Adrian Lovin Sorin Speaks: Says He Thought 'N' Word was just 'Dirty', Not 'Racist'

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After being disqualified from this year's World Series of Poker Main Event for having used a racial slur against a fellow African American player, Adrian Lovin Sorin speaks for the very first time. WARNING: OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE APPEARS BELOW

Sorin, who speaks little English, is accused of calling African American player Maurice Hawkins a "nigger".

The Italian-Romanian spoke exclusively to

He tells the website it was all meant to be a "joke".

How it All Began According to Sorin

“All the others have buried me but the reality is not exactly what Hawkins has told. Several things have happened before that episode that led to my ban.

“At the poker level we were in the tournament bubble, 203 in the prize and 240 left, I was in 15th place. I had thrown Hawkins for three hands in a row as it opened at random, with hands like 7-4 offsuited. I played in position on him, 3-bet and he did not like it. At one point opens with K-K on my bb, I defend with K-10 to hearts. The flop is A-3-3 with two hearts. I check, he c-betta 3/4 of the plate and I pusho direct.

“I played for 60,000 in that hand, on bui 200/400. He thinks and passes by turning K-K, when he finds out that I have K-10 going haywire. He was left with 10 big blinds.”

Sorin claims Hawkins, who has a reputation for abusing others verbally at the tables, made some unflattering comments towards him.

“He started to say certain things to provoke me. I did not answer and put the chips in the stack. The WSOP blogger arrived to score the hand and asked for the name. So far everything okay. Then an Italian blogger arrived and we started talking in Italian. At that point Hawkins asked the blogger: "How do you say" kiss my ass "in Italian?"

“At that point, after having been provoking me for some time, I no longer held up and told him: ‘What's up nigger?’

“For me it was nothing but a way to ask him: 'Hey, what's going on? Do you bother having lost the pot?' It is not true that I told him 'Shut up, nigger '. In any case, at that point, the word has happened.”


A number of players sitting nearby confirmed Sorin's account that he did not tell Hawkins to "shut up" and, indeed, did say "what's up".  But this was hardly the language that got Sorin booted.

It is unclear if Sorin had meant to use the word "Nigga", which is considered a more affectionate term of endearment used by both caucasians and African Americans.

When asked if he understood the serious nature of what was said, Sorin admits it was wrong but unintentional.

"Now I realize it but in my 'ignorance' I did not really believe it could be a racist insult.

"I thought it was just a dirty word, but I swear I did not want to be a racist.

"Since he wanted to say "kiss my ass" in Italian, I wanted to answer him with a term that I knew is very used in America."

Sorin then goes on to compare Hawkins reaction to that of Neymar flopping around and simulating injury in the World Cup.

"This behavior of his immediately put the table against me."

The confusion surrounding Sorin's punishment is understandable as he claims not to have initially been banned.

“The floorman made me get up and called the boss. He arrived, they talked and then I was told that they would punish me with two levels of penalty.”

Banned for Life

Not until the next day did Sorin learn he had been disqualified from the main event after taking his seat at the table.

"The dealer asked for my card and when I showed it, security guards arrived and took me to the WSOP boss office, Jack Effel.

"There were 5 or 6 bodyguards behind me and in front of me Effel. He tells me in a very fast American, that I can not understand well, that he and I alone can not say anything. He does not want to hear my opinion, he just wants to let me know that I was disqualified from the tournament and banned for life from the casino."

Sorin says that Hawkins' continuous tweeting about what transpired must have changed Eiffel’s mind.

Sorin also confirmed he is banned for life from World Series of Poker American events.

"I say it again: I was wrong and I apologize to Maurice Hawkins. But it was a mistake of ingenuity, I'm not a racist and I did not want to offend him by the color of his skin! That term for me was a dirty word like another, like saying 'asshole'."

- Nagesh Rath,