Barry Greenstein has become well known for his great skill in poker and for his gracious contribution to children in need in which he donated all his poker winnings.
There's quite a story to share about this humble and compassionate man.
Poker was in Barry's life since he was a young child. His father was a great Poker player in the US Army and would teach him poker strategies as a youngster. Barry and his mother would play cards together almost every day after school.
Later, at age 13, Barry used to win pots from $30 to $50 per night playing poker games at home with family and friends. As a child Barry was quite gifted and created his own computer software at age 15.
Later he attended the University of Illinois where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and also a Ph.D. in Mathematics.
During his college years, Barry would play poker and win large amounts of money while working on earning his degrees.
Barry's family life
Nearing the end of earning his Ph.D. he met his wife, Donna. Donna had three children that Barry adored and eventually wanted to adopt. In order to get custody of the children his lawyer stated that Barry needed a decent job.
He got hired by a start-up computer software company, Symantec, makers of Norton Anti-virus software and security products. The couple were then granted joint custody of the three children.
During this time, Barry still wanted to play poker, so he did some research and found a few places around the Silicon Valley area where Symantec was located.
He did well working for Symantec and won awards for creating database and word processing programs as well as the "Question and Answers" (Q and A) software programs. He worked at Symantec from 1984 until 1991.
During this time he and his wife had two children. Their first, Nathaniel, was born 1987 and their second child, Melissa, was born in 1988. Unfortunately his wife later became ill with multiple sclerosis and needed her husband's care.
Barry left Symantec at age 36 to continue his poker career and have the flexibility to care for his family. Fortunately, he was a professional poker player at this point and was able to make money for his family's care.
Later, Barry had to divorced his wife to obtain custody his children since she was too ill to care for them.
Barry's dream as a child was to make an abundance of money playing poker so he could give it away. In less than a year, Barry won two poker tournaments that paid out over one million dollars each.
This was extraordinary for him and he donated all of his winnings to children's organizations. This act of kindness has awarded him the name "The Poker Philanthropist".
Today, people have projected that Barry wins approximately one million dollars a year playing high stakes poker. His childhood dream has come true.
Barry's charitable contributions were very generous
Barry did extensive research on children's charities before discovering Children Incorporated, founded by Jeanne Clarke Wood in 1964.
Children's Incorporated is a child sponsored organization associated with orphanages, schools, and welfare centers around the world including the United States.
The organization has grown over the years beginning with one small project in Guatemala. It now contributes to 15,000 children in 288 projects in 21 countries around the world.
This program distributes necessary supplies to children who live in incomprehensible poverty. Most of the donations are food, clothing and educational necessities.
Items are distributed to abandoned children, orphans, children who only have one parent.
Other circumstances may involve children that have both parents, but due to illness or other financial difficulties are unable to maintain their family's needs.
Another reason Barry chose Children's Incorporated was to instill his children the compassion that his parents had taught him when he was young.
He had a strong desire to help children by protecting, helping and giving children basic needs that they might not otherwise have.
One of Barry's first projects involved sponsoring a boy and a girl that were the same age as his two youngest children. The sponsored children lived in Kentucky and the Greenstein's sent them clothes, toys, money, pictures, and letters.
In addition, Barry would send $200 for each sponsored child three times per year. Each sponsored child had a coordinator who handled the donated money and used it to buy the necessities for each child.
Barry's poker skills continue
Barry was well known for his charitable contributions, but not many people knew at the time that he had been playing Poker lucratively ever since the 1970's.
He had won some of the biggest cash games including Hustler's $1500 to $3000 stud games or $4000 to $8000 mixed games when there was a game available.
Barry wrote a book on poker after the great Poker player Doyle Brunson had asked Barry to write a chapter for his new book, Super System 2 which is considered the "Poker Bible".
The topic Barry chose to work on was how to make money playing poker. Barry then realized that there was enough material to write his own book.
Barry still continues to play and win poker tournaments and donate his winnings to the people who need it the most being innocent young children throughout the world.
Barry has made the world better place with his generosity and humanitarianism. He is an inspiration showing that one person can make a difference one child at a time.
About the Author
Suzanne Lyon works for Softgame Company, maker of card games, video poker and puzzles
. She writes articles for the Company web sites.