WSOP 2011: The Devil and Mr. Greenstein

wsop2011-thumb-blog.pngBarry Greenstein was dead to me, at least as far as the 2011 WSOP was concerned. Among my favorite players to cover in the world started the day with barely a stack to call his own. I sat hospice during the first level, a not-grim-but-sorta-dark reaper to the Robin Hood of Poker's last moments. He'd be gone soon. I was just there to tell his story for the people who didn't have the time (or media badge) to see it happen.

Because I'm rarely right about anything, and because he is Barry Greenstein, I was proved wrong once again. Greenstein doubled up with jacks, lost with kings, and then rallied with aces. It was time to once again take flight on vulture wings and see how Greenstein wanted to continue the afternoon.


Barry Greenstein, before the vultures

I had been in the room for two minutes and was prepared to start my slow circles around Greenstein's felt. When it appeared he still had a few breaths in him, I wandered over to Liv Boeree's table to...well, look at Liv Boeree, I guess. Don't judge me.

If you've been a reader of this blog or just about any part of the poker media for the past five years, you might have heard about a particular WSOP player who with one glance could freeze the heart of a Disney character. He goes by many names, but most people here simply call him The Devil. Always in the shadows, seemingly omnipresent, and born with a set of eyes that gleam pure evil, The Devil is the most enigmatic, cold, and terrifying person to ever set foot in Las Vegas. Accuse me of exaggerating at your peril. I will say no more about the man to support my case.

It is my job to stand watch over Barry Greenstein. I value my job, my reputation, and my work ethic more than I can possibly say. I wanted nothing more than to complete my mission of the hour and finish the level at Greenstein's side. I was thinking these very thoughts as I ran back into the media room and hid behind fellow blogger Stephen Bartley. To paraphrase Verbal Kint, I believe in Barry Greenstein, but the only thing that scares me is The Devil.

"I'll go back later," I said. "Plus, I've been looking for a chance to write about The Badugi Chapter Barry wrote."

Bartley nodded with compassion.

In my heart, I knew what was going to happen. I knew if I turned tail and ran in search of a priest (or Bartley), Greenstein wouldn't make it. The man who had started his day on the edge of hell would succumb to the pure evil in the room. The rational side of me knows there is nothing I could've done, but at this hour, I feel my fear cost Greenstein a chance at the bracelet.

Of course it happened moments later. The scent of sulphur hadn't drifted from the room when Greenstein posted this Tweet from the afterworld: "Out. Lost with top pair against top set. He tanked for a minute before raising me all in on the turn!"

He? Who was He? Greenstein didn't say. But I think we all know, don't we?

Goodbye, Barry. I'm sorry.

* * *

See that Badugi Chaper I mentioned up there? Well, as it happens, back before the poker world got all screwy, there was this really good book coming together. It was going to provide strategy on various games from some of the best players in the world. Among those planned for the book was Barry Greenstein (RIP). Rather than let the advice sit on his shelf, he's released his thoughts on Badugi for the Kindle. You can buy it for $7.00 RIGHT HERE.

Max Lykov and Liv Boeree (who, incidentally, was in the same room with Barry Greenstein. Just sayin.').

A full sized box of tissues in a gold plastic dispenser.

@LucaPagano: "1st bad news of the day, my table broke and i've been moved to another room, almost another hotel! They all look so angry here lol"

Kathy Liebert is dressed in her trademark purple slacks and purple top. She is not, however, in the purple section.

Player dressed as Santa Claus on what we describe as Christmas Eve - the day before our day off.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker