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Barry Tanenbaum: 1945-2011

Poker Author Passes Away Tuesday Morning

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Barry TanenbaumBarry Tanenbaum…A Gift to the World

I already miss Barry Tanenbaum. Barry passed away on November 22 from health complications.

I had the pleasure of knowing Barry for many years; in fact I can’t remember ever not knowing Barry because he had a real “presence” in the lives of everyone who knew him.

I don’t know a great deal about Barry in his younger years, but was told that he had a successful career heading up an education department at Tandem Computers in Cupertino, California, before he got into the poker industry, Barry loved poker so much that he and his wife Betty decided to move to Las Vegas after he retired in order to be closer to his “hobby.”

Barry had a knack for the game and quickly moved up in ranks from the small games to the $30-$60 and $40-$80 limit hold’em games at Bellagio, where he earned a reputation as being one of the toughest players in the game. Even though Barry was a big winner, players liked to play with him because he kept things fun. I never heard him complain about a bad beat or blame bad luck on the dealer. He had a great sense of humor and was a role model at and away from the poker table.

One of the things I loved best about Barry was his willingness to share his extensive knowledge. He shared his poker wisdom in the highly acclaimed Advanced Limit Hold’em Strategies, a must read for any serious limit-hold’em player. His articles in Card Player were extremely popular with the readers. He was a member of the Las Vegas Wednesday Poker Discussion Group. In fact, I have fond memories of him sitting back and listening to everyone discuss the proper way to play a hand and then after enough people had ventured guesses, everyone would sit up and pay attention as Barry gave the definitive answer. He really was the “E.F. Hutton” of poker.

Barry was a loyal friend and rarely said “No” when asked for a favor. I called on him many times to give a seminar. I’ve heard him speak on Card Player Cruises trips, at BARGE, at the World Poker Players Conference, at the WSOP, and at charity events. Barry loved to “perform” on stage; he had charisma and held everyone’s attention. He was a great teacher and gave private lessons to both novice and advanced players. I referred many students to Barry and told them if they weren’t satisfied with their lesson, Barry would give them their money back…no one ever took him up on that offer. He had a knack for being able to take tough concepts and break them down into simple, easy to understand concepts.

I’ll always remember how animated Barry was. When he talked about poker, politics, or anything else, he vibrated with energy. He waved his hands, his eyes twinkled; he was engaged. “How can they possibly think that’s the right thing to do?” he’d ask about some decision coming out of Washington. He’d have a look of sheer disbelief on his face and he’d stare at you –- like he was waiting for you to answer for Washington. He’d look down, shake his head, and almost physically put that problem behind him. Then his head would come back up and we’d be onto another topic. I miss those conversations already.

When Barry wasn’t playing poker, he loved spending time with his wife Betty. Theirs was a true love story, one that withstood the test of time. They respected each other and took care of each other. He always referred to her as “the lovely and talented Betty.” They played bridge together and traveled the world hand in hand. Even though Barry’s health was failing and he had lost a lot of strength, Barry beamed with pride and adoration as he walked down the aisle with Betty on their way to renewing their wedding vows just a short time before he passed away.

Barry made the world a better place. We need more Barrys in the poker world. Rest in peace my dear friend.

 
 
 
 

Comments

BOSCOROYAL
7 years ago

Dear Barry,
reviewing and seeing your picture, believe me are giving me so many emotions ..!

... you have been a great father, a grandfather and certainly not so bad, your eyes, your humility, your love for everything and everyone will be indestructible, all I remember and I regret that I will have not have known you.

I recently lost my mother had 73 years after 7 months of last illness, and I miss him so much, she's not playing poker, but when the satellite channel in Italy I did see some poker games was curious and wanted to understand how were many, many plays and laughs ....

NOW YOU ALL UP THERE IN HEAVEN 2 and supervise all
HELLO BARRY:) HELLO MOM;)

 
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hoeburd
7 years ago

Never knew Barry but what I can tell you is that I always looked for articles he wrote. He was able to put his poker knowledge onto paper like no other. Always enjoyed reading his articles and gained a new perspective on the game after reading them. The poker community lost a great teacher. RIP Mr. Tanenbaum

 
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FunTimeNYC
7 years ago

Linda knew Barry very well and did an excellent job describing the man. I spent a lot of hours getting lessons from Barry (providing ideas for 3 columns). We always agreed on Washington but “How can you possibly think that’s the right thing to do?” he’d ask about my play staring with a look of sheer disbelief on his face...

Above all, Barry was a good guy and a complete gentleman. For years, he courageously fought never-ending life-threatening medical conditions without ever complaining, except in his last email because he "had not seen a card in over 6 weeks."

Wherever he is, he is already playing and teaching. He did make the world a better place. I truly miss my friend and teacher.

 
Reply
 

FunTimeNYC
7 years ago

Linda knew Barry very well and did an excellent job describing the man. I spent a lot of hours getting lessons from Barry (providing ideas for 3 columns). We always agreed on Washington but “How can you possibly think that’s the right thing to do?” he’d ask about my play staring with a look of sheer disbelief on his face...

Above all, Barry was a good guy and a complete gentleman. For years, he courageously fought never-ending life-threatening medical conditions without ever complaining, except in his last email because he "had not seen a card in over 6 weeks."

Wherever he is, he is already playing and teaching. He did make the world a better place. I truly miss my friend and teacher.

 
Reply
 

FunTimeNYC
7 years ago

Linda knew Barry very well and did an excellent job describing the man. I spent a lot of hours getting lessons from Barry (providing ideas for 3 columns). We always agreed on Washington but “How can you possibly think that’s the right thing to do?” he’d ask about my play staring with a look of sheer disbelief on his face...

Above all, Barry was a good guy and a complete gentleman. For years, he courageously fought never-ending life-threatening medical conditions without ever complaining, except in his last email because he "had not seen a card in over 6 weeks."

Wherever he is, he is already playing and teaching. He did make the world a better place. I truly miss my friend and teacher.

 
Reply