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All-Time WSOP Circuit Ring Leader Maurice Hawkins: "I Am The GOAT"

The 13-Time WSOPC Title Winner Discusses His Dominance On The Circuit


Maurice Hawkins is the most accomplished World Series of Poker Circuit player ever. With $1,701,912 in WSOPC earnings and 13 gold rings, he is both the money and title leader for the tour.

Hawkins has held the earnings lead for a while now, but only recently took down his 12th and 13th titles to climb to the top spot on the gold ring leaderboard.

The 39-year-old has accumulated just shy of $3.7 million in lifetime live tournament earnings since making his first cash in 2005. Hawkins is off to a particularly strong start in 2019, having already made 10 final tables and won two titles this year. He currently sits in 43rd place in the Card Player Player of the Year race, which is sponsored by Global Poker.

We recently caught up with Hawkins at the 2019 Card Player Poker Tour bestbet Jacksonville $1,100 no-limit hold’em main event. Hawkins went on to finish seventh in the event from a field of 329 entries, notching his 86th career final-table finish.

In the interview, Hawkins discusses his dominance on the WSOP Circuit, how many rings he thinks he will end up winning, his poker goals, and much more.

Card Player: When you won your 12th ring over a month ago to tie the record, you gave a quote saying, ‘It’s not really about the top spot. I still got the most money earned, most everything on the WSOP Circuit.’ Now you stand alone with the most rings as well. Would you feel comfortable in saying you’re just the best player out there in terms of WSOPC accomplishments?

Maurice Hawkins after winning one of his 13 WSOPC titlesMaurice Hawkins: Oh, I’m the GOAT, period. I mean the thing about it, is if we’re talking about the circuit, I have the most rings, the most money earned, the most charisma and the most personality, the most known, the most table presence. I’m the most. I’m Mr. Most. On the circuit, I’m Mr. Everything. I think that’s just a subset to my life. I think life is about knowing how to stay relevant and stay successful. I’m successful. Numbers prove I’m successful. I played big events. I got fourth in the WPT Borgata main event. I got 16th in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure main event. If I played the PCA everyday, I’d probably be the best at the PCA. But I play the circuit all the time. It’s just that I play that the most.

CP: How many rings do you think you can win in your career?

MH: I don’t know. If I really tried to, I could probably win one ring per stop. I play about six stops a year. So six a year.

CP: Ok, so if you had to project the future, do you have a goal number you’d like to hit?

MH: No. I just want to make $50,000 a stop. That’s really my goal.

CP: For many pros, they’ll tell you it is all about the money to them, while some others say that they do care about the accolades like rings or bracelets. Where do you fall on that spectrum?

MH: To be honest, I really didn’t give a damn about the rings until two or three years ago when I got second to a guy and then everybody was making a big deal out of it. And one guy told me, verbatim, ‘I’m glad you lost.’ Then I started to care because I saw how important it was to everyone else. I’ve always set out just to make money. To make money, to blow money, to live on money. That’s just my goal.

So the rings just kinda come. Now that it’s gotten a life of its own, I think I can use it as a tool to show everyone who I am, to basically make a statement to show the world that I am the greatest of all fucking time. So I don’t know what else I can do.

‘He doesn’t play all the high rollers.’ Okay. I played a high roller. I went one series and got second in a short deck event. I went to the PCA and I went deep in that. I played only a couple of WPT events and I got a fourth. It’s not really about the tournaments I play; it’s about the tournaments I play over a period of time, over and over again. That’ll allow me to show them who I am and what I do.

CP: Do you have any tournament in particular that you think, “Okay, I want to win this one.” The obvious choice, of course, is the WSOP main event.

MH: Realistically speaking of, I’ve neglected myself in the last five years at the WSOP. By the time the main event comes, I’m tired and I literally want to go home. That might be a personality flaw, but I get tired of playing poker. But, [of course] I want to win the main event, point blank.

CP: Are you looking to schedule things out better this year so that you’re more ready for it?

MH: I’m going to make sure that I am in a position to win the main event. In the next four years, I will make a deep run to have a shot at winning the main event, if not this year. That’s my goal. But that event only happens once a year. That’s the messed up part.

Hawkins at the final table of the CPPT bestbet Jacksonville main eventCP: As the GOAT of the WSOPC, are there any other players grinding that tour whose game you respect?

MH: Yeah, there was a kid that I just was looking at results for, Nick Pupillo. I’m not his friend, but we’re cool, and I’m really impressed with the year he’s having. (Authors note: Pupillo has made six final tables and won a Heartland Poker Tour title.) I didn’t notice until I clicked on his name and I was like, ‘Oh wow, this kid is literally having a great year.’

CP: You and Pupillo are both in the top 50 in the Card Player Player of the Year standings. You’ve made ten final tables that are POY qualified, and won two titles. But high roller regulars dominate the top of the leaderboard. Given that the fields are smaller in those high-stakes events, do you think that a circuit grinder could still win the POY award while the super high roller scene continues to thrive?

MH: I thought about this actually last week. It’s skewed toward high rollers. If they want to say the player of the year is the person who plays the most high rollers, then I guess I think they should have their own separate POY, personally. And I’m not talking about one being more prestigious than the other. I’m saying separate POYs. A high roller POY, and real roller POY.

How about my 2016? I would have been POY, big time. But I don’t play high rollers on the regular. I’m not disrespecting anybody. Even when I say GOAT, I’m not trying to say that another person is lesser than me. I am saying that I will put me up against any motherfucking person in the world. It doesn’t even matter who you are. So I’m not neglecting these people. I’m just saying that I know who I am.

CP: What about you as a person or as a player has helped you to reach that level? Is there a mindset or a particular skill that makes you successful?

MH: Yes. When you need money and you have to believe in your talent, you show up. When you know that you need to provide for your family, you show up. The greatest times I ever had in my life was when I was on the bottom and I locked in and showed everybody who I was, point blank. And then to get to a place where you’re successful and you remember that feeling, or that thirst or that hunger, and you can tap into that place, that makes you successful.

I don’t want to ever want to have to worry about sleeping on my friend’s floors, or asking somebody for $500 and feeling less than a person when they bring it back up in your face.

CP: A lot of tournament poker professionals these days seem to be utilizing solvers, software that helps players work on playing a Game Theory Optimal (GTO) strategy.

MH: I use none of that.

CP: None of that?

Hawkins after winning his record 13th gold ringMH: I trained myself, and a couple of people have helped me along the way. Kyle Bowker, he really helped me with my turbo game. Back in the day, Allie Prescott helped me with my mid-range game and a lot of other people help me here and there. I’ve called up people like Matt Glantz. I used to email him here and there whenever I thought about a spot. Cary Katz has sat down with me and we talked strategy here and there. There are multiple people. I’ve taken from all different types of people, all aspects, all walks of life and it developed my game, and I’ll put it up against anybody in the world, point blank, for any amount… if I can afford to buy in.

One thing I’m not doing is dealing with any backers for the rest of my fucking life. Just none. Ever. Nothing. I’d rather not play than have somebody have a piece of me or have a smart ass comment trying to act like they were the reason I got to where I got to. Point blank. It’s going to be all me. I don’t want to deal with the headache. I don’t want to text you my receipt. I don’t want you trying to act like that. You were disrespectful, and then I responded, and now I’m scum? I don’t want to have anything to do with that shit.

CP: If you win, you want to be able to say…

MH: That’s mine. I want all of me. I don’t want anybody sitting on my rail pretending to be my friend patting me on my fucking back. You see me win the main event, know I got 100 percent from here on in.



3 years ago

Wow, this guy makes Phil Hellmuth look humble.

If he's the GOAT why isn't he playing the high rollers?

Seems to me that question should have been posed to him in this interview.


3 years ago

wow!this guy is a asshole and is a big bluffer.
I knocked him out in a game one year ago. such a shriker!