Barry Greenstein on the 2003 WSOP: "Moneymaker Won $2.5 Million, I Won Twice That"
Barry Greenstein Made More Cash than Chris Moneymaker During the 2003 WSOP
By winning the $10,000 Main Event of the 2003 World Series of Poker (WSOP) for $2.5 million after qualifying on the Internet, Chris Moneymaker created what today is known as "The Moneymaker Effect" — an unthinkable boom that changed the game of poker forever.
Yet, it took more than 10 years to discover that the accountant from Tennessee was not the biggest winner during that iconic summer in Las Vegas.
Earlier this month, PokerNews' Remko Rinkema sat down with poker legend Barry Greenstein at the 2015 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure to learn that the member of the Poker Hall of Fame left the 2003 WSOP with more than $5 million in cash game winnings.
A Meeting with Sailor Roberts Changed Everything
During his remarkable career, Greenstein has won three WSOP bracelets, two World Poker Tour titles, and pulled in more than $8 million on the live tournament circuit, according to The Hendon Mob database.
Known in the industry as the "Robin Hood of Poker" since 2006, Greenstein devolves all his tournament earnings to charity associations. Yet, despite the impressive success he scored in his career as a tournament player since the 1990s, Greenstein has always been primarily a cash game player.
Until 2003, Greenstein remained a relatively unknown name as he did not participate in the big games happening in Las Vegas, but preferred to play and develop his games in Los Angeles, where he became formidable in the lowball variants 2-7 and ace-to-five. Things changed after his friend Sailor Roberts, who was considered to be the best cash game player in low ball games in Las Vegas, played against him in California and invited him to put his skills to test in Sin City.
"You will kill them, it will be a bloodbath," Roberts told him. "These players in Vegas think they are the best in the world."
Yet, the Chicago-born Greenstein decided not to follow Roberts’s suggestion right away and waited a few more years before he decided to show up in Las Vegas and challenge the players who were part of those games.
Once in Sin City, however, Greenstein finally put his already solid bankroll to a good use and joined the city's cash games getting the very same success that Roberts predicted.
"I jumped in and I have drilled those guys so bad that it was just like Sailor said — a bloodbath," Greenstein said. "I was easily the biggest winner. I really just nailed them.
"During the World Series in the year when Moneymaker won, I made more than $5 million playing in the cash games. I remember laughing when people said [Moneymaker] was the biggest winner. He won $2.5 million and I said, 'Well, I won twice that.'
"I probably ran good, too," Greenstein continued. "But the truth is, that at that time I was the best player."