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A Word with Barry Greenstein During Day 1A of the Main Event
There are few faces more recognizable in poker than Barry Greenstein's, and he certainly attracted his share of attention here in the first heat of Day 1 at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event. He was able to finish the day with a little over $30,000 and will be in good shape for Day 2A which will take place Tuesday. I caught up with Barry during one of the breaks, and he told me about his play today and his thoughts on how the Main Event is going so far.
It's been a long day and you've gotten a hold of some chips, can you tell us how things are going for you so far?
Well, I hung around $10,000 for the first two levels. The first day's a survival day, the antes don't come in until the fourth level, so there's not a lot to steal. You just hope the deck goes in your favor. Not much happened though. I don't even know if I played well or played badly. I didn't play many big pots.
But then I won a few hands, I can't even remember, nothing's been too remarkable except for one hand. The guy with A-K raised coming in, I called with two threes. He checked to me and I bet the flop. He checked again and I bet the turn, he check-raised me. I didn't know what the heck he was doing. He took a long time before he check-raised me, so I called then he fired again on the river, but it wasn't that much so I paid him off with my two threes. I guess that was my highlight play.
That got me up to $36,000, and I bluffed off about $4,000. Now I'm at $32,000, and the average is a little over $20,000. Anything over $30,000 would be a good first day.
You talked about the first day being a "survival day," is that reflective of your strategy coming into this event?
Yeah it is, if it were a stronger field I would feel the necessity to jam it up and try to get a hold of chips, but the nice thing about these big fields is that there's players who will just give their chips away in situations that you couldn't even dream of. So sometimes you have stuff just fall into your lap. I usually don't like to mess around until I have enough chips that I can afford to, and then I can put extra pressure on my opponents. If I have them covered then they have to worry about being busted.
In your experience today, what do you feel about the level of play in this field?
Well I think the average level of players has gone up tremendously, and that's mainly because of the internet. The most dangerous players at your table aren't the big name players because you're going to know how those players play, they're going to have good hands if they're coming in in early position, they're going to play normal looking cards and so on.
The problem with these big fields is that you don't know who the good players are, because some of them are these guys who've played a lot on the internet. Sometimes they give away clues that they haven't played a lot of live poker, that used to mean they were bad players and you could count on that, but it doesn't mean that anymore. So it's difficult. That's another reason I sit back for the first level or two because I'm trying to create a profile for the players at my table and I really don't want to play until I'm confident about how they play.
One last question on this issue of internet players. Do you think internet experience translates directly to a tournament like this or is there a big transition phase for these players?
It definitely does translate. As you know I'm now with PokerStars.com, and I played in their tournaments last year. They asked me "how does this feel compared to the players you normally play against?" I told them I thought it was the same players, a lot of them I even knew who they were from their screen names. So the people who are playing on the internet are the same people showing up to play here. I know PokerStars.com sent like 1,600 people here to play.
That's great Barry, thanks a lot and good luck in this event.
Despite his modesty about how things went here today, from what I saw, he played a rock solid game and I'm sure he'll make it deep in this event. Stay tuned to PokerListings.com to follow Barry's progress and to keep up to date on everything that's happening at this year's World Championship.