Just a few weeks ago, Maurice Hawkins was telling the world his plan to win $7 million this summer at the World Series of Poker. Now he’s not only planning on that, but he’s going to take down Player of the Year and the Main Event in the next couple of weeks.
But first he’s one of just 20 players left in the $1,500 Monster Stack on Wednesday.
“I’m just chilling ready for Round 2. Back to the same position with the same amount of chips, ready to make it happen,” said Hawkins, referring to his previous deep run in the $2,620 Marathon. Hawkins is unbagging 3,500,000 on Wednesday. He’s more than happy to play with that stack and not yet worry about how much money he can make by laddering up a spot or two – yet.
“I don’t look at pay jumps unless I get real short, which is kind of strange. I’m still comfortable with 10 – 15 – 20 bigs, I’m not looking at the pay jumps, but if I get down to like six, seven bigs or something like that, I start wondering like, ‘okay, if things don’t go right at least I can gain another $50,000’,” said Hawkins. “As long as I’m in the tournament, it’s not a problem, but with six bigs I try to start to finesse my way into more money. Because it’s the only time that you can make $20,000 just by being smart about it.”
Being one of the first two to bust out on Wednesday means Hawkins walks away with $37,831, but maneuvering his way to the final five guarantees him at least $281,800. And winning it means he’s got his first seven-figure score, $1,094,349. That 3,500,000 stack gives him 29 big blinds, just a touch under the 5,000,000 chip average .
“That’s comfortable. I mean, every tournament comes down to 20 bigs, if you have 20 bigs, you’re more like average, if you have 30 bigs, in most tournaments, you’re above average, when you get up to the 40 or 50 bigs, you know you’re the chip leader,” said Hawkins. “I’m right where I’m comfortable. It’s pretty much right there for the taking. Yesterday I came in and got the full double on the third hand and was chip leader for the next four or five hours, at this point anything is anything.”
Hawkins is coming back to a stack that big after doubling up towards the end of play Tuesday. The double up wasn’t all he got though.
“I doubled the last hand of the night off that Scott Baumstein guy. He went through all the hands I could have and then told me how bad I was and then he called. So I got his chips and a lesson from him, which was kind of impressive,” said Hawkins.
After his now infamous confrontation with Tim Reilly during the Marathon, Hawkins has found a very different vibe over the last three days of the Monster Stack.
“Actually, everybody loves me at the table, this whole tournament. Probably the most pleasant tournament I’ve ever played. Most people are either admirable of my achievements, they tell me how great the things I’ve done are, or a couple of people this is their first deep run, they were happy to be there with me, taking pictures and things. It’s really a totally different experience,” said Hawkins.
No matter where he finishes, Hawkins is guaranteed his fourth cash of the 2017 WSOP. He had the one deep run that ended in ninth place, but likens the last few weeks to a baseball player just settling in for a long season.
“Have you ever seen a great baseball hitter? They go 0-for-9 or 0-for-10 and then they get that first base hit. And that first base hit turns into a double, and then another double and then a home run and next thing you know they’re just swinging it out of the park like they know they can do it. They know what is in them. And with me, I know a champion is within me and I’m just waiting on that moment for me to shine, for it to come out,” said Hawkins.
Almost 2/3 of the way through the WSOP schedule, Hawkins says he’s not tired or in need of a rest. He does have to leave Las Vegas for a couple of days in early July for his sister’s wedding, but other than that plans on playing as much as he can. He’s realized there’s another incentive waiting for him.
“I was looking at this (Player of the Year) thing, and if I win this, I can actually win the POY. I guess I have to win this and just win the main, and I’ll be POY, and I’ll have a lot of money,” said Hawkins.