Billy Baxter

Billy Baxter

A poker biography of Billy Baxter.

Quick Information

Name - Billy Baxter

Born - In 1940, Augusta, Georgia

Poker Room - Not Available


Inducted in the Hall of Fame in the summer of 2006, Billy Baxter is an old hand in playing poker. At present, 66-year old Baxter has shown no interest in quitting his career as a professional poker player. When most people his age are thinking about their retirement and their life after it, Billy Baxter is still playing his number one love- poker. A Georgia native, Baxter currently resides in Las Vegas with his three children, and wife for almost 30 years, Julie.

As the tender age of 14, when other teens were busy in school and probably discovering the sweetness and pains of puppy love, Baxter discovered a different kind of love- gambling. He found out that he has a gift for intense, aggressive, and concentrated pool games. As a result, he was able to save $5,000 through pool games two years after he started playing. At 18, a barely legal Baxter made his way to taverns and discovered poker.

From then on, there was no stopping Baxter. After his honeymoon in Hawaii in 1975, he and his wife traveled to Nevada. For nine months, the newlyweds lived in a hotel while Baxter earned their living through poker games. It was during these times that he met other poker legends such as Puggy Pearson, Doyle Brunson, and finally Stu Ungar.

Billy Baxter soon became a renowned poker player and his popularity intensified when he beat Stu Ungar during the 1997 world championship where he acquired his third WSOP bracelet. To date, he has seven World Series of Poker (WSOP) golden bracelets to boot. These were earned from the following tournaments: 1975 $1,000 Deuce to Seven, 1978 $10,000 Deuce to Seven Draw, 1982 $10,000 Deuce to Seven Draw, 1982 $2500 Ace to Five Draw, 1987 $5,000 Deuce to Seven Draw, 1993 $5000 Deuce to Seven Draw, and the 2002 $1,500 Razz. Baxter follows Johnny Moss with 8 Golden bracelets, and Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth, and Johnny Chan with 10 golden bracelets each.

Though Baxter became popular for beating Stu Ungar, he would always be remembered for beating not any famous World Champions, but the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It was in 1980s when Baxter fought one of the greatest battles of his life. It was the same battle that would make all poker players grateful to Baxter.

The IRS insisted that Baxter's $1.23M gambling income from 1978 to 1981 must be considered as "unearned income" and taxable at a 70% rate. Therefore, he owed the IRS $178,000 for all the time he was paying under the 50% tax bracket. His accountant advised him to pay IRS, but at the same time, file an objection. Baxter sued the IRS for the return of his money. He argued in court that his money was 'earned income' like wages, and must not be considered under the 70% bracket. It was just the same like when a golfer earned his money through the effort of winning in the golf course. He insisted that poker must be put under the bracket the same with any other sports and games and considered as a legal way of earning money. The long battled ended up with Baxter savoring the victory. Consequently, poker is now a legal profession in the U.S, and poker players are paying taxes under the 50% bracket. Poker, as well as most poker players owe Baxter big time for this triumph.