HighstakesDB recently had the opportunity of interviewing the NLHE Superstar & general poker enigma, Daniel “jungleman12” Cates.
Daniel Cates is an online phenomenon who has risen quickly through the ranks and is considered by many as one of the best HUNL players in the world. He is highly regarded and feared by many in the online poke world and has won millions of dollars playing online. He has been absent from the online spotlight since Black Friday but has been seen at the tables of Full Tilt and PokerStars during the past week swaiting for action at HUNL and HU PLO. In this interview, we speak about what Daniel has been doing since we last spoke, the durrrr challenge and his future in online poker.
Hi Daniel. Thanks for letting me interview you once again. It’s been about ten months since our last interview with you. What have you been up to since then?
A lot of things actually. I have been focusing largely on personal development these last few months. Working on my charisma, exercising a lot and dieting, and doing some more esoteric stuff such as practicing the alexander technique and scuba diving. In addition, I’ve been doing a lot of travelling... I recently moved to Cape Town in South Africa for the winter and have done many hikes and been to a ton of parties here. I’ve done a lot of cool things including bungee jumping in South Africa off the 2nd largest jump in the world, and getting scuba certified in Mozambique.
You seem to be having a blast as well as doing a lot of personal health stuff which I know you are interested in. You mentioned you have moved to South Africa. How do you find it over there compared to London and do you plan on staying there for the foreseeable future?
Well, it’s far warmer and it’s a different kind of fun than London. It’s not as multicultural and doesn’t have the big city feel as London. Different things to do; in Cape Town you go to the beach or take a hike rather than see Cirque de Soleil or go to a really hip underground club, which isn’t to say Cape Town is lacking in that scene. The residents are kind of similar actually, except the Cape Town people are more in shape and a little friendlier (it’s not as bad as the news says). I am just staying for the winter, and in the summer I will go to Vegas, and Europe.
Have you been playing much poker over the past year, and if so, has it been live or online?
I played earlier in the year mostly and won quite a bit online, and lost a lot of it playing live. I lost slightly and played a little during WSOP; I don’t really like grinding in casinos. I was delayed for a long time trying to get deals online sorted, only to have people flake and not follow through.
You have been in a couple of TV poker shows as well including the Premier League and Big Game. How did you find those experiences when you are used to playing HUNL online?
It’s quite a bit slower than heads-up, but it is a unique experience to be in the lights. It's not every day that I get to be treated like a celebrity :P . I prefer online however, because its far faster, easier to setup and I can do it pretty much anywhere.
You seem to be more of an online specialist as such so I guess its much easier playing in the comfort of your own home without the camera in your face. It has been reported that you have been staked by Tony G to play live and online even though you have won millions of dollars online. Why did you go down the route of being staked?
I am no longer staked by Tony G. Just to limit risk to play the same stakes as I used to, since for the moment, I do not have my full bankroll.
It is widely known that you had a lot of money on Full Tilt when Black Friday happened. I know in our last interview you didn’t want to go into much detail about it, but are you happy to speak more about it now, in terms of how hopeful you are in getting the money back and approximately how much you have stuck?
I have millions stuck still... I assume I will absolutely get it back unless the DOJ wants to look very bad in an obvious way.
It must be frustrating not knowing when it will be paid back. You were involved in the durrrr challenge prior to Black Friday and do you have any further information regarding the state of the match at the moment?
It will continue once we both have enough online and I will be putting more on shortly. It should hopefully start again within two weeks.
It seems like durrrr has quite a bit online and has been doing very well recently. We eagerly look forward to the challenge resuming again. HUNL poker has evolved over the past couple of years during which you have not played so much. Ike said in his recent interview with us that he thought you were really good when you played pre-Black Friday. Would you still play anyone at HUNL and HUPLO?
Most, if not all at HUNL I would play yes. PLO, I would play anyone up to a certain point, because it is a very swingy game and sometimes difficult to determine if you have an edge sometimes. Contrary to some belief, I have been playing and indeed doing the work in the meantime :).
Note: Only yesterday Cates tweeted Dwan saying; “
@TomDwan, would you like to continue our challenge instead of playing everybody else at every game on @FullTiltPoker ?” – To which Dwan has offered the following slightly tetchy reply, "Hey , sure. Also care to pay me our figure finally since I guess now we're tweeting d**k things we could text?"
Ok good to hear but probably not so good to hear for your opponents. You have said in the past that you wanted to face Isildur1 again - what do you think of his game at the moment? He had a tremendous start to the year but is on a big downswing currently.
I think Isildur is very talented at poker, and one of the best. However, I don’t at all agree with many of his bankroll decisions. Historically he is one of the few heads-up players that has seemed to, for the most part dominate me, but I never quit any opponent forever. Just for the day at hand.
So I guess we will be seeing you two battle each other soon then?
I don’t know about soon; there are other players I would rather battle first.
Of course. Who do you rate highly at HUNL and HUPLO currently as the game has changed a lot since 2010?
My friend WCGRider has been a big winner lately in HUNL – he may be one of the best these days. Other very good players are Kanu and some new German players (Raul Gonzales, donthitnrunme) are very good. I haven’t played Isildur in a while but in the past he’s been top basically. As for PLO, Isildur was one of the most difficult I've played. Sauce is perhaps one of the best as well, it was rumored that even Isildur was (somewhat) shy about playing him at one point.
Its good to hear your views on the elite players in online poker. Do you plan on playing poker for the forseeable future or do you have other life plans, and will we be seeing you at the nosebleed stakes once again when you get your money from the DOJ?
Eventually, I will no longer be a poker player. However I really enjoy the freedom, connections, and lifestyle it provides me with. As for when the DOJ pays me, of course I will be online playing the highest stakes ;).
I will try to find something like investing, to learn after poker, or perhaps something it parlays into.
Ok cool. Sounds interesting and I guess that will be at least a few years away. Thanks for sparing your time to talk to me and do this interview.
Thanks, no problem.