Staking Lawsuit Against Maurice Hawkins Withdrawn, Cooler Heads Prevail
More than two years ago, poker pro Maurice Hawkins entered into a staking agreement with attorney Hal Lewis. The deal went sour and a year later, Lewis sued Hawkins and lambasted him on Two Plus Two. Fortunately, they have cleared things up and Lewis recently called off the suit.
Hawkins has seen a lot of success in live tournaments, winnings eleven World Series of Poker Circuit rings (second all-time) and earning nearly $1.5 million on the WSOP Circuit alone (tops all-time). He met Lewis in Jacksonville in early 2016 and the men agreed on an arrangement where Lewis would stake Hawkins for a 50-50 split of the winnings.
Hawkins had a terrible run at the WSOP that summer, only managing less than $1,000 in earnings (and obviously bought in for way more than that). Upset with how things were going, Hawkins wanted to cancel the deal and give Lewis back the remaining $22,788.
From there, the two men had differing stories. Hawkins told the Miami Herald last year that he had already won Lewis more than $120,000, gave him a $10,000 cashier’s check and used the rest of the $22,788 for tournament buy-ins, as the staking deal would have him do.
Lewis, on the other hand, said that Hawkins wouldn’t pay him back, even when he was winning.
“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 said in a Two Plus Two screed. “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,” Lewis added, “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.”
So, Lewis sued Hawkins. Yay.
Recently, though, and likely to both men’s great relief, they realized that it was all simply a misunderstanding and that everything was copacetic. Lewis withdrew the lawsuit (or whatever it is one does to cancel such things), saying in the court filing:
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.
Hopefully if they ever form a staking relationship again, they will have better records of their communications.
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