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Fourth WSOP Circuit Ring For Maurice Hawkins at Palm Beach Kennel Club

Largest career score for Hawkins, $183,498

Maurice Hawkins picked up the largest score of his poker career today, winning $183,498. He also collected his fourth WSOP Circuit ring in one of the biggest events of the season. He defeated local poker dealer Juan Restrepo heads-up, overcoming a 2:1 chip lead in the process. Restrepo earned $114,224 for second place.

It was a great event for Hawkins to win too, as he triumphed in one of the largest fields of the season to take one of the biggest paydays outside of the Circuit Main Events. The $580 buyin opening event at the Palm Beach Kennel Club Circuit series boasted a $1 million guarantee that the site, once again, easily surpassed thanks to a grand total of 2,531 entries and a prize pool of $1,265,500.

It all started six days ago with the first of five starting flights. Hawkins played Flight A and at the end of the day was second in chips behind six-time WSOP Circuit ring winner Ari Engel. He then had three days off before Day 2 began on Sunday. The five starting flights over four days drew a total of 2,531 entrants, only 318 of whom made it to Day 2. By the time the fifth and final starting session wrapped, Hawkins ended up sixth overall in chips.

When they reached the final table late on Day 2, Hawkins was in a similar position as the previous night — sixth of the remaining nine players with only 1.46 million — fewer than 15 big blinds. Juan Restrepo was the massive chip leader with 11.7 million — more than onethird of all the chips in play.

“I was money jumping at first,” Hawkins said. “Picking my spots,” and letting other players bust out, so he could move up the pay scale. But he was, “always in it,” he said. He caught a couple of key doubleups, then busted 5th place finisher Jermie Anderson in a coinflip with pocket 9s against Anderson’s KT offsuit. That hand put him in good shape with 7 million chips.

After Restrepo dispatched their other two opponents, they were heads up with Restrepo holding a 2:1 chip lead, 20 million to Hawkins’ 10 million. It took less than an hour with the blinds at 80k/160k and Hawkins chipping away at Restrepo’s lead. On the final hand, the flop was A Q 9 and Hawkins shoved. Restrepo called allin, showing A8 for top pair. Hawkins had him beat with AQ for top two pair. The turn was an 8, giving Restrepo a second pair and glimmer of hope, but the river was a 6 and it was over.

In addition to the prize money and ring, Hawkins also earned 50 points in the Casino Champion race and toward the National Leaderboard. He takes the lead here at Palm Beach Kennel Club and plans to take the Casino Champion title. His next event will be Event 6 tomorrow, the $365 Six-Max NLH event.

Hawkins graduated from college with a major in biology and minor in chemistry and had been accepted to medical school out of the country, but he had a new son and didn’t want to leave. He decided to give poker a try, since he could always go to medical school later. All these years later, he is “still paying the bills with the game I love”. This is his largest single career win and puts his lifetime earnings over $1 million.

The decision to pick poker over medicine has boded well both monetarily and when it comes to Hawkins’ jewelry collection. One of the top Circuit performer’s in the tour’s history, Hawkins’ fourth ring puts him in the company of other notable four-time winners Men Nguyen, Peter Ippolito, Caufman Talley, and Michael Souza.

EVENT 1 2/5/14
BUY-IN $580
PRIZE POOL $1,265,519
1. Maurice Hawkins . $183,498
2. Juan Restrepo . . . . $114,224
3. Michael Manticoff . $86,965
4. William Navarro . . $67,147
5. Jermie Anderson . . $52,227
6. Michael Amato . . . . $40,939
7. Jon Godwin . . . . . . . $32,346
8. Jesse Fulmer . . . . . . $25,753
9. Joseph Klima . . . . . $20,678
13. Pablo Eggarter . . . . $13,541
14. William Bymel . . . . $13,541
15. Vincent Fiorenza . . $13,541

EVENT 2 2/6/14
BUY-IN $365
PRIZE POOL $1,265,519

1. Chan Pelton . . . . . . $12,181
2. Jeffrey Green . . . . . . $7,528
3. Dennis Van Dingenen $5,434
4. Gregory Masterson . $3,993
5. Bob Oxenberg . . . . . . $2,985
6. Sean Remz . . . . . . . . . $2,269

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