2007 World Series: Don’t doubt Greenstein (Updated)

June 02, 2007

Updated below

I try not to be a fanboy. I’ve spent the last few years hanging around some of the best poker players in the world. I should be less than giddy by now. I should be calm. I mean, once Greg Raymer has cooked you a steak, one should be able to look at big time poker pros through an indifferent lens, or at least one free from superlatives and phrases like “ZOMG! He’s so sick!”

That said, Barry Greenstein is beginning the World Series with what, in any other venue, would look like a piece of fiction.

Yesterday, Greenstein called my World Series East Coast Bureau to let me know that he was going to attempt something that would make me regret missing the first three days of the 2007 WSOP. As reported here yesterday:

…he’s not going to be sitting in his seat at the Rio when play begins. That’s because, at the very same time at the opposite end of the Strip, Greenstein will be sitting down as one of the final ten players in the WPT Mandalay Bay Poker Championship.

“That’s a bit more than multi-tabling,” I mused.

“I’m multi-casino-ing,” Greenstein said.

So, what to do? Well, it’s going to involve a bit of good luck, a mix of Greenstein’s poker skill, and a lot of fast driving. His plan at the moment is to play hard in the WPT event and try to build a winning stack. Today, they are only scheduled to play down to the final six players. Greenstein figures that will take a few hours. His hope is that, in his quest to win another WPT title, his World Series stack will survive. Then, when play breaks at Mandalay Bay, he will rush to the Rio and start playing hard to build a big stack in the $5,000 Mixed Hold’em event.

As it happened, Greenstein ended up placing seventh in the WPT event and gunning it for the Rio’s Amazon Room. He’d missed five hours of blinds.

And now, Greenstein is one of the 95 remaining players in the $5,000 Mixed Hold’em event. With 451 players starting the event, Greenstein’s stack is very close to the chip average. There’s still a long way to go before we start considering more superlatives. However, there’s gotta be something said about a guy who skips the first five hours of a major tournament and manages to finish the day with an average stack. I’m still trying to figure out what that something is, but the fanboy in me keeps screaming “ZOMG!” I need to find a way to shut that boy up.

I learned today that there was a chance Greenstein could’ve ended up close to the chip lead. After winning a few big limit pots in the Mixed Hold’em tournament, he noticed that–for the first time in the entire tournament at his table–somebody at had raised more than three-times the big blind. He peaked down at J9 of spades and threw it away. The flop: QT8 with two spades. He would’ve stacked two people, both of whom had big hands as well. Psychologically bruised, he went back to work and ended up with his near-average stack to end the day.

Oh, and not only that. After finishing up at the Rio, Greenstein did, indeed, head over to the Bellagio and played cash games until 5am. Marathon man, I say.

In other news, Greenstein isn’t the only member of Team PokerStars playing in the first event of this year’s World Series. Team PokerStars’ Katja Thater played exactly one hand in the event.

“I flopped an open-ended straight flush draw (17 outs) and my money went in on the flop,” she said. “I lost this hand and I am out.”

2003 World Series Champion Chris Moneymaker didn’t fare much better. Two words describe his exit: Aces cracked.

Still, there are four other members of Team PokerStars’ who still have chips going into Day 2 of the $5,000 Mixed Hold’em event.

Isabelle Mercier: 55,000
Steve Paul-Ambrose: 55,500
Vanessa Rousso: 53,500
Current Average: 47,473
Barry Greenstein: 43,000
Humberto Brenes: 10,000

Play in the $5,000 Mixed Hold’em event resumes today at 2pm PT/5pm ET. Also in the works today, Event #3, $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em.

Greenstein tells me he’s not going to be playing the $1,500 no-limit hold’em event today and will instead focus solely on his stack in Day 2 of the $5,000 Mixed Hold’em event.

I don’t know about you, but this whole “playing one tournament” at a time thing seems really intriguing to me. I’m curious to see how Greenstein adjusts.

Update: Greenstein had one of those days that could’ve just as easily made him a huge stack in the $5,000 event or send him home early. As it happens, this day sent him out of the Rio. He lost a race to end it all and is now out to the Bellagio to check out the cash game line-up there.

In other news, as of 7pm PT, Humberto Brenes and Vanessa Rousso have been eliminated. Isabelle Mercier and Steve Paul Ambrose are still in the hunt.


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