Council Bluffs, Iowa (April 6, 2016) -- Maurice Hawkins has just won the 2016 Horseshoe Council Bluffs Main Event to become the seventh player in WSOP Circuit history to win six career gold rings. This is his first Circuit Main Event victory and second gold ring of this series. Last Thursday Hawkins won the series’ Monster Stack event to capture his fifth gold ring.

Coming into today, the third and final day of the WSOP Circuit Main Event at Council Bluffs with six players remaining, Hawkins was guaranteed a min cash of at least $21,489, but he had his mind made up that he was going to take this down. On April 6th, Hawkins had predicted on Twitter that he would win two tournaments in the month of April. Not only did he do just that, but he actually went two-for-two in the series, as the Monster and Main were the only two events he played.

Hawkins can credit some of his success at this series to changing up his style of play. He describes his new style of play as “smart” compared to his old style of “erratic.” He said that he feels confident going into the summer with the money from his recent wins, as well as his newly refined style of play.

One could argue that Hawkins's road to this victory really began mid day on Day 2, after he took down an 820,000 chip pot with pocket aces against T.M. Williams's pocket sevens.  When asked about how that particular pot changed the course of the game for him Hawkins said, “I was thinking that there was no way in hell that I could get the amount of chips needed to win the tournament at whatever level it was, because my chip lead was massive. Even if I won a 100 or lost 50, I think losing 50 would be more hurtful than winning 100 [would be helpful]. I was just focused on not losing pots.” 

Hawkins's strategy of not losing pots obviously worked, as he entered Day 3 second in chips behind Ryan Phan. Josh Turner entered the day in third place, but ended up getting eliminated in 6th place after getting it all in with    against Ryan Phan’s    prefop, and the board ran out jack-high. Bob Slezak was eliminated in 5th place ($28,177), and Maxx Coleman was eliminated in 4th place ($37,533) just ten minutes later.

Finishing third place was Mike Lang. This was the second consecutive year Lang reached this event’s final table. Last year Lang finished runner-up to Michelle Chin for $54,468. These two cashes are the only two of his WSOP career and are worth more than $105,000.

Heading into heads up play, Phan had Hawkins nearly four to one in chips. Within thirteen minutes, Hawkins doubled after turning Broadway to bring it closer back to even. And just 30 minutes after that, the story changed drastically when Hawkins won a monster pot to take the chip lead from Phan after turning a full house, and Phan turned trip fives. Phan never recovered from that pot, and Hawkins went on to claim the title after hitting a three outer on the river holding    against Phan’s    on a       board, the final hand of the tournament

“I feel great,” says Hawkins. “I feel really great about life.”

Hawkins has reason to feel great after winning $113,152, and his sixth gold ring. When asked what he plans to do to celebrate his answer was simple, “I am going home.”

A total of 321 entries turned out to play this Main Event, nearly 100 more than last year's Circuit Main Event here. The field was not lacking in some big name poker players. Rex Clinkscales, Alex Masek, Ari Engel, former November Niner Dennis Phillips, three-time Council Bluffs Main Event Winner Blair Hinkle, and many others all showed up to take their shot at winning the coveted title.

Notables cashing in this event included Joshua Turner (6th - $21,489), Ryan Tepen (11th - $8,460), David Cossio (16th - $5,797), Neil Scott (19th - $4,902), Ray Henson (20th - $4,902), Ting Ho (21st - $4,902), and Allen Kessler (33rd - $2,875). Kessler’s min-cash in this event marked his third cash of the Series. When he was eliminated from the Main, he quickly jumped into Event #12 ($365 No Limit Turbo), where he went on to make his fourth cash of the series, after only playing five events total.

In addition to $113,152 prize money and the coveted ring, Hawkins has earned a free entry into the 2016 WSOP Global Casino Championship. Every Main Event winner and Casino Champion at each of the 2015-2016 WSOP Circuit stops receives a free entry (valued at $10,000) that features a minimum prizepool of $1,000,000. Hawkins was in contention to win this stop's Casino Champion.  However, the Main Event winner gets no additional points, and as a result Josh Turner, who took 6th in the main will take the title of Casino Champion. 

Here are the final table results from the Circuit Main Event at the Horseshoe Casino.

1 – Maurice Hawkins - $113,152
2 – Ryan Phan - $69,962
3 – Mike Lang - $50,813
4 – Maxx Coleman - $37,533
5 – Robert Slezak - $28,177
6 – Joshua Turner - $21,489
7 – Daniel Shea – $16,645
8 – Mike Vanier - $13,087
9 – Jose Mendoza - $10,444

A list of full results are available here.