On December 30th, 1954, another iconic professional poker player was born. Barry Greenstein was born in Chicago and was introduced to cards by his parents at a very young age – 4 years old precisely. At the age of 13, he was playing home games and making about $50 every night. This did not affect his academics in any way; as a matter of fact, he craved intellectual stimulation that led to him creating his computer software at the age of 15. He always had a philanthropic bone as it was his dream to be a doctor and cure diseases.
Barry was offered admission into the University of Illinois to study computer science. However, his routine was the same as he studied during the day and continued building his bankroll at night. After completion of his undergraduate degree, he dedicated the next ten years of his life in pursuit of a Ph.D. in mathematics. As he progressed with that, he met his now ex-wife who had three kids. To win the custody battle, he was advised by an attorney to get a regular job that did not involve gambling. This led to him dropping out of school, dropping poker, and joined four others in a start-up now known as Symantec. The first product out of Symantec – Q&A – was named the “product of the year” in 1986 and to this day remains one of Barry’s greatest accomplishments.
Through the later parts of the 1980s, Barry played No-Limit Hold’em to boost his paycheck and support his family. Things became more serious when he needed to provide more to cater to his ex-wife – Donna – and their daughter as they fought multiple sclerosis and liver problems respectively.
He was found spending more time at casino tables and eventually, he quit Symantec to face poker squarely.
Major Tournament Wins
Barry entered his first competition in 1992, which was the $10,000 World Series of Poker Main Event in Las Vegas. He finished 22nd from a field of 36 players and was able to cash in $8,080. The 1990s was not a super year for Barry even though he won some cash at some tournaments. His first major win in terms of monetary value came in 2003 at the $125k 7 Card Stud Championship at the Larry Flynt’s Poker Challenge Cup. He came in the first position and went home with $770,000. Barry gained momentum from there and went on to win his first-ever WSOP bracelet in 2004 at the $5,000 No Limit 2-7 Triple Draw event. In that same year, he bagged his biggest single tournament cash in all his playing years. The $10k Main Event at the Fifth Annual Jack Binion World Poker Open in Tunica rewarded him with $1,278,370 for claiming the number one spot at the event. Two more WSOP bracelets were won by Greenstein in 2005 and 2008.
Barry has cashed in 107 World Series events and several other poker tournaments including the $50,000 HORSE championship, the 10,000CAD North American Poker Championship, etc.
Total Poker Winnings
In 28 years of his playing career professionally, Barry was able to accumulate $8,396,761. He is ranked 65th in the United States All-Time Money List, 11th in the California, USA, All-Time Money List, and 4,154th in the Global Poker Index Ranking.
Barry was big on philanthropy and was committed to it, which was the main reason he had a unique nickname – Robin Hood of Poker. A large chunk of his 2003 $770,000 win was given as a donation to Children, Incorporated for charity. Barry Greenstein got inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2011.