of Day. Waiting to play on Poker After Dark.LFG#HawksView pic.twitter.com/BdihMC5mse
— Maurice Hawkins (@mauricehawkins) February 21, 2018
→ Online Poker ←
Maurice Hawkins has played on the live felt exclusively during his professional poker career. There’s no accounts on any poker site that is known to be affiliated with him.
→ Scandals ←
The racial slur incident at the 2018 WSOP
This incident took place in the $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event at the 2018 World Series of Poker.
Hawkins was drawn to the same table as Italian poker player Sorin Lovin. According to Hawkins’ account, the two have been sparring back and forth with banter.
When two of Lovin’s friends came over to the table and started pointing at Hawkins, the American poker pro yelled “Yo, tell me how to say kiss my butt in Italian”. To which Lovin replied by calling Hawkins a racial slur.
Some witnesses claim he said “what’s up, ni***r”, while Hawkins claims he heard “shut up, ni***r”.
Evidently, calling an African-American the n-word is beyond a social taboo in America. The dealer called over a floor person and Lovin received a penalty.
However, Maurice Hawkins, who ended up busting the tournament shortly after, wasn’t happy with the decision. He took to social media to criticize the WSOP for not taking enough of a punitive action.
His complaints were heard. The VP of the World Series of Poker, Jack Effel informed Sorin Lovin before the start of Day2 that he had been disqualified from the tournament.