How do you feel an online series like the WCOOP compares to a live series such as WPT or WSOP? Which do you prefer to play?
I like having the best of both worlds, live and online. The WSOP, WCOOP, and SCOOP are my three favorite tournament series. The WSOP has it's great history which brings the combination of all the best live and online players. However, there is no denying that tournaments can be run more efficiently online than live, and you can even play in multiple events at the same time when you're playing online.
Do you make any changes in your game when approaching a WCOOP event compared to any other online MTT?
I don't other than taking the WCOOP events more seriously. The prizepool is always great and the tournament schedule is slower, so I know I need to be rested for a possible deep run.
Other than the Main Event, what individual WCOOP tournament would you like to win the most? Why?
The big mixed game is an event I always target since I pride myself in being a complete poker player who can compete with the best at all forms of poker. This event always brings out the best players in the world.
If you were suddenly in charge of running the WCOOP what changes would you make to improve the series?
Fortunately, I do get to consult on changes in the WCOOP with the main guy in charge of the WCOOP. I called him a couple of weeks ago to give him suggestions from some high limit players. Unfortunately, it was 3am in London when I called. He politely asked if I could wait a few minutes so he could get out of his bedroom and talk to me without waking his wife up. The bottom line is we are always looking for ways to maintain the WCOOP as the state of the art in tournaments.
What's your guess for the final number of runners in the WCOOP Main Event? Do you feel it will shatter the 1,000 player mark?
I have intentionally been avoiding railing the WCOOP events since, as an American, I'm not allowed to play in them. I'm painfully aware that I'm missing out on a lot of fun. I don't want to speculate on how many people are having it instead of me.
What type of playing environment do you maintain while playing poker online? Do you approach your online play as work, for instance, and dedicate part of your home to working on your craft without distraction? Do you adjust your environment when the stakes or prize pools are larger than usual?
My environment is the same as for when I'm playing online. If I make a deep run, my girlfriend is more likely to have food prepared for me at regular intervals, although she plays some WCOOP events also.
Whenever online poker becomes a reality in the US, do you think there will be another boom?
I expect so, as long as the global economy continues to improve also.
Which one skill or technique do you think you possess over your standard opposition?
I think I'm mentally very strong. There are always bad beats in poker and you have to be resilient.
What do you do when not playing poker? What are your favorite hobbies to take your mind off of the game?
When I was younger I was a golfer. Now I play bridge online, often while I'm playing poker.
Favorite movie? TV Show?
I don't watch much television, outside of sports. My favorite movies from the past are Rain Man, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and Being There.
What is your favorite city to visit?
I like visiting all the cities that hold EPTs. I'm looking forward to having the problem of bringing a trophy back through airport security.
Barry Greenstein 2005 Interview
Barry Greenstein won the Pot Limit Omaha event at the 2005 WSOP.
Some say that Barry Greenstein has won more cash in ring games over the last decade than any other poker pro. Here is what Barry says about the subject on his website:
As I mentioned in my analysis of them, Doyle Brunson and Chip Reese are the Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus of poker. They have played in the biggest games in Las Vegas for thirty years. I have played in the biggest games available for the last decade and have probably won the most money. Poker is played for bigger stakes now, and just like on the PGA, the younger players have an opportunity to eclipse the money records of the older pros. Phil Ivey, the most talented young player around, will probably eventually pass us all in terms of career money winnings.
Barry Greenstein Interview Published October 7, 2005
Intro by Eric Sprague:
Barry Greenstein is one of the best poker players in the world and we wanted to learn more about him. I did some research and put together a list of initial questions. Tyson helped refine the questions and add new ones. We hope you enjoy the questions and answers below.
1. Players talk about playing their best game regardless of the stakes but
money influences psychology. Do you ever play low stakes games, whether in
person or online, and are you able to treat chips like widgets in both your
low and high stakes games? Living in Southern California, where and how
often do you play? Has your own celebrity status affected your high-stakes
ring games? (Do tourists recognize you and run away?)
I always try hard. I have occasionally sat in a lower-stakes game than I
normally play in, while eating lunch. Players have commented that they
expected me to have fun and throw off some money. In my way of thinking,
competition is only good if your opponent is trying his best. If someone
beats me, I have no excuses. They can assume I was trying to win.
If anything, we occasionally get a drop-in who would like to beat a famous
player, but there are rarely drop-ins at the stakes I play.
2. We find your recent challenges with Daniel Negreanu very intriguing. How
are the matches with Negreanu going? I saw that with others he is letting
them pick the game and he has played other folks since some of your matches.
From the Card Player interview you said you'll play all the games but you
get to pick the order. How are your results so far?
We have had four matches and we are tied 2-2. We have both been pretty busy
lately, but we will resume sometime in the future.
3. What made you decide to take on Negreanu, aren't there easier games out
there? How often do you play heads-up matches?
I wish Daniel was playing against me in the high-stakes ring games, since I
have more experience there.
Although Daniel has proven himself to be a good player, especially in
tournaments, I didn't consider him to be the same caliber as some of my
opponents I play against in the high-limit side games. I thought it would
be more profitable for me to play against him than in my normal game. Given
the state of the matches, I may have underestimated him or overestimated the
advantage I could have against a competent opponent head-up.
4. You said Daniel was having fun spreading false rumors earlier (that you
only talk about wins etc). What's that all about? Are these types of mind
games still in the works?
I will let Daniel do the trash talking. Before these matches we had only
played ten hours of poker together. Daniel knows I consider the high-stakes
side game players to be the best players, and he felt I was being arrogant
about the way I stated it.
I rarely talk about my wins and losses. In actuality, I was often
criticized for downplaying my wins, since I liked to keep a low profile.
When I was invited to play in the Superstars event, I was invited as a
successful cash game player.
The producers complained that they had no graphic to put under my name in
the way of tournament wins. Mori Eskandani and Eric Drache asked me if I
minded if they put that I was the biggest cash game winner of the decade,
since it had been widely rumored that I had been doing the best. I told
them that if Chip and Doyle signed off on it, I didn't care.
People not in the know, like Daniel, assumed I was bragging about how I had
done, not realizing it was not instigated by me.
5. On your site, you talk about all the forms of poker in your high stakes
games and you mention that you like to mix it up since you know all the
games but your opponents may not. In your
Player Analysis section, you mention your best game
is the one you've been playing most recently. If you have to pick a favorite
current game which one is it? Which game currently gives you the biggest
I have played a lot of stud the last six years, although I have played less
poker in the last two years than I have played in a long time. Because of
the increase in my tournament play, I spend much of my time travelling and
preparing for tournaments. This year I will play about 50 tournaments and
about 50 sessions in side games.
6. Obviously, poker players are becoming well-known celebrities. But, these
are mostly tournament poker players, not ring-game players. Are there ring
game superstars that the public is unaware of? Do you think ring game
specialists are starting to play the big tournaments to enter this
Celebrity/Poker Star industry?
It can be expensive and time-consuming for a skilled player to make it on
the tournament circuit. There are thousands of players who are good enough
to be tournament superstars, but if they don't have early success, we may
never hear of them. More players are trying to be a part of this
7. The player analysis on your site is interesting and quite insightful,
each of these players being exceptional and accomplished poker
professionals. At one of your typical high-stakes ring games, would you
rather not see any of these colleagues, or conversely, who would you invite
to your table and why?
The weaker the lineup, the more likely I am to make money. In the
highest-limit games, the players are generally well-known. The best we can
often hope for is to have opponents who have gotten their reputations more
from winning tournaments than from being successful in side games.
8. Your site says that Ace on the River contains material for high-stakes
poker players, but is readable by a mainstream audience. Many of our members
play low stakes online. Can these players adopt the strategies in your book?
Which parts of the book should our members focus on the most?
Much of the material is psychological and philosophical in nature. I have
heard some disappointment from middle-limit online players more than any
other segment of my readership. However, most readers seem to like it, so I
think it is worth a shot for any poker player to read it and see what part
of my experience is helpful.
9. Folks talk about the differences between ring players and tournament
players. You brought up a good point that tournament players face a wide
range of different players (both good and bad) whereas you consistently face
the best players in your ring games. This gives ring players like you an
advantage (playing against the best is the most efficient way to be the
best). That said, there are advantages for tournament players too. For
example, there is a lot of practice with short-handed play at the end of the
tournament. Also, tournament players get to practice different strategies at
different times (tight at the beginning when blinds are small versus looser
at later points). These differences between ring and tournament are
important but there are similarities too. Can a ring game specialist become
a dominant tournament player, and can a dedicated tournament player be
successful in the ring? Which transition is easier? How rare or common is it
for a player to be extremely competent at both forms?
I wish you had read my book before you did this interview, since I talk
about this in my tournament chapter. Tournament play isn't that hard. Most
successful ring game players can be good tournament players if they have the
time and resources.
10. Your generosity, heart, and overall good-guy character is well known in
the poker industry. Can you tell us about your charitable contributions, the
charities you support, and how all that came about?
It seemed like a good thing to do when I got lucky and won a million dollar
tournament. I have kept it up, since I have seen the fruits of my labor and
the effect it has had on others, as well as on other poker players.
Children Incorporated is my main charity.
11. You mention that Doyle Brunson and Chip Reese are the Arnold Palmer and
Jack Nicklaus of poker. Stu Ungar has three nines in the
Player Analysis section, how did he compare to
Brunson and Reese when he didn't have the substance abuse issues? Phil
Hellmuth has a two in steam control. Have you faced any pro who has more
issues with steam control and tilt than Phil? Does anyone have a ten in any
of the categories?
I don't want to be critical of any individuals any more than I have been on
my website. I didn't give out any tens, because I think all of us have room
We really appreciate Barry taking time from his busy schedule to answer our questions!
More About Barry Greenstein
Winning tons of cash in ring games, Barry Greenstein now plays his tournaments for charity. Allyn Jaffrey of Card Player Magazine calls him a modern day Robin Hood because of everything he had done for The Children Inc charity.
Barry Greenstein is one of the top pros in poker but he is humble and down to earth. Our very own Michael was able to knock him out of the 2005 World Series of Poker (read about it in Michael's 2005 WSOP Main Event recap). Instead of going crazy like Phil Hellmuth, Greenstein was a true gentleman. Barry even gave Michael a signed copy of his book, Ace on the River.
Living in Palos Verdes, Barry Greenstein has real estate in some of the hottest markets in the United States. Greenstein recently purchased a condominium near the Las Vegas strip because he spends a great deal of time there.
Common Misspellings for Barry Greenstein:
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