This week's 888poker featured hand from the World Series of Poker is more about what happened off the felt than what happened on it.
Let's lay some groundwork. It was Day 4 of Event #23: THE MARATHON - $2,620 No-Limit Hold'em, and the remaining 22 players were just about to head on their dinner break. The guaranteed payout at the time was $21,434, and there was $690,469 sitting up top for the eventual winner.
Maurice Hawkins and Tim Reilly got involved in a massive pot on the last hand before the break. Hawkins had a healthy stack with around 4 million, and Reilly had an average stack with about 1.2 million.
We were first alerted to the hand by Reilly on Twitter.
The PokerNews live reporting team ran over to the table to get the details. Here's how it all started:
Tim Reilly and Maurice Hawkins played an epic hand that resulted in Reilly doubling up right before the dinner break.
According to the players at the table, Jeffrey Turton opened the betting with a raise preflop to 65,000, and Hawkins three-bet to 155,000 with pocket aces. Reilly called from the button with the , and Turton folded.
When replaying the hand with Hawkins this week, he stopped us right here.
"The hand should never have happened," Hawkins said. "[Reilly] cold-called a three-bet out of the big blind for 20 percent of his stack with king-queen. It's not a good spot over the long run."
Reilly offered his own thoughts on the preflop action.
"The hand actually played out a little weird, because I didn't see the open [from Turton]. Hawkins had been sizing up on my big blind specifically, and he made it 155,000 with the big blind at 30,000. I assumed he was attacking my big blind again. I had king-queen suited in the big blind, a hand I'm never folding even to 5x. I'd probably still flat his 3-bet because the original opener didn't have a 4-bet bluffing range. I didn't see the open, thought we were heads up and as soon as I called and saw the other guy, I thought that it could go bad. He ended up folding, and we went heads up to the flop."
We go to the flop with Hawkins describing the action.
"Flop came , which is irrelevant because he should never have been in the hand. I bet 1/4 of his stack, and he called."
"The look of shock on his face was pretty amazing."
Reilly's thoughts: "I flop the nuts. At this point, Hawkins has been 3-betting pretty narrow with aces, kings or ace-king. I check to him, and he bets. I'm pretty sure he has either aces, ace-king, possible ace-jack. And of course, I call. "
The turn then brought the , thrusting Hawkins back into a commanding lead in the hand.
"I had a boat," he explained. "All the hands I have, they are boats. [Reilly] checked and I bet another quarter of his stack. Of course, he called.
Reilly had this perspective: "The turn was a jack, which I absolutely hated. Because he was either 3-betting light with ace-jack or he has aces, and he'll probably check back anything else. So I check there and he bets again and at this point I know I'm beat, but I can't fold the turn. I just hope that somehow he gives up on his bluffs or I somehow hit a miracle one-outer which is never happening - well, almost never. I'm probably going to have to fold to as strong river bet, which is unfortunate."
"But not this river," Reilly continued. "The gives me the royal flush. I check the river, and he shoves. At that point, I just snap-called."
Reilly reflected on the look of shock that Hawkins had on his face after the hand was over and he saw the royal flush.
"The look of shock on his face was pretty amazing. I'm not sure what he expects me to have when I call on the turn. Most likely I have a jack which gives me quads. He has the third nuts on the river at this point, and there aren't any hands that I'm going to call a river shove with that don't beat him."
The hand was over, but the real battle had just begun.
Hawkins: "Then [Reilly] looked at me and said, 'This ain't the circuit. Go back to the circuit.' That got me a little upset. I would have had six million in chips and finished in the top three of this tournament, no doubt."
"This ain't the circuit. Go back to the circuit."
"That was on a different hand," Reilly responded when we told him about Hawkins' comments. "I called with king-high on the river, and he had 4-high. After that hand, he said, "you're so bad, you're so bad." I replied, "This isn't the circuit buddy. So don't come at me and talk sh*t because I'm going to bring it right back at you."
So, what's the history here?
Hawkins: "I never met the guy in my life. Come to find out, he's a Twitter follower who's been kind of like a fan, so I guess he was caught in between trying to be a fan and who is truly is.
"He was making comments on my tweets, saying nice things and congratulating me when I won things. He was basically trying to get attention here and there, and I was responding.
"I didn't know it was him until I started to look him up and that's when I realized someone who I thought was one of my supporters basically lost his mind."
Reilly: "This guy just literally lies more than anybody I've met in my entire life. He knows who I am. He's not going to admit that because he's trying to belittle me. Whatever. We played together in PCA and I think he busted me in like 20th place. We've never had a confrontation, but he knows who I am. Normally, I just keep my head down, but I wasn't having it anymore. And no, I'm not following him on Twitter (Reilly shows us his Twitter account to confirm he is not following Hawkins).
Was there contention throughout the rest of the tournament?
Hawkins: "Yes, because every time I would lose a pot, he would say things like, 'Did you misread your cards? Did you not know you had two pair?' You tabled your hand real quick.' He said that after I lost a big pot on Day 5. We're playing for almost a million dollars, and he needled me after I'd lose."
Reilly: "The next day I came in after making a point of talking with my friends and regrouping. We're going for a final table, and if he wants to run his mouth and be like that, I'm just going to put my headphones on and ignore him.
"But I was running late, and I missed one hand coming in. And right when I got there he started. He said, 'We were going to wait for you, but we decided not to.' Stuff like that right away.
"I put my headphones on, and he immediately played a hand horrifically. He called the river and snapped the hand like he had the nuts. I said something like, 'Did you think you had top set there?'
"That was wrong of me. And as soon as I said it, I felt bad. He went up to his wife on the rail, and I went up and apologized. Let's just squash this right now. It's a big day for both of us. Let's play poker and leave the trash talk to the side.
"At that point he wasn't having any of it, saying, 'Hey, man you're a piece of sh*t.'
"He threatened me with, 'You don't know where I'm from and I'll see you outside the Rio.' The floor had to come over and started standing behind him. At this point, I'm not going to say anything. I had to start ignoring it because it was getting too far out of line."
Was this all part of the game? Was tilt coming into play?
Hawkins: "Now, I talk a lot. I don't get disrespectful to people, and I don't needle people after they lose. I'm trying to have fun at the table, and he took to a level where he's just disrespectful.
"He took it somewhere else because he's never been in a big spot. He's probably never been a star."
"Then he started saying things that weren't true about my character. And it got to a point where I let him know, 'you're a grown man, you need to chill out.' It's more like he was jealous of me and he just didn't know what to say. How about saying nothing. Just keep your damn mouth shut."
Reilly: "We developed a history during the tournament. He likes to talk at the table. I don't. But if someone's going to start chirping at me, I'm not going to sit by and take it.
"I don't think he's good for poker. He was bullying everybody. Trying to use his mouth and his angles and doing things that there just aren't any need for in poker. I don't think people that angle shoot and treat amateurs that way are good for the game. I don't like people being bullied.
"So I just stood up to it. I was bullied when I was younger, and there wasn't much I could do about it, but if someone is going to bully at the table, I feel like I can stand up for others. We're trying to move the game into the light and trying not keeping in the back rooms."
Both players offered their final thoughts on the hand and confrontation.
Hawkins: "The hand wasn't the catalyst. I wasn't mad at him for beating me in the hand. I was mad at him for saying, 'Go back to the circuit.' Then, of course, I have no problem going back to a place where I make half a million dollars a year.
"He took it somewhere else because he's never been in a big spot. He's probably never been a star. Sometimes when you get in a big spot, and you've never been there before, it can be a lot of pressure for someone who isn't used to it."
Reilly: "The cooler hand was a cooler hand, whatever. With the way he was playing, I would have still called his three-bet. It was the perfect storm for me to open my mouth.
"I do want to say that I apologize for getting out of line, in any way. It's just not my character at all."
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