For Daniel “Jungleman” Cates, success at the poker table has been a learning experience rooted in the numbers.
The world-renowned high stakes poker phenom started building his foundation of success at an early age. Math and science always piqued Cates’ interest. He participated in an exclusive science and technical program while in high school and scored in the 99+ percentile on the SAT, with a perfect score on the math section. Daniel could have never predicted he would be utilizing his strong math and analytical skills in a successful poker career.
Cates first played poker in 2007 while still in high school, gaining a practical outlet for his mathematical expertise. He started with local cash games while on summer break, but learned quickly that mastery of the game requires careful practice and dogged determination. That summer Cates lost around $3,000. His meager pay while working at McDonald’s amplified the loss’s devastating monetary effect for Cates.
Undeterred, Cates continued on at the University of Maryland while studying computer science. Daniel built his poker skills at the lowest stakes, discovering the world of online poker in 2008. While Cates started with sit-n-gos, he eventually moved to $.25/.50 NLHE. Finding success, Daniel swiftly worked his way up to $25/$50 NLHE, discovering his niche in heads-up play.
In late 2009 and still as a young college student, Cates skyrocketed from mild success to international notoriety when his bankroll was blitzed by Viktor “Isildur1” Blom. Daniel regrouped and went on to win nearly $7.5 million online in 2010 and 2011, before April 15th, 2011, AKA “Black Friday.” In fact, in 2010 he earned more money online than any other player in the world, raking in a staggering $5.5 million.
In that same year, Cates’ fearless tactics shined when he accepted the “durrrr Challenge.” “Black Friday” has halted play, but with nearly 40% of the challenge completed, Daniel is leading by a seemingly insurmountable $1.3 million.
When facing the best in the game, Cates has come out on top. He is currently up more than a combined $3.5 million on Tom “durrrr” Dwan, Patrik Antonius, and the infamous Phil Ivey.
While still participating in the fast-paced world of online poker, Cates is increasingly returning to his roots of live poker. He can sometimes be found playing on television, recently winning $300,000 and coming in second place at PartyPoker.com Premier League V competition.
Even though Cates has achieved substantial success in his young career, he still remembers the grind and is dedicated to helping other aspiring poker players. The last two years, Daniel has given away a seat to one player who had never played the WSOP Main Event. He is also sought out globally as a poker coach.
Cates currently lives in London. “Black Friday” did spur him to appreciate and experience life. Daniel enjoys reading, video games and independent and unique music. He spends his time working out, traveling and going out with friends. Of course, this is only when he’s not busy building his skills for the next great poker challenge lurking just around the corner.