HomeBlogLegendary Poker Hall of Famer Billy Baxter Stages Epic Comeback at 2023 WSOP: Chasing Records and Inspiring Players

Legendary Poker Hall of Famer Billy Baxter Stages Epic Comeback at 2023 WSOP: Chasing Records and Inspiring Players

Posted on 26.06.2023 Posted Under: News

Billy Baxter, a Poker Hall of Fame inductee and seven-time bracelet winner, has made a triumphant return to the spotlight at the 2023 World Series of Poker. He’s currently competing in Event #48: $1,000 Seniors No-Limit Hold’em Championship, where he’s reached the final table. This comes on the heels of Johnny Chan’s surprising run for an 11th bracelet in the inaugural Big O tournament at the WSOP.

It’s been over two decades since Baxter’s last bracelet win in 2002, where he clinched the Razz gold. If he wins the Seniors event, it would set a new record for the longest duration between a player’s first and most recent victories. Baxter’s first win was in 1975, in the $5,000 No-Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball, 48 years ago.

Baxter’s prowess in no-limit lowball draw, where he won six bracelets between 1975 and 1993, is often overlooked by contemporary players. Despite the format being offered only sporadically, Baxter excelled in it, earning his Hall of Fame status and reputation. However, his most significant contribution to poker might be his legal battle with the IRS.

In 1986, Baxter challenged the IRS’s classification of his poker earnings as passive income, implying they were the result of luck rather than skill. This distinction had significant tax implications, leading to an additional $180,000 in taxes. Baxter paid the amount and subsequently sued, winning his case at both the district and appellate levels. His victory resulted in a change in how professional poker players could report their earnings, reducing their tax liabilities.

Now, Baxter is once again the center of attention at the Seniors event. His presence has left his fellow players in awe, with many hearing his poker stories for the first time. Despite some early setbacks, Baxter has managed to climb back to third place.

Another seasoned pro, Dan Heimiller, currently leads the Seniors event with thrice the chips Baxter has. However, Baxter remains a strong contender.

At 82, Baxter rarely participates in tournaments due to the physical toll of multi-day events. Despite this, he occasionally competes in select tournaments. In 2021, he not only participated in the Main Event but also cashed, finishing in 733rd place for $17,500. This achievement placed him in a select group of players who have cashed in a WSOP bracelet event in all six decades of the WSOP’s existence.

Baxter plans to participate in the 2023 Main Event and the upcoming $10,000 no-limit deuce-to-seven event. He might also join the Super Seniors if he gets eliminated from the Seniors before the final round.