Barry Greenstein is a professional poker player, born and raised in the Chicago suburb of Scottsdale, Illinois. He learned to play cards when he was a child, from his parents and he loved the game ever since. His father encouraged him to develop a calm and analytical game, and by the age of 12 he already planned his future at the green felt. Only a year later he started playing home games and cashing up to $50 a night. Despite his obvious talent, however, he did not start a professional career yet.
Poker is not known for its moral standards and positive influence on people’s lives and in Barry Greenstein’s home, being an honorable person was a must. Having a strong mind in mathematics and computers, Barry was a brilliant student at the Bogan High school at day and a tricky poker player at night. That routine pretty much stayed the same at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science in just three years and, of course, untold thousands in poker winnings.
Shortly before finishing his studies, Barry met and married his now ex-wife Donna, who had three kids from a previous relationship. However, his healthy personal and professional life was not enough for Barry Greenstein. In 1992 he decided to enter his first tournament: the $10,000 World Series of Poker Main Event in Las Vegas. Then he ploughed his way through and placed 22nd in the event, earning a $8,080 prize. Unfortunately it was also around this time when Barry and Donna decided to get divorced and after battling for three years, Barry got full custody of their children.
Over the years, he has placed in more than 30 WSOP and 15 WPT events and he is a regular player in the highest-stakes cash games in Vegas and California, but of course, a mind like his is not only famous for his gambling. With time and experience, Barry Greenstein had enough knowledge about poker and was ready to share it with the world. After writing a chapter for Super/System 2, the highly anticipated sequel to the famous professional poker legend Doyle Brunson’s poker how-to book, Barry decided to write his own poker tome – Ace on the River. His book was more about the lifestyle of a poker professional than poker strategy, but it was just as well sold as the poker handbooks.
Barry Greenstein’s game is still one of the best in the world. He earned 3 World Series of Poker bracelets – the first one was in 2004 in the $5,000 No Limit, earning $296,200. The second one was in the 2005 $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha with the prize of $157,600. His latest bracelet was won in 2008, in the $1,500 Razz, which also brought him a $157,619 cash.
Being a poker player and mentor is not everything in his life. When not at the poker table, Barry Greenstein spends a lot of time with his children or playing golf and bridge. He also likes to go out for dinners, watch movies and have fun with his friends but he always puts his family on top. Unlike most players, he spends a great part of his winnings on charity. Maybe that is the reason he is often called “the Robin Hood of poker”.