Poker Spotlight on Barry Greenstein

From an early age, Barry Greenstein knew that his future lay in the game of poker, but it took many years before he decided that poker would be his career of choice. Greenstein's family played many games together, with hearts, gin, and poker as the most common choices. In learning the games and poker strategy, he understood that a cool head was needed to make correct decisions and figured out how to avoid letting his emotions get involved with his decisions at the games. At the age of 13, Greenstein was already hitting the home game circuit and making a profit at the local poker games. With professional poker player not being such a widely accepted career at the time, he focused on his schooling and looked towards a future at college.

The higher learning of Barry Greenstein was much like his poker education. He was quite prodigious, picking up a Computer Science degree in only three years from the University of Illinois and then moving on to a doctorate program where he would study mathematics. During both rounds of university, Greenstein used poker as a way of making money and continued his independent study of the game. After finishing his doctorate, the budding intellectual moved out west to work with Symantec, a quickly rising software company that could use Greenstein's considerable talents in math and computer science. While there, he was a critical component in developing Q&A, a Symantec program that would bring the company international fame. At the same time, Greenstein had found a quiet cardroom where he could put his other talents to use.

With profits from poker growing larger than his salary from Symantec and his wife having health problems, Greenstein made the decision to turn pro in 1990 and has never looked back. Spending many hours each day at Palo Alto's Cameo Club, Greenstein earned steady winnings in the No Limit Hold 'Em cash games and built a bankroll that allowed him to take a stab at the World Series of Poker Main Event in 1992. Although he didn't win this first tournament that he played, Greenstein did manage to cash and take home a profit from the trip. Although cash games are still the main way that he earns his money, Greenstein's adventures in tournaments are what have brought the poker pro fame and he is now associated with the successful online poker room, PokerStars .

In 2006, Barry Greenstein made a statement that shocked the poker world. He declared that he would donate all of his net tournament winnings to a charity called Children, Incorporated. Since that time, he has donated millions, earning him the nickname of the Robin Hood of Poker. As a result, several other poker pros have made donations to the charity, which works to help needy children throughout the world. With the bulk of income coming from cash games, this is how Greenstein has decided to give back to the world. As a result, his commitment to integrity and his stand-up character have made him one of the most popular players in the game for fans and other players alike.