This is a truly unique book, and a great one. It astonished me to read some of the negative reviews on Amazon about this book. Apparently many amateur players were expecting an advanced strategy book or something. Nowhere does Barry promise this. Instead, the subtitle to the book is “An advanced poker guide”.
He is true to his word, because the book really should only be read by advanced players who are familiar with playing for a living and the hardships that entails. No other book out there gives as much insight into the unique situation that a professional poker player finds himself in. I guess I can understand why many readers would not get most of the things Barry is saying, because they can’t relate to the philosophical/moral/lifestyle issues that he raises.
To appreciate Barry’s book, you have to appreciate Barry. First of all, there aren’t that many winning poker players. Let’s put that number at 1% of poker players. It may be a higher percentage in truth, but let’s say 1% are beating the game at a significant rate. Of those winning players, maybe 1% are playing at significant stakes. Of those players playing at significant stakes, only maybe 1% of them are playing at the highest stakes, and only a small percentage of them have been doing it for 30 years.
These numbers are completely made up, of course, but my point is that there just aren’t that many top-notch high-stakes professional poker players who have made millions from the game over a long period of time. Barry Greenstein, and people like him, are literally one in a million, and when he speaks, you should listen.
I was moved to buy Greenstein’s book after hearing him speak on the TwoplusTwo poker podcast. He just made so much more sense talking about poker; more than anyone I’d heard in a long time. I was immediately smitten and wanted to hear more interviews and buy his book.
In this book, Barry is very honest on such topics as gambling addiction, the unsavory people you meet playing poker, the guilt you may feel in relieving people of money, and what abilities it takes to be a professional poker player. In all things, Barry is surprisingly candid and full of interesting, intelligent takes on things most aspiring poker pros should be thinking about.