Born in 1989, Daniel Cates is an American professional poker player known to be among the best heads-up No Limit Texas Hold’em players in the world. He won millions of dollars over the years, cashing in 5 million in 2015 alone. Online he plays as jungleman12 or w00ki3z.
He was born and raised in Bowie (MD) and started to play poker at the age of 17. He wasn’t that good and he even had to get a job at McDonald’s in order to get his lost money back. He had a weird childhood, preferring to spend time alone and play video games. Later on he went to the University of Maryland to study Economics, but eventually dropped out in order to play poker full time.
He started to play micro stakes games online under the nickname jungleman12 until he discovered the “reverse game selection” strategy. While in “game selection” you are trying to play only against weak opponents, this strategy is the opposite. The idea is to play among better players in order to learn from them. You are basically paying money to learn, and this is what Daniel Cates did at the beginning.
But he learned a lot and eventually started to beat the best players in heads up games. He went from playing $0.25 / $0.50 to $25 / $50 in just 2 years. In 2009 he almost lost all of his money against Viktor Blom, and then had to start all over and rebuild his bankroll.
He achieved this over the course of one year, and in 2010 he started to play higher stakes games against various professional players, including Tom Dwan, who was an expert in heads up games. He also agreed to take the Durrrr Challenge.
Because Tom was so good at heads-up games, other players were avoiding him. So he had to come up with an attractive offer for the others. They have to play a minimum of 50,000 hands, with blinds of minimum $200 / $400 (other terms were stipulated as well), and after those 50,000 hands they would look who is ahead.
If Dwan is up by $1 or more, the opponent will pay him $500,000 besides everything else that was won along the way. But if the opponent is ahead, then Dwan would pay triple the amount ($1.5 million), in addition to everything that was won so far. Many pro players have accepted the challenge, including Daniel Cates.
Cates has played major games and tournaments over the years and had 2 money finishes at the World Poker Tour, 3 at the EPT and 1 at the WSOP. In 2015 he announced on Twitter that he had lost 5 million dollars at a casino in Manila.All news