WSOP: Being Barry Greenstein

There is a reason Barry Greenstein looks tired in almost every photo you see on the PokerStars Blog. There is a reason his sometimes-smiling face looks dour and drawn toward the felt. There is a reason the man who knows how to go deep has not been showing up in our end of day reports here on the PokerStars Blog.

The cash games are just too good to pass up.

As you know, Greenstein makes his living in side game play. All of his net tournament winnings go to charity. If he's going to pay the bills, he's going to be doing it in the biggest cash games in the world. And as it happens, the biggest cash games in the world are going on around the clock right now in Las Vegas.

"It's pretty tough, because I've played in all the tournaments and I'm making almost every dinner break," he said. "When I get knocked out, I then go play in the side games until at least four in the morning, and then I get up the next day and play in the tournaments."

In one earlier event, Greenstein's dinner break proved to be his downfall. He decided to take a nap, his wake-up call never came, and he was blinded down for more than two hours while his body lay in a comatose state. Since then, Greenstein has avoided using unreliable hotel operators as insurance against a too-long nap.

"My friends have made sure that I wake up from my one-hour nap during the dinner break," he said.

Still, one-hour naps and very little other sleep is taking its toll on one of the best players in the world. It's a tough place to be. When you're as good at poker as Barry Greenstein, it is a bit of a poker sin to not play in the WSOP. Missing the side games, though, is just about as bad. So, Greenstein is playing in both.

He readily admits, his fatigue has cost him a bit in the WSOP. In a recent $1,500 NL event, a player raised without announcing it and Greenstein failed to see the extra chips in the pot. He made a move at the blinds with a hand he wouldn't have otherwise played. It ended up costing him his chance at going deeper in the tournament.

"I don't like self-inflicted wounds like this," he said.

After making it to 35th place in the big seven-card stud event (it paid 16 places), Greenstein again made his way to the big side game.

"I played the whole night," he said. "It was a really good game."

Still, as much as Greenstein knows he wants to keep up the pace, he also knows that he probably can't handle the eventual overwhelming fatigue. He knows that eventually his body will give up.

Greenstein knows about being sharp. He played the $5,000 short-handed event today and busted out before the dinner break.

"I just wasn't sharp enough and got knocked out," he said.

Now, with more time to kill than usual, he has discovered that the big cash game he played overnight is still going on. The players in the game played around the clock. Chances are, the game will break up soon.

"I will be forced into getting some sleep," Greenstein said.

Here's the thing that impresses me most about Barry. Unlike a lot of players around here, there's no hubris when the Robin Hood of Poker talks. Instead of making excuses or blaming the bad play of other players, Greenstein knows his performance this series is all of his own making.

Tomorrow, the Rio will host another big event, a $2,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em event. Greenstein plans to be rested. I, for one, am excited to see how he performs with a little pillow time buoying his play.

Today's reading:
Being Barry Greenstein
WSOP Event #30: $5,000 NL Hold'em Short-Handed (Mercier crippled by Fossilman)
What a Long, Strange Poketrip It's Been (Jon Friedberg)
David Sklansky to speak in PokerStars suite
WSOP Event #29: PokerStars stars make day 2

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker