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The Robin Hood of Poker: Barry Greenstein

This article was written by: Jannah Strat for Celebrity Poker Players

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Jannah Strat is an efficiently writer from Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. She's writes anything that has to do with online gambling. She tackles all about Casino Games, Poker Players and Sports Betting. She also owns two blogs about some of the best and hottest Poker Players and her blog about Celebrity Poker Players.

Barry Greenstein is known as The Robin Hood of Poker for his generosity giving his net earnings from tournaments of each year. He is born on December 30, 1954 in Chicago, Illinois. Barry learned to play card games at a young age by his father. He knew Gin Rummy, Hearts and Poker but he was particularly gifted in Poker. Because of his undeniable intelligence, his parents encourage him to develop a calm and analytical game.

He started playing making rounds and cashing up to $50 a night. Barry craved more intellectual work than poker could give. When he was about 15 years old, he already made his own computer software. He once dreamt to be a doctor that will cure diseases. Barry was exceptional in his classes at Bogan High School especially in mathematics and computers. He kept up with his studies at day and building his bankroll at night. This didn't end when he gone to college at the University of Illinois. He earned a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science in just three years.

He also take an undergraduate studies to a Ph.D. program in mathematics and spent the next 10 years earning his doctorate degree. He met Donna, who had three children from his previous relationship, and married her. To gain full custody of the children, he was advised by their lawyer to get a job that didn't involved gambling. Barry give up school and poker and moved with his family to Silicon Valley where he joined four others in a starting company called Symantec (The software company behind Norton Anti-Virus). He and Donna gained custody of the children after that.

Because of his exceptional skills, he was one of the main man in Symantecs background. Making a debut on 1986. The Q&A was named the product of the year in almost every industry magazine. The success of the product lead Symantec on the road to becoming one of the top computer software firms.

But in the late '80s they began to serve a more serious purpose when Donna was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and their daughter Melissa began suffering from liver problems and have to have a liver transplant.

Barry began to spend more and more time at the tables, returning to the poker-playing/work schedule of his early years, except with crazier hours. It lasted until 1990 and Barry quit Symantec. He was unable to justify the time spent in poker tables and the lost time that he wasn't able to give to his family because of his work.

In 1992, he decided to enter his first tournament: the $10,000 WSOP Main Event in Las Vegas.
He was undaunted by a 36 player starting field packed with pros like Johnny Chan, Todd Brunson, Bobby Baldwin and Berry Johnston, Barry made his way through and placed 22nd in the event for an $8,080 payday.

It was around this time he and Donna decided to get a divorce, and after a three-year battle Barry was awarded full custody of their children. During this difficult period Barry met Vietnamese player Mimi Tran and they cut their infamous deal: Barry offered to teach her poker in exchange for Vietnamese lessons, which he hoped would help him communicate with the many Vietnamese players he anted up against.

In the following years Barry kept up his No-Limit Hold'em game and began to play Limit Hold'em as well, ripping up the felt at ring games across California and Las Vegas and building a reputation as one of the top players in the world. He continued to enter and cash in tournaments through the '90s but his big break didn't come until 2003, when he won Larry Flynt's $1 million Seven-Card Stud event at the Hustler Casino.

It was after this tournament that he made his first major donation to his charity of choice, Children, Incorporated. He had been involved in the charity for some time, sponsoring several children in the United States through the organization and taking his kids to meet them. But with his Hustler win he decided it was time to make to take his philanthropy to the next level: He donated a large chunk of his $770,000 first-place win to the organization.

Over the years he has placed in more than 30 WSOP and 15 WPT events. He is a regular player in the highest-stakes cash games in Vegas and California, including the Big Game at the Bellagio, and has appeared in several major televised poker tournaments and TV shows, such as High Stakes Poker, the NBC Heads-Up Championship and Poker Superstars Invitational.

He also made a name as a poker author like other authors and co-poker players Annie Duke and Phil Hellmuth Jr. He was persuaded to write a chapter for Super/System 2, the highly anticipated sequel to Doyle Brunson's poker how-to book, Super/System. Barry found the experience so enjoyable he ended up writing his own poker tome, Ace on the River, which is more about the lifestyle of a poker professional than poker strategy.

Barry's game is still one of the best in the world. And despite 15 tournament cashes in 2007, including a seventh-place finish in the WSOP H.O.R.S.E. event, and nonstop ring-game action, he is convinced that a professional poker player's game will inevitably deteriorate with age. Humble about his talents, honest about his weaknesses, he may yet prove himself wrong. And if he does, he'll be the first to admit it.

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