WSOPC Cherokee: Hawkins wins 16th ring for $259K

Maurice Hawkins Wins WSOP Cherokee Main May 2024
Terrance Reid
Posted on: May 14, 2024 17:54 PDT

The top of the WSOP Circuit overall ring leaderboard just got even tighter.

Veteran Circuit grinder Maurice Hawkins secured his 16th ring by winning one of the biggest events of every season: The Cherokee Main Event for $259,160. Hawkins seems to thrive in the North Carolina casino as he placed third there during the same event last series for $178,870 in February. 

Hawkins separated himself from the others in third place on the leaderboard — Dan Lowery and Josh Reichard — each with 15 rings. Hawkins now sits solo in the second spot, just one behind Ari Engel.

Hayley Hochstetler

WSOP Cherokee Main Event final table results

Place Player Prize
1 Maurice Hawkins $259,160
2 Matt Higgins $160,176
3 James Caldarero $117,850
4 Chris George $87,721
5 Kris Duren $66,066
6 Derek Nold $50,352
7 Michael Lawrence $38,840
8 Mark Merritt $30,327
9 Trace Henderson $23,973
10 Dylan Kahn $19,189

A hot start set the tone

Hawkins came into Day 3 fourth of nine in chips. However, the very first hand set the tone for his charge to victory. Hawkins sat down to pocket kings while Trace Henderson held pocket eights. The two got it all in before their seats were even warm, and Hawkins scored the early knockout.

That wasn't the only early knockout in store. Mark Merritt entered the day as the table short stack. After securing one ladder thanks to Henderson's ill-fated start, he moved all in with a dominated ace. Once more, it was Hawkins with the best of it holding big slick. Hawkins couldn't have asked for a better start

Maurice Hawkins Maurice Hawkins Hayley Hochstetler

Two players were gone before James Calderaro arrived — ten minutes late for the final table.

Praise from a legend

Josh Arieh fired a few bullets into this same event. He made waves on X when he gave credit to Hawkins' game.

Arieh may have dominated the pool hall back in the day, but Hawkins is clearly at home on the felt of Cherokee and the WSOP.

A friendly heads-up match

Hawkins ended up heads up with five-time ring winner Matthew Higgins. The two of them were friendly and bantering throughout the event. In fact, they shared drinks the night before and predicted the eventual heads-up match.

"This is the first time that I got heads up with somebody and. I really wanted both of us to win somehow," said Hawkins. "I really love Higgins. It was kind of emotional, which I don't have many emotions, to be heads up with one of my good friends."

The winning moment

Hawkins was honest about what it takes to take down one of these massive multi-table tournaments.

Maurice Hawkins and rail celebrate his victory Maurice Hawkins and rail celebrate his victory Hayley Hochstetler

"Realistically, every time I got out of line I got lucky," said Hawkins.

Despite his attributions to luck when out of line, big hands and good play led to Hawkins' 16th ring. Watch the final hand of the event where Hawkins once again held a dominating ace and flopped Higgins in a world of trouble.

All photos credit: Hayley Hochstetler with 8131 Media for