There were many amazing performances last week including Phil Hellmuth besting Mike Matusow in heads-up play in the World Poker Tour L.A. Poker Classic $1,100 Omaha Hi-Low/Stud Hi-Low event and Gerret Van Lancker shipping the Unibet Open London 2017 Main Event.
However, Maurice “The Hawk” Hawkins outshined both of these performances by winning the final WSOP Circuit gold ring event at Palm Beach Kennel Club in the $365 No-Limit Hold’em event for $13,567 on Feb. 20.
What makes this monumental is that Hawkins’ victory earned him his ninth WSOP Circuit ring of his career, which tied him for an all-time record with Alex Masek as the circuit’s all-time leader.
To add to Hawkins’ big week, he was also honored at the American Poker Awards by winning the Breakout Performance of the Year after dominating the World Series of Poker Circuit in 2016 for four rings, including three Main Events for $581,000. Hawkins was also nominated for the Tournament Performance of the Year, however, Ari Engel earned that honor thanks to winning the 2016 Aussie Millions Main Event for A$1,600,000 ($1,120,110).
According to his WSOP player profile, Hawkins has earned a remarkable 42 cashes in WSOP Circuit events to bank a healthy sum of $1,042,917. In addition, the American poker player notched up 17 cashes in WSOP bracelet events for $323,311. His combined WSOP cashes of $1,366,228 represents more than half of his $2,383,549 in poker tournament earnings recorded by The Hendon Mob.
Hawkins is a seasoned poker player, having played live poker tournaments for more than a decade. His first recorded cash came in the 2005 PCA Main Event where he took 69th place for $11,300.
It was almost four years before Hawkins notched his first win. In December 2008, Hawkins grabbed his first win and his first WSOP Circuit gold ring at Harrah’s Atlantic City Casino when he won the $560 No Limit Hold’em event for $6,720.
In the coming years, Hawkins won three more WSOP Circuit gold rings before his breakout year in 2016 when he snagged four more. He also became the first person to win back-to-back WSOP Circuit Main Events when in April 2016 he shipped the WSOP Horseshoe Council Bluffs Main Event for $113,152 and the WSOP Circuit Cherokee $1,675 Main Event for $279,722.
Hawkins, known for his table talk, believes that not many players give him the respect he is due even after his success in the past year. However, this does not seem to bother him and perhaps now his opinion will change after he was honored at the American Poker Awards and entered his name into the WSOP Circuit history books.
“I’m a good dude,” Hawkins said during an interview. “Most people are pompous assholes. And I really don’t give a damn if they like me or not. We’re from two different places. I’m not taking anything from them, but I’ve earned everything I’ve gotten in my life. If they don’t like me, they can really kiss my ass. I would rather be under-respected and overpaid than over-respected and underpaid.”
The race is now on for who will be the first poker player to win the 10th WSOP Circuit gold ring.