Is Barry Greenstein Broke? | Profiting at Poker
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Is Barry Greenstein Broke?

Barry Greenstein has been a professional poker player for more than 20 years. He has a degree in computer science from the University of Illinois and he was studying for a Ph.D. in mathematics when he realized he could make more money playing poker. He has been a regular on High Stakes Poker and the Pokerstars Big Game as well as other televised cash games. He has won three World Series of Poker bracelets and two WPT events in his career. Greenstein is sometimes called the “Robin Hood of poker” because he has donated nearly all of his more than $8 million in tournament winnings to charity.

But there may be evidence that Barry Greenstein is having financial difficulty, so some observers have been asking: Has Barry Greenstein lost all of his money?

Evidence that Barry Greenstein is broke

Rumors often circulate that one poker player or another has gone broke, but in the case of Barry Greenstein, there is at least a little evidence to back it up. In early 2013, it was reported by several sources that Greenstein’s Rancho Palos Verdes, California home had been foreclosed. He had purchased the 12,841 square foot residence for $2.55 million in 1999.

The foreclosure of one real estate property does not necessarily mean that Greenstein is broke, of course. It is possible that he allowed the property to be foreclosed for strategic purposes, that it was simply not worth the mortgage payment in a down real estate market. On the other hand, the property sold at bank auction in 2013 for $2.828 million, so it seems like it was probably worth keeping . . .

Plus, Greenstein has had only two six-figure tournament cashes since 2008, a mincash in the 2011 $50,000 WSOP Poker Players Championship worth $108,503 and a 3rd place finish in the $10,000 Limit Hold’em at the same WSOP for $169,512.

Evidence that Barry Greenstein is not broke

In 2012, Greenstein was named as one of a small group of poker pros who owed money to Full Tilt Poker. Greenstein’s share of the estimated $18 million in debts was just less than $400,000. But isn’t a $400,000 debt evidence that he’s broke?

It would be, except that he paid the debt, or at least believably announced his intention to pay the debt, and then nothing more has been said about it, so it seems likely the debt was paid, which is evidence that he’s not broke.

Barry Greenstein has been sponsored by PokerStars since 2006. It’s a testament to his popularity that the company continues to pay for his endorsement while U.S. players, who likely make up most of his fan base, are not allowed to play on Pokerstars. It’s unknown what his sponsorship deal is worth, though. He also wrote a successful book, Ace on the River, so he likely made some money from that as well.

Greenstein’s tournament history also provides some evidence that he’s not broke. His biggest tournament wins:

– 1st place for $1.278 million at the 2004 WPT $10,000 Main Event in Tunica, Mississippi
– 1st place for $770,000 at the 2003 Million Dollar Seven Card Stud Tournament, buy-in was $125,000
– 6th place for $355,200 at the 2008 WSOP $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. Event
– 4th place for $316,638 at the 2007 WPT North American Championships $10,000 Championship Event
– 1st place for $296,200 at the 2004 WSOP $5,000 No-Limit Deuce to Seven Draw Event

Despite his significant tournament success, Greenstein is perhaps better known as a cash game pro, thanks in large part ot his status as a regular on High Stakes Poker. He is one of only four players – along with Doyle Brunson, Daniel Negreanu, and Antonio Esfandiari – to have played on every season of the show.

He has been involved in some of the biggest hands in the history of televised poker, including a $919,600 pot he lost to Tom Dwan in the largest hand of Season 5 on HSP. They only ran it once, of course. Barry Greenstein famously never runs it twice, which indicates that he’s not afraid of variance, which suggests that he is not broke.

Greenstein admitted in an interview that losing the $900k pot to Dwan, along with a $600k pot he lost to Antonio Esfandiari, was a “big hit financially.” With his historic success, though, and his reputation as a winner in the biggest cash games in the world, for the time being at least, it seems unlikely that Barry Greenstein is broke.

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