Barry Greenstein’s Theory on Winning Stud Tournaments

I met Barry in April 2004 at the WSOP. It was my first event, the $1500 Stud event. I’d won a satellite for my seat, and it was the biggest tourney I’d ever played in to date. I was nervous as heck, although I had long passed the trembling stage, in any game. I played so tight that if I had kings and an ace raised up front, I quit the hand. I must have played 10 hands in 9 hours, lol.

I was turned off and turned on at the same time by Barry’s play. On the one side, he amazed me by pulling the old Johnny Moss trick, looking like he was asleep, then raising when “woken up” and told it was on him. He later told me most of the time he really was dozing off during hands, due to playing high stakes cash games all night.

He seemed to have very little emotional investment in any tourney. I supposed that was because he gives his winnings away. Although he definitely wants to win, for charity, he doesn’t knock himself over the head if he loses a hand, or gets eliminated. He just gets up and goes, with no whining or accusations.

Most of my regular readers know about my utter confusion regarding top players and their distaste at looking at their hole cards when the bring-in is on them. That is how Barry was crippled by me, and soon after eliminated. I felt he had a good chance of cashing until that hand, and it baffled me for six months, until I got to talk to Barry about it.

Nothing is ever as simple as it seems, although I’d like to think so. I make assumptions which are sometimes so off base, only to find out later that I was wrong all along.

I didn’t see Barry again until Foxwoods, although I’d “talked” to him a few times on 2+2. We chatted a bit during breaks at FW events, then were seated together in the main, 2k Stud event. I wasn’t really happy to be seated next to Barry (although on his left, at least), but this gave us a chance to talk, at any rate.

During a break he told me more about my incorrect assumption that WCPs don’t look at their hole cards when they are the bring-in because they feel they can outplay anyone later in the hand. He corrected me by saying that in a Stud tourney, many chances must be taken in order to win. One of the chances a player takes is that he might actually have a hand when he is the bring-in. He memorizes the doorcards, chucks in his BI, and then watches the action unfold. When the action returns to him, he checks his hole cards, and if he has a hand, he limp-reraises.

Sure, sometimes his lack of checking first costs him a pot, but more often it builds him a bigger pot, and gives him a chance to actually win a tourney, instead of just surviving for another hour, while raking in the antes. That is where I went wrong. I won little pots, never putting myself out on the line to win.

Barry said that although there is always a small chance that you will be outdrawn by “playing to win,” most of the time you will put yourself in the position to win a Stud event. And if you never take a chance, you can never win.

Boy, did he have me pegged. I’ve never taken a chance, and I’ve never won, never even cashed in a big Stud event.

So with that five minute lesson, Barry taught me an important Stud tournament concept. One I’ll never forget.

Felicia :)


About Felicia Lee

Poker, Writing
This entry was posted in Poker, Seven Card Stud, Tournament Poker. Bookmark the permalink.

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