Greenstein is an atypical poker player, not just because he plays at a level, both financially and skill-wise, that few other players
can match (or don't even aspire to), but because he uses his poker skill to do something besides just "play poker".
My first memories of Barry were when we both played in San Jose circa 1990. If you read the rest of this site you will see that I
emphasize discipline and self-control, and consider them just as much a part of the game as what you do with AJ in first position.
Barry was one of those guys who played marathon sessions. There is an inevitable resulting diminishment of ability when you play long
hours with your brain and body tired. At the same time though, poker is about edge, and Barry's own diminishment of skills was small,
while his opponents tended to suffer a far greater fall off, with the resulting tendency to tilt of their money.
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In the mid-1990s the World Series of Poker stopped offering an Ace-to Five Lowball event, so the Commerce Casino offered its own
Lowball World Championship. I was coaching my friend Charlie Sayles in that event -- despite the fact that he had never even played
Lowball before in his life! I kept beating "never draw two, never draw to an eight, except in the big blind" into his head. As the
event progressed I told Charlie: that those simple rules would change once he got to four or five people at the final table; that only
when the match got head-up would the game get really complicated; and that the player we did not want to face head up was Barry
Greenstein, even though he had been up for twenty-four hours. Sure enough, Charlie, with his whole ten hours now of experience gets
head up with Barry, and the second or third hand was a killer. Barry took a chunk of Charlie's chips when he (Barry) re-re-raised
before the draw, causing Charlie to break his pat JT754 (as I recall). Charlie drew two, caught a king and folded. I started hopping
up and down and told Charlie "Barry will snow you from either position at least until you catch him doing it." ("Snowing"
means to stay pat and not draw cards even though you have a random hand of paired cards... in others, stay pat on a bluff.) Sure enough,
Barry told me afterwards that he had no hand. Charlie just needed to play the jack pat and he would have taken a significant lead, but
instead the tables were turned. (The match was basically decided later when both players made a six, but Barry's was a notch better.)
While it certainly wasn't Barry's finest moment as a player to beat a guy who never played the game before(!), it was a testament to his own
skill and stamina as a player -- not to mention he managed to win the event even though the first prize wouldn't even make him even for the day!
Barry donates all his tournament winnings to charities shown on his
official site. Amazon.com sells Barry's book Ace on the River.
See also an article about a hand Barry played on
TV, and Shirley Rosario's
Barry Greenstein profile in
Danish, plus the
Barry Greenstein Team Pokerstars bio and Poker Pages
Barry Greenstein tournament results