Barry Greenstein Ace on the River book review

Barry Greenstein is an American poker player, who has been playing professional poker for many years. He has won 3 WSOP bracelets, 2 WPT titles and featured television series such as High Stakes Poker and Poker After Dark. Besides this, he is a regular in the big game in the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas. Many see, including himself, him as the Robin Hood of Poker, since he donates his tournament winnings to charity. In 2005 he wrote Ace on the River an advanced poker guide, which he gives away, a signature included, to everyone who eliminates him in a live tournament. This is not a book, in which poker theories are described extensively. It is a book, in which Barry explains from his own rich experience, what it takes to become and to be a professional poker player. That’s why, according to Barry, it is a book for advanced poker players and not for beginners.

Barry Greenstein Ace on the River

Structure Ace on the River

Ace on the River consists of 4 parts: the poker world, (poker) philosophy, advanced play and addenda. These parts are further split in short clarifying chapters, which are preceded by famous quotes. Throughout the entire book photos are included from casinos, poker rooms and well known poker players. Barry writes about his own poker career, the poker environment, poker attitude and psychology, and money management. In short: what is takes to be a successful poker player.

After this, he continues with the game itself. He discusses, among others, game and chaos theory, the differences between live and online poker, and the differences between cash games and tournaments. He also describes hands, which he played in the past. He discusses these hands in a quiz, in which the reader is asked what the best option would be. These example hands are not only from Texas Hold’em, but also from other poker variants, such as 7 Card Stud.

Barry Greenstein Ace on the River inside

Ace on the River is full of beautiful images.

Writing Style Barry Greenstein

Ace on the River is read easily, because of the short chapters and many colorful illustrations. Although Barry incorporates various theories, it is clear that the writes mainly from his own experience. Therefore, it is a subjective view of Greenstein on poker and the poker world.

Opinion Ace on the River

I recommend Ace on the River to everyone who plays, or wants to play, poker seriously. Greenstein is a very experienced player who has seen many peaks and lows of other players and has experienced these himself too. I think that this book contains valuable lessons for everyone.

The illustrations are fun too for all, who know the poker world or who have been in Las Vegas. Moreover, you can read about things, which you won’t find in other poker books, such as the psychology behind gambling, traits of a good poker player and there is even a chapter on poker and sex.

On the other hand, there are some disadvantages too that Greenstein mostly writes from his own experience. Experienced online poker players may find his analyses sometimes not in-depth and not completely founded. His psychological analyses could be considered as advanced amateur psychology and some of his advice I wouldn’t recommend to anyone. For instance, he recommends to join juicy games, even though you haven’t got the bank roll for it, because, according to Barry, de chance is big you will make a huge score.

His hand analyses too are limited and these can, in my humble opinion, be explained in such a way that Greenstein’s analyses are flawed. I leave it to the reader to judge this.

Nonetheless, I think that Ace on the River is an interesting book. I certainly learned lessons from it, like having a good poker attitude and poker etiquette. I think that aforementioned critiques shouldn’t be read as negative, because each strategy can be discussed and according to Barry himself: even though you don’t agree, you will learn about the thought processes of your opponents. And to conclude, Barry Greenstein is a legend of the game and therefore Ace on the River is a must read for every poker player.

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