Name: Daniel Cates
Birthdate: November 18, 1989
Online Screen Names: jungleman12 (Full Tilt Poker), w00ki3z (PokerStars)
Websites: @junglemandan (twitter.com/junglemandan), blog (http://www.cardrunners.com/blog/JungleMan)
Daniel Cates, better known in the online poker world as jungleman12, is widely considered one of the best high stakes No-Limit Hold’Em heads-up specialists in the world. Gaining his online moniker from being known as the hairy, smelly, and wild live cash game player at the tables, his style (minus the lack of personal hygiene) is one that’s in attempt to beduplicated across the globe. Although being only in his early twenties, the online professional player has built a reputation as being one of the most skillful and thoughtful players around.
Cates began playing poker in high school, and started his way into the poker world at smaller stakes cash games. During this time, he mainly played anywhere from $.25/$.50 to $1/$2 No-Limit Hold’em. Although Cates had a reasonable grasp on the game, as most beginners, he was a losing player. Exhausting nearly $3,000 over the course of his 2007 summer, Cates decide that he needed to gain more knowledge and expertise if he ever wanted to regain his confidence, and his money. And that he did.
Recognizing that it was going to take a major overhaul of his expectations and demeanor to become a successful and profitable poker player, Cates started from square one. He dropped down considerably in stakes, and learned strategic bankroll management along his journey back to the low stakes games. 2008 proved to be a fantastic year for him, as during a ten month time frame, had managed to build his bankroll slowly from the micros, to the high stakes cash level of $25/$50. Playing sit-and-go’s, multiple tables at a time, became his bread-and-butter game for bankroll profits. Despite a strong background in ring and short-handed games, Cates eventually found his niche when he stumbled upon the profitability of heads-up play. It was here, that Cates’ earnings began to skyrocket.
Playing all takers from $1/$2 to $50/$100, Cates earned over $1 million dollars by the end of 2009. Cates admits, that although he rose through the ranks quickly, it wasn’t without specific lapses in proper bankroll management. Although 30 buy-ins was often the level Cates decided he would risk moving up with, it’s definitely not considered ideal. Despite being successful a majority of the time, Cates came across roadblocks after playing heads-up at the $25/$50 level, and specifically against someone he respects a lot, the infamous Isildur1. Cates lost close to $500,000 in one day to the unknown Swede.
After taking the loss, Cates used a large portion of his recorded sessions against Isildur1 and other tough high-stakes players to improve his own game and theories. After that point, Cates has never really looked back. In fact, Cates has mentioned that he truly believes that at heads-up No-Limit Hold’Em, he nearly can’t be beaten. He mentioned without a HUD (heads up display) it’s nearly impossible. Confidence has certainly never been something Cates has lacked.
Although Cates has certainly acquired most of his fame from the online world, the man known as “jungleman12” has recently stepped into the world of live tournament play. He’s played often in Europe, and just recently as Cates turned 21 made a deep run in his U.S. live tournament debut at the $5000 buy-in United States Poker Championship Main Event. Cates finished 45th.
What has grabbed a ton of attention for Cates has also been his involvement in the Durrrr Challenge. Tom Dwan, whom of which is also considered one of the top online players in the world, came to Cates with the initial proposition. The challenge involves playing either No-Limit Hold’Em or Pot-Limit Omaha heads-up for 50,000 hands. There is a side bet involved, along with other stipulations that the two participants must both agree upon. What’s grabbed most of the spotlight throughout the challenge however, is not the magnitude of the stakes being offered, but the egos between the two players. Prior to the challenge, Cates was up close to $1 million dollars lifetime versus Dwan, when surprisingly Dwan came to him with the challenge offering. Thrown for a loop, Cates was surprised when Dwan perceived he had an edge over the No-Limit specialist. Although they certainly hold mutual respect for one another, the challenge has been an intense grudge match thus far.
After gaining tons of recognition and notoriety, Cates was soon approached by Team Cardrunners. Taylor Caby, one of the lead instructors for the site, came to Cates with a proposition. He wanted Cates to instruct and direct videos for their site. It wasn’t long before they asked Cates if he wanted to also become a lead instructor. He took the offer immediately. The decision has helped Cates build tremendous momentum for a profitable career not only in poker, but even eventually when he leaves the virtual felt. The Cardrunners instructor also gives individual coaching sessions, which range from $1000-$2000 per hour depending on the stakes.
When Daniel Cates isn’t playing poker he spends a lot of time with his family, and enjoys playing video games such as Starcraft. He’s currently a student at the University of Maryland, where he also resides, and is pursuing a degree in Economics. While he only has a little over a year left before receiving his degree, he certainly considers poker his main focus and career choice. Under the screen names of “jungleman12” and “w00ki3z”, you can find Daniel Cates playing online at Full Tilt Poker and Poker Stars respectively.