Thursday, July 15, 2004

The Barry Greenstein Myth

Barry Greenstein gives all his poker tournament winnings to charity. This is a fact.

Barry Greenstein is the "Robin Hood of Poker". This is sentimental clap-trap.

Greenstein is a multi millionaire. Hurrah for Greenstein!

Look at the facts. When he won $1,278,370 at the WPO in Tunica in January he would figure to actually cash approximately 40% of this figure. Being a generous muliti millionaire he gives the whole prize to charity so he can write off the donation against tax.

Meanwhile he still wins a huge amount from his victory. He double books himself against several other top players (Brunson, Reese, Ivey and the like). Double booking is a bet where you bet how much you win in a tournament against someone else. The player who finishes lower has to give the higher placed finisher the difference in their official prize money. For example if Daniel Negreanu double booked Greenstein at Tunica. Negreanu finished out the money so owes Barry $1,278,370! Now multiply that 4 or 5 times and Greenstein is giggling all the way to the bank with his tax free win.

Now obviously Greenstein doesn't have to give a penny to charity. But let's not get this out of perspective, this is the most tax efficient way of him contributing and the amount he gives, in proportion, is like you or me stuffing a fiver in the NSPCC tin.


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