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Barry Greenstein

Barry Greenstein Biography
by Chad Holloway of

Barry Greenstein was born on December 30, 1955 in Chicago, Illinois. He began playing cards at an early age, beginning with gin rummy and hearts. Eventually, he found himself playing poker against his mother around the kitchen table. As he grew older, Greenstein continued to play poker and won enough money off local business men to put himself through college at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science. He spent the next decade working toward a graduate degree in mathematics. During this time, he took a job in California with a small start-up company called Symantec, which is known primarily for Norton anti-virus and security products. Greenstein split his time earning money at Symantec to support his family, working to complete his graduate degree, and playing poker in the local casinos. Greenstein developed software for Symantec between 1984 and 1991, when he decided to retire at the age of 36; however, he did not leave a rich man. He continued to work hard as a poker professional and eventually amassed a fortune.

Greenstein, who is known as one of the most successful high stakes cash game players in the world, has cashed in more than thirty World Series of Poker events. He owns two W.S.O.P. bracelets for victories in the 2004 $5,000 No Limit Deuce-to-Seven Draw event ($296,200) and the 2005 $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha ($128,505). He also owns two World Poker Tour titles for wins at the 5th Annual Jack Binion World Poker Open ($1,278,370) and the 2006 WPT Invitational at the Commerce Casino ($100,000). Greenstein's other poker accomplishments include appearances on Poker Superstars Invitational Tournament, High Stakes Poker, and Poker After Dark. He is nicknamed "The Robin Hood of Poker" because he donates his tournament winnings to charity. Most of his donations, which exceed $5.5 million, go to his favorite charity, Children Incorporated, which sponsors roughly 15,000 children in 21 countries. In March of 2003, Greenstein won Larry Flynt's $1 million seven-card stud event at the Hustler Casino. After he gave money and gifts to friends and family, Greenstein donated the balance, in the form of a $1,000 gift, to each of the 440 workers around the world who gave of their time and effort in Children, Incorporated. Greenstein does not seek credit for his kindness and rarely speaks on his generosity, though he once stated, "These contributions are the best things I have ever done in my life."

Greenstein contributed to Doyle Brunson's Super System 2 and recently released his own book, Ace on the River, a copy of which he promptly autographs and gives to anyone lucky enough to eliminate him from a tournament. He is also the poker mentor of former girlfriend and long-time friend, Mimi Tran, who taught him Vietnamese in exchange for his poker wisdom. Greenstein has two children and four stepchildren. His stepson, Joe Sebok, sought out his stepfather's poker guidance and is now a poker professional as well. Greenstein currently resides in Rancho Palos Verdes, California and has lifetime tournament winnings totaling more than $5.5 million.


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