You can’t live off dessert…

February 07, 2013

We are a little more than a month into the new year, and with the new year comes thoughts of how I’ll be spending it in terms of my poker-playing.

When I plan out my year in poker, there are certain things that are already marked off on the schedule. In January, for instance, I always know I’ll be at the PCA during the first half of the month, and then usually I have to decide about the Aussie Millions. Then February is always a time when I’ll be at the Commerce in Los Angeles, since that’s when the cash games are the best there and that’s also when they have their WPT event. And, of course, June and July always get marked off for the World Series of Poker.

As far as the rest of the year goes, I always go to the EPT Main Event in Monte Carlo, I usually go to EPT London, and I often will go to one other EPT. But then I have the rest of the year free to go wherever I think is the best place to play.

I think of tournaments as being like poker players’ conventions, with the WSOP the biggest convention of them all. But for me I’m also always thinking of the cash games that are going on at the tournament venues, too. And the truth is, when I think of the income I make from poker, it’s the cash games that provide that income first and foremost.


In a way, the tournament is like the dessert whereas the cash games are the meal. The cash games are where I’ll be making my money — where I’ll be getting my nourishment, you might say. Then I’ll enter, say, a $10,000 event and who knows, maybe I’ll get dessert with whipped cream and a cherry on top? But that’s not something I’ll plan for.

In fact, it’s probably even healthier psychologically to assume your buy-in for a tournament is going to be a negative in your books — that it’s just an expenditure and perhaps occasionally something good is going to come out of it. Just like you can’t really live off of just dessert, or at least you won’t be very healthy if you do!

So while I plan my calendar around the tournament schedule, I don’t plan on earning my living from playing tournaments.

I should add, though, that part of the reason why I don’t have 2013 totally planned out is that like a lot of poker players I’m waiting to see if we are going to have any changes with regard to online poker in the United States. Things are starting to happen in Nevada, New Jersey, and elsewhere, and obviously I’m very hopeful such movement continues.

Barry Greenstein is a member of Team PokerStars Pro


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