Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Ace on the River by Barry Greenstein

Wow, this Barry "The Robinhood of Poker" Greenstein guy is a little strange, but they say he is the winningest ring game player in the last decade. Personally, I believe he and Phil Ivey both belong in the top 3 of current best cash game specialist. Barry's book, Ace on the River, (paperback, 316 pages) is printed with quality glossy paper with excellent photos throughout, he did not skimp in any way w/ the publishers. Ace is definately not your typical poker strategy book. It applies to all forms of poker, infact many of the examples are from stud, low ball, and omaha. Ace is more of a guide to the pro poker players lifestyle, a roadmap with pointers, for how to make a living playing cards/gambling, pointing out pitfalls to avoid and expert insights into managing that volatile lifestyle. At times the text takes the perspective of the psychologist, analyzing personality flaws to watch out for and be aware of in your fellow degenerate gamblers.

The book is broken down into 4 parts:

1) The Poker World
2) Philosophy
3) Advanced Play
4) Addenda

Barry doesn't hold any punches, and in part one he paints a pretty bleak picture of the poker world. Part 2 tells you some key pointers you'll need to know if you are actually "foolish" enough to consider this as a full time occupation. Personally I wish he would have talked more about advanced play, but I'm sure he was correct to emphasize the other aspects that are in many ways more important to success than advice on how to play a certain hand. Even if a book could teach you to play as well as say Stuey Ungar, it would be difficult to consider him a success story! Some of the nuggets he drops in the Advanced Play section, I have never heard mentioned anywhere else before. There is definately some good stuff there.

You get the sense that playing poker for so long has really changed, and jaded Barry, that he is plagued by demons of guilt for not being a better father and to compensate for that he has tried to give back through his charitable donations, and by haveing a high degree of ethics at the poker table.

All in all I Highly recommend this book to anyone who aspires to become a professional poker player, but the book has little value for beginning/recreational players other than a glimpse into the professional poker players world. Thank you Barry for sharing your insight with us.

My favorite quote from the book, "playing limit poker for me, is like watching paint dry!"



Post a Comment

<< Home