But more than that, Barry was a friend and inspiration to everyone who knew him, and I doubt that he had an enemy in the world. Everyone loved him. He cared about everyone he met. Whether beginner or expert, Barry treated everyone as a valued friend.
His poker seminars were incredible, as Barry—about the size of Danny DeVito, and blessed with his same sense of timing and comic delivery—had the ability to make poker concepts as clear as a fresh mountain stream. He is the author of Advanced Limit Hold’em Strategy and the co-author of Limit Hold’em: Winning Short-Handed Strategies, and wrote regularly for Card Player Magazine.
Barry and I both did some work for Poker School Online during poker’s pre-Chris Moneymaker days and we were both regular attendees at BARGE every year. In the annual team competition Barry, his wife Betty, and I played on the same team, the Coney Island Whitefish. So we became very good friends and I always learned something new each time I was in his company.
Each year during the World Series of Poker, psychologist, poker-player, and author, Dr. Al Schoonmaker always organized a poker breakfast for the usual suspects, a group that included Al, Barry, Bob Ciaffone, Jim Brier, Nolan Dalla, and me. We’d usually meet at 11 a.m., eat, and talk poker so long that we’d generally leave the restaurant when they were gearing up for the dinner crowd.
I raised my own poker knowledge more during those get-togethers than anywhere else, and will always be grateful for the opportunity to sit and talk poker for hour upon hour with that group. Barry and Betty, who is also a gifted poker player, were major influences in my poker life.
Among the Coney Island Whitefish, we had an expression that became the team’s motto: “Once a Whitefish, always a Whitefish.” And that’s still true. Even now. Even after Barry’s untimely departure from this earth. He was my friend at and away from the poker table, and I shall miss him in years to come as I do today. R.I.P.