Billy Argyros isn’t a household name, but “The Croc” has long been one of the most dangerous players in Australian poker. In a career that spans more than 20 years, Argyros has been a terror in Australian cash games, particularly those in Melbourne casinos.
Argyros first became serious about poker after losing in home games to his friends. Determined to become a winner in these games, he studied up on poker strategy and soon realized he could not only beat his friends, but that he was also a strong enough player to win at low-stakes tables around Melbourne. Before long, he moved up to the high-stakes tables, and when he kept winning, he never looked back.
Of course, winning in cash games isn’t the quickest route to poker fame, as most of the attention from fans goes to major poker tournaments. Argyros has never been the most prolific tournament poker player, but he has had a few notable cashes in the World Series of Poker, finishing 15th in the 1995 Main Event. In total, he has cashed six times at the WSOP, making one final table. He also has one World Poker Tour cash, finishing in 22nd place in the 2003 Bellagio Five Diamond World Poker Classic.
The famous nickname used by Argyros may sound intimidating, but it actually has a funny story behind it. While playing in a World Series of Poker satellite, he found himself at the same table as the legendary Johnny Moss. When Moss asked who he was, Argyros introduced himself as “Crocodile Billy,” a reference to the then popular Crocodile Dundee movies. The nickname stuck, and has been used by Argyros ever since.
But even in tournament play, Argyros is something of an Australian legend, having cashed in dozens of tournaments in Australia and New Zealand. He is a mainstay on the Australia-New Zealand Poker Tour, and is frequently seen at the Aussie Millions, as well as other tournaments and series throughout the country. While none of his cashes are large by today’s standards, he has numerous final table appearances and has won at least eight events in his career in Australia or New Zealand. Overall, his steady tournament play has earned him over $960,000, good for 15th on the Australian money list.
Argyros’ success in cash games and his prolific presence in regional tournaments made him an easy pick for the Australian Poker Hall of Fame. He was one of the first members of the inaugural class of 2009-2010, alongside such luminaries as Joe Hachem, Jeff Lisandro, and Tony G.