On the Fourth of July in 2006, the PokerStars Blog published one of its biggest and most unexpected stories yet when it announced Barry Greenstein had joined the ranks of what was then known only as Team PokerStars.
Greenstein was not a brand new world champion. He was not a niche player. He was a verifiable superstar. By then, Greenstein had already spent more than a decade as a pro player. He'd won a million bucks in a single seven-card-stud tournament. He'd already won two World Poker tour titles and two WSOP bracelets. He'd already established himself as an important poker author with the publication of his 2005 "Ace on the River." If there was ever a guy who fit the mold of a capital "P" Pro, it was Greenstein.
Known around the world for his philanthropy and nickname Robin Hood of Poker, Greenstein was quick to quip in 2006, "Since the last three winners of the WSOP main event are on the PokerStars team, and I plan to win it, I decided to show ultimate confidence in myself and join PokerStars ahead of time."
Born in 1954, Greenstein already had a lifetime of poker and a software career behind him before joining the PokerStars team. A lot of people in that situation might have just taken the sponsorship and rested on their laurels. Not Greenstein.
Since The Bear joined PokerStars five and half years ago, he's put up more than 50 additional live cashes, including a 2008 World Series of Poker Razz bracelet. He's continued to dedicate time and money to children's charities. What's more, he's served as an ambassador and advocate for PokerStars around the world. There aren't many better players or people in the game.
Greenstein, never one to take anything he didn't have to play for, was understandably humble when honored last week with induction into the Poker Hall of Fame. He told the crowd at the Penn and Tell Theater, "At least once a month, someone writes to me or comes up to me and says he graduated from college because of my advice. That is my proudest achievement, and one that meets the definition of success I was raised with: making a positive difference in the world. To those who think it's a better idea to play poker than to get an education along with the maturity that comes during that process, I can only say: I've never had anyone come up to me and tell me, 'Because of you I stayed in school, and it was a mistake!'"
Today, Greenstein has nearly $8 million in live tournament earnings, just a portion of the live cash game and online winnings he's earned over his years. He remains an active part of Team PokerStars Pro and continues to advocate for the world's children's charities.
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We are publishing these daily review articles throughout November as PokerStars gears up to celebrate its 10th Anniversary.
SCOOP, hold the front page
Slaying the EPT monkey
When two cards just won't do
ElkY, one name says it all
Going live at the PCA
It's a bling thing
Online wizards cast their spell
The EPT circus
Making world champions