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Poker News | People in Poker | Poker Superstars

Where Are They Now - Billy "the Croc" Argyros

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Where are They Now is a series of an in depth look at all poker players - not just the pros - as they travel through one long game. Some of the players profiled are deceased but not forgotten.

You may not have a clue as to who Australian poker player Billy Argyros is, but you should have no trouble figuring it out if you see him at a poker table. After introducing himself as “Crocodile Billy” during a satellite tournament for the 1989 World Series of Poker (WSOP), Johnny Moss dubbed him “The Croc,” and the name has followed him ever since. But even if you don’t get his name, his attire will give him away—always donning something in the image of a crocodile. It maybe a hat or shirt, sometimes both, pants and boots, he’s even been spotted kissing a stuffed animal crocodile in one of his jubilant moments.

Many players and fans think his sense of humor and boisterous attitude make him one of the most interesting and colorful players in the world, while there are some that wish he would take his reptile paraphernalia and slither off somewhere. Like him or not, Billy “The Croc” spells action, he loves to bet—whether it’s on the horses, in the sports book, at the poker table, or just on some senseless proposition bet.

He once bet the newly crowned world champion, Peter Eastgate, $10,000 that he could outlast him in the grand final of the Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) in Sydney, Australia. The young champion respectfully declined the bet—saying that he thought he was a looser player than Argyros and felt the odds of him busting out first was too great a risk to bet such a large amount of money on—even though he recently made more than $9,000,000 for his 1st place finish in the 2008 WSOP Main Event.

Although Billy’s first experience with poker was far from successful—losing all of his money during a home game at a friend’s house—he couldn’t walk away from the whole poker experience. He started visiting local casinos in Melbourne, playing low limit ring games until his skills and especially his reads on other players improved.

Argyros started cashing in ring games on a regular basis and decided to try his hand at tournament play. In 1989 he booked his first major tournament win, taking 3rd place at the All England No Limit Holdem Grand Prix in London, claiming a prize of $13,162. He continued to score in tournaments in Australia and London and he began making frequent trips to the United States.

In the early 1900’s “Croc” made numerous final tables, playing a variety of games in Las Vegas and Los Angles casinos. In 1991 he took 2nd place in the $200 Limit Holdem event at the Gold Coast Open (winning $10,606) and he placed twice—a 2nd and a 3rd—at the US Open for a combined total of more than $15,000.

Out of the 273 players who entered the 1995 $10,000 No Limit Holdem Main Event, Billy finished in 15th place, winning $24,220—Dan Harrington took 1st place, winning the gold bracelet and the $1,000,000 prize that came with it.

For the next 10 years Argyros traveled the world, cashing in more than forty tournaments and making numerous final tables, until on August 20, 2005 he found himself heads-up against fellow Australian player Arul Thillai. The heads-up battle for the $20,000 No Limit Holdem Crown Victoria Championships in Melbourne proved to be brutal, but in the end ‘The Croc” finished as runner-up, still scoring his best payday yet with a win of $96,812.

He took 1st place in separate HORSE events in back to back years: The $1,000 Poker News Cup in 2007 and the $10,000 Special Event at the Aussie Millions Poker championships—both in Melbourne—for a combined total of more than $85,000.

Billy won over $268,000 for his 4th place finish in the $10,000 World Championship Pot-Limit Omaha event at the 2008 WSOP and in 2009 he and other poker legends like Joe Hachem, Jeff Lisandro, and Mel Judah were some of the first members inducted into the newly created Australian Poker Hall of Fame.

So it seemed only fitting that on January 26, 2009 (Australia Day) the Full Tilt Poker Pro, Billy “The Croc” Argyros would win Event #18—2 Card Manila—at the Aussie Millions Poker Championships. The game is a Holdem variant relatively unknown to players outside of Australia—only 32 cards are used, with nothing lower than a seven left in the deck. The five community cards are dealt one at a time and there is a betting round after each card—both hole cards must be used to create the best five-card hand and flushes beat full houses.

The prize money was relative small by today’s standards ($12,815), but it was never about the money to Argyros, it was about the win. He got to claim the title to the last event of the series and put his finger through the last gold ring to be offered until next year.  As the excitement and glow of the Aussie Millions began to fade, Billy “The Croc” was riding high and ready to face any new challenge the new year would bring.
 
On February 9th of 2010 he took 6th place at season two of the PokerStars Australian New Zealand Poker Tour (ANZPT), barely notching out season one’s Player of the Year winner, Tony Hachem who finished in 7th place.

With more than twenty years of impressive tournament scores, including dozens of final tables, the fearless high-stakes and seasoned tournament player remains adamant that poker is not his career—just a game that he loves.

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