Who said 13 is unlucky? Maurice Hawkins won his 13th WSOP Circuit ring and his ninth since 2016. He's been on a heater the last four years. When it comes to the best players in the world that you never heard about, you have to bring Maurice Hawkins' name into serious discussion. The 39-year old Hawkins has been an absolute crusher of souls on the WSOP Circuit regional circuit. It doesn't matter if it's in Iowa, Florida, North Carolina, New Orleans, Atlantic City, or Las Vegas... Mo Hawkins will be one of the players to beat in that event. He's got "finishing skills" or the killer instinct. It's easy to build up a big stack in a tournament, but it takes a certain skill to put away your opponents at the final table as the game shifts from a full table to short-handed to heads-up.
Hawkins found himself in the winner's circle 12 times before his latest win in North Carolina. Last month, he tied Valentin Vornicu for 12 WSOP Circuit rings. Hawkins binked a $600 NL event at the Harrah's Cherokee in April by fading a field of 391 runners. He won $44K for that victory, which is almost a year's salary for many folks in the Carolinas.
Hawkins went to Tunica, Mississippi for the latest installment of the WSOP Circuit Tunica. Tuncia has always been a hotbed for poker in the south. It's fitting that Hawkins set the new record with his 13th Circuit win.
Hawkins faded a field of 432 runners to win the Tunica $400 Monster Stack event. He headed into the final table with the big stack, but overcame a heads-up deficit to defeat Hamid Izadi. On the final hand, Hawkins got it all-in with pocket Jacks against Izadi's Ace-four. Jacks Held up and Hawkins won $31,372 plus ring #13.
Hawkins cashed in his 90th Circuit event and his total WSOP Circuit winnings passed $1.7 million with. Although he cashed in 23 WSOP events in Las Vegas for $604K, he has yet to win a bracelet. He has 13 rings, but no wrist bling. Hawkins won $2.3 million in combined WSOP and WSOP Circuit tournaments since 2008. His biggest score to date is $279,722, which he secured after taking down the 2016 WSOP Circuit Cherokee Main Event in North Carolina.
Hawkins shared some of his outlook with the WSOP staff moments after his record-setting 13th victory on the WSOP Circuit.
"I made a conscious effort to play better. To be more focused, and to really value the opportunities and blessings that I have. I have the ability to play poker for a living, so I've been focusing on being a better person, on and off the felt and it's translating all over," said. Hawkins.
Look, say what you want about a $400 event. You still have to grind it out and go the distance. He has 13 rings, which is one for every finger and 3 of his toes.
Hawkins has always been competitive. He wanted to pursue a career in the NFL, but pivoted to poker after a freak injury. Hawkins played in the secondary at Alabama A&M University, but injured his hamstring while chasing a gunman that entered his dorm. While recovering from the hamstring tear, Hawkins began playing poker during the down time. He realized he had a knack for cards and reading people.
Hawkins won his first WSOP Circuit event in Atlantic City back in December 2008. He outlasted 312 players at Harrah's for his first ring and $48,360 in cash. The rest has been history. He won 13 rings and was a runner-up twice (in 2016 at Cherokee, NC and 2017 in Tulsa). 2016 was the defining year in his career with four rings. Hawkins won his tenth ring in Iowa in 2017.
"You either work for your future or regret you didn't," Hawkins wrote last month on IG.
That's what is special about Hawkins. His Instagram feed, @ambition1, has a tinge of Buddhism mixed in with a little New Age.
Hawkins also has the Joey Knish quality to him, which is the kind of unsexy life about being a true professional player. Hawkins might not be living the super balla life on Dan Bilzerian's yacht or fending off a bunch of Germans at a high roller event in Asia, but he still has to fight and claw his way to the winner's circle like everyone else. One hand, one bustout, one money jump at a time.
Maurice Hawkins – WSOP Circuit Stats
Circuit Rings Won: 13
Career Earnings: $3.7 million
WSOP Circuit Winnings: $1.7 million
Hawkins Ring Wins:
1. 2008 - Harrah's, Atlantic City, NJ
2. 2009 - Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, NV
3. 2009 - Horseshoe, Southern Indiana
4. 2014 - Palm Beach Kennel Club, FL
5. 2016 - Horseshoe, Council Bluffs, Iowa
6. 2016 - Horseshoe, Council Bluffs, Iowa
7. 2016 - Harrah's Cherokee, North Carolina
8. 2016 - Palm Beach Kennel Club, FL
9. 2017 - Palm Beach Kennel Club, FL
10. 2017 - Harrah's, Council Bluffs, Iowa
11. 2017 - Harrah's, New Orleans, LA
12. 2019 - Harrah's Cherokee, North Carolina
13. 2019 - Horseshoe, Tunica, MS