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Billy Baxter - Lowballing the IRS
PokerListings.com sat down with Mr. Baxter on a break from the Main Event where he was still holding on to a seat with just 150 players left to find out what he's thinking about and whether all these players he's sharing the felt with remember just what he's done for them.
You've got only around $150,000 in chips coming back after the break. Is there a strategy to this kind of short stacked play or do you just shove with any Ace?
I'm card dead right now, I'm getting 2-3 and 3-4 and that's about as good as I can get right now.
You'll have to stand right behind me if you want to see because I'm about ready to get it in with just about anything.
Some players might decide to tighten up to move up in the money, are you thinking along those lines at this point?
That doesn't mean anything. We're playing for $8 million. Moving up in the money $5,000 is not even worth thinking about. All my money will be in the pot in the next round. With or without a hand - I'll find something to put it in there with. I'd like to catch something, but when you can't catch anything you just can't sit there and blind and ante yourself to death.
Are you a big fan of the Main Event or is this thing just a crap shoot?
This tournament in my opinion is the best tournament you could ever play in, because there are so many people that want to play now that you run across a lot of really bad players. All the best ones are in there too. And that's what gambling is about; Trying to get the best of them all.
You have seven WSOP Bracelets and more than $1.5 million in career tournament winnings already, the question is; Do you play for the glory of WSOP Gold or cash?
I always play for the money. I never even used to play the Hold 'em events, Lowball was my best game so I kind of boycotted the Hold'em events in the past. I really haven't been playing Hold'em for that long, but it's so popular right now you have no choice. This is where the money is.
You're the guy who first backed Stu Ungar and you have an arm full of bracelets proving you are a veteran of the WSOP, do any of these young up and comers recognize who you are?
I was away from poker for a long time and I'm kind of like an old dinosaur so a lot of people don't know who I am still. Some people recognize me, but I don't even think about stuff like that. I play poker for money, not fame or recognition or to get on TV.
Part of your legacy is that you successfully fought the IRS to make poker earnings part of regular taxable income here in the US driving the tax rate on winnings down from 70 per cent. Every player who cashes in the WSOP should be thanking you for that. You must find the odd player who is thankful for that?
A lot of people do say something about that. Back then in the 80s they were already taking 50 per cent, that was when income taxes were around 50 per cent and then they wanted another 20. So we paid the tax and then sued the government to get the money returned. We felt like we had a good case and obviously we did.
But there are not too many players that remember that. They just kind of take it for granted because they never knew anything about the other kind of taxation. They just sort of say 'Oh, I Didn't even know it used to be that way.'
We didn't see you around at too many events in the 2007 WSOP, have you been playing a lot?
I don't play in a lot of events anymore. You know my thing was always Lowball and a lot of these games they didn't even have them back when I was playing - in the middle ages. Like Omaha, nobody used to play that. Since I started back playing poker they've got a lot of new games.
One new thing is all the Online play, do you play over the Internet at all?
I've played a bit Online at Doyle's Room and you know what, you see so many hands, you can play so much. I think it's one of the best learning tools ever invented.
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It didn't take long after the break for Mr. Baxter to find a hand to shove with and unfortunately he did bust. He picked up about $60K for his time, not bad for a Lowball player slumming it with a few Hold'em types. Plus, thanks to Baxter's own efforts in the past, he won't be paying 70 per cent tax on that cash.
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