Review: Ace on the River - An Advanced Poker Guide

You probably recognize Barry Greenstein, the gaunt looking author of this book from his appearances at WPT events. People call him the Robin Hood of poker because he donates his tournament winnings to charity (Children Incorporated specifically).  Casual players may not realize that he's the most successful cash game player in the world.

When Doyle Brunson was gathering talent to write sections of Super System 2 he approached Mr. Greenstein to write a chapter.  What originally was intended to be a 20 page section on making money at poker to compliment the technical sections of Super System 2 turned into over a hundred pages.  Instead of shortening the content he turned it into a book.  He submitted the book to several publishers and was accept by most of them, but decided to go with a smaller company (Last Knight Publishing) to give himself more control over the process.  The result is... really good.

Before getting into what the book talks about, let's say something about the book itself...  It's gorgeous.  The paper is heavy stock with hundreds of glossy full color photographs from the poker world.  As an end table book with no text it'd be worth the cover price for the images alone (the cover price, by the way, is $25--very inexpensive for any poker book).  So before the review let's start out with Buy This Book.

Unlike most poker books on the market today this isn't a strategy guide, it's a guide to making money playing poker. Much of the content of the book is a collection of real world experiences and advice that Greenstein has gleaned from decades of play in high stakes cash games.  The book is broken into three main sections:

The Poker World

The first 40 or so pages of the book include a brief history of Barry Greenstein's life with emphasis on his poker career where he describes how he became involved with poker and describes his recollection of several big games and the people in them.  He then goes on to describe the people you meet in the brick and mortar poker world and gives some tips on who to toke and why to toke them, and some advice on behavior in this poker world.


This section is advice for the professional poker player or would-be professional poker player.  Strategy wise you won't find much here, but his advice on playing poker for money is excellent and can steer you away from many traps and pitfalls if your ultimate goal is to make a living at poker.

Advanced Play

This section contains the only strategy elements in the book and there aren't many of them, but each hand example is arguably the best and most detailed analysis we've ever seen in an advanced poker book.  All of the examples are no limit holdem actual hands and sometimes his ultimate advice differs from what he actually did at the time--which is a testament to his desire to constantly improve his game.

Bottom Line

At $25, this book is a steal.  It's oversized, extremely well written, contains a boatload of great poker images and some fantastic advice.