20th Aug 2013
Bowie (MD), United States
Known colloquially by his online username ‘Jungleman’ to everyone in the poker world, Dan Cates is a controversial presence in high-stakes circles. After beginning his poker career at the tender age of 17, he became obsessed with the challenge of becoming a winning player.
Employing an unusual strategy that he called “reverse table selection”, Jungleman would seek out the hardest regs to play at each level over the easy fish. He would then study their play intensely, and figure out a way to beat them. Specializing in the aggressive variant of heads-up poker, he began playing at the 0.25c/0.50c level in 2008. Just two short years later, he was a well-known $25/$50 regular.
He first shot to fame after he doggedly continued to challenge the best players around, and ended up losing over $500,000 in 2009 to Swingy Swede ‘Isildur1’ (Viktor Blom). Jungleman has since admitted that the whopping sum was more than half of his bankroll at the time, making it a devastating loss. However, it didn’t take him long to clamber back to the top, becoming the biggest online winner of 2010 with staggering profits of over $5 million.
Jungleman is currently in the middle of the Durrrr Million Dollar Challenge, a high-profile one-on-one match against infamous online hotshot Tom ‘durrrr’ Dwan. The rules state that durrrr would play anyone heads-up online for 50,000 hands, with both competitors 4-tabling either No Limit Hold’em or Pot Limit Omaha at the nosebleed stakes. If his opponent ended up ahead by $1 or more, Dwan would pay out $1,500,000 on top, but would only receive an extra $500,000 if the roles were reversed.
Having completed almost 35% of the hands required for the challenge, Jungleman was up almost a million dollars from Dwan before Black Friday put a stop to the action. Since then, railbirds have been eagerly awaiting the challenge’s resumption after a long hiatus. In March 2013, Jungleman publicly called out Dwan for the delay, sarcastically tweeting “@TomDwan, would you like to continue our challenge instead of playing everybody else at every game on @FullTiltPoker?” An annoyed Dwan quickly shot back, saying “Hey @Junglemandan, sure. Also care to pay me our figure finally since I guess now we're tweeting d**k things we could text?"
A jokingly self-proclaimed ‘Rainman’, Jungleman has never been one to bite his tongue, arguably earning himself a few critics in the process. He was a vocal contributor in the recent multi-accounting debate, posting on 2+2 that “it seems to me the problem of multi-accounting is a matter of technicality—it is unethical because it breaks the rules (bring on the flame)”. In the same thread, he challenged Ben ‘milkybarkid’ Grundy to a heads-up match at any stakes, calling the British-born player a “lil bitch”.
Despite what any naysayers may think about the sometimes-abrasive Jungleman, the fact is that he is one of the most successful online players ever, with current winnings standing at over $7 million. In addition to this, his constant thirst to beat the best will no doubt continue to entertain – because if there’s anything that high-stakes fanboys can’t get enough of, it’s huge egos and even huger stacks of cash.