Poker pro Billy Duarte dies

Pot-Limit specialist Billy Duarte died on Monday at the age of 68 after battling cancer.

Duarte was mainly a cash game player but had done well in tournaments the past few years, making it to the final table of several large events. This year alone he made it to the final table of two World Series of Poker (WSOP) events.

He came in eighth in Event 22, $2,000 No-Limit Hold'em, which was eventually won by poker phenomenon Jeff Madsen, and came out in ninth for Event 27, $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em. He previously made the final table at a WSOP in 2003 when he placed third in the $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha event.

Duarte, also known as "Boston Billy," started his poker career playing draw poker, then changed to No-Limit and Pot-Limit poker games. He preferred Pot-Limit because he believed its structure required the most skill.

The long-time poker pro who'd been playing poker nearly his entire life, had amassed more than $600,000 in tournament winnings over the past few years in both Pot-Limit and No-Limit Texas Hold'em and Omaha.

Like a true pro and poker enthusiast, Duarte gave himself one more chance at another tournament win just a little more than a week before his death. He played in the Festa al Lago Seniors Event on Oct. 12 at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, and though he didn't make it into the money, he provided a great example of how life should be lived.

Scott Fischman once said in an interview, "I want to be like Billy Duarte and Doyle Brunson. What better way is there to remain mentally stable and enjoy life?"

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