A two-year old staking dispute between poker pro and World Series of Poker Circuit event destroyer Maurice Hawkins and attorney Hal Lewis that became a legal battle has ended amicably, according to recently filed court documents.
The issue goes back to early 2016 when the two men met in Jacksonville. After they got to know each other, Lewis, a partner at the law firm of Fonvielle Lewis Messer & McConnaughhay, agreed to stake Hawkins in a 50-50 deal. Some of that deal included buy-ins for World Series of Poker tournaments; Hawkins did horribly at the WSOP that summer, cashing for less than $900.
The details at the time were up for dispute, as both men had differing tales, but from the stories about the lawsuit last year, it seems that Hawkins was on a terrible run and told Lewis he wanted to cancel the rest of the backing deal and return the $22,788 that he had left. But Hawkins was initially unable to do so, as he went on what sounds like an emotional gambling fit, losing the money outside of the staking deal.
Lewis said Hawkins never paid him back and at the time claimed that even when Hawkins was winning, he wouldn’t pay up.
“So let’s just say that as soon as Maurice started winning decent scores, he had excuse after excuse as to why he couldn’t pay me,” Lewis wrote on Two Plus Two. “He then said he just wasn’t feeling it and wanted to end the arrangement. I decided that was in our best interests because he was unreliable and I had heard from other people that he sold over 100% of himself multiple times in different tournaments and quickly busted out to pocket the extra money.”
In any event, I told him I needed my $22,000+ back right away and he told me that would be impossible because he’s broke. I was shocked and angry and disgusted. I have text messages where he claimed he owes me but gambled blackjack and lost. After I kept pressing, he had the nerve to call me a bully and claim he owes me nothing. He is a piece of **** and just an awful awful human being. As I researched him further, I have heard stories about him that would make me puke. He has cheated so many people out of so much money and he does it in the poker community. That’s why I am suing him.
In a Miami Herald interview, Hawkins disputed the non-payment story, saying he gave Lewis a cashier’s check for $10,000 and used the rest of the money for buy-ins, per the staking agreement. Before all of this, he had already won Lewis more than $120,000 through their financial relationship.
All That Angst for Nothing
Fortunately, a year after the suit was filed, the men have realized their hostilities stemmed from a misunderstanding, so the legal battle has come to an end. In the recent court filing, Lewis explained:
At the end of our [business] relationship, I thought Maurice Hawkins and I were participating in a tournament which he thought I was not staking him. There was a misunderstanding due to a number of miscommunications between us. This resulted in mistakes and errors in the accountings between us where I thought he owed me money and he thought he did not. We have resolved this amicably, and I have nothing but good things to say about him, his having made me a considerable amount of profit from the relationship we had together.
As mentioned, Maurice Hawkins is one of the most dominant players in WSOP Circuit history. He is second all-time with 11 WSOP Circuit rings (Valentin Vornicu leads with 12) and is the all-time earnings leader with $1,458,476. Hawkins ranks seventh with 69 lifetime cashes on the Circuit.
Lead photo credit: @mauricehawkins Twitter