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Daniel Cates: An Old Online Pro at 20

by Keith Woernle

If you’re an online poker player, then you know the name Jungleman12. He’ll soon be known to the rest of the world as Daniel Cates. A 20-year-old phenom, Cates has been crushing the high-stakes world of online poker these last few years. Cates is still in school right now at the University of Maryland, but as his 21st birthday approaches in November, live players can add another name of which to be fearful. Cates has made millions playing online this year alone, and the heads-up specialist has recently added his knowledge to Cardrunners, an online poker training site. He’s also available for private coaching, for the low price of between $1,000 and $2,000 — per hour! We caught up with Daniel to see what life is like as an affluent youth, how he spends his money, and his thoughts on the Durrrr Challenge.

So how long have you been playing poker?
A little over three years. Three and a quarter, something like that.

Briefly tell us how you got into the game.
I just liked the idea of playing a game to win money. And poker was a way to do that instead of actually working.

How did Cardrunners approach you?
Someone asked me if I wanted to do videos, and then eventually Taylor Caby asked me if I wanted to be a lead instructor, so I started making normal videos for the site.

Do you prefer teaching through your videos or your individual coaching?
Individual coaching is probably better for a few different reasons. I guess videos build up renown, but in them I don’t give out as much. I just give out more to my students I’d say. But the videos give out so much more to the community. So through individual coaching I’d help someone so much more, but on the whole videos help more people probably. The aggregate is greater than for an individual student.

And your coaching costs?
Two K for an hour for anyone who plays $25-$50 and higher. One K for lower.

So poker for you, is it a career or just a chance to gain financial security so as to puårsue other endeavors?
I think I’d want it to be my career at this point. My dream for while has been not to have a real job, or not to have a nine to five job or anything like that. I guess my dream is just to be really good at poker.

How much are you looking forward to playing in the U.S. when you turn 21?
A decent amount. I won’t be playing immediately though. I’m really looking forward to playing in the World Series next year though, and hopefully winning a bracelet. It would help my career, and be really cool.

Any tournaments in the near future?
Yeah, I think I’ll play the EPT London and maybe a couple other EPT’s as well.

Has the money changed you at all?
Well, my view of money has changed. What I used to view as a lot of money isn’t a lot of money now. But I guess I have higher self-esteem. Honestly, everything’s changed.

What pros would you say you respect the most?
Well, I don’t know much about live pros, so I couldn’t say which one of those I respect. Maybe Phil Ivey because he’s been in the game a really long time and apparently crushes everything. And for online pros, I respect my friend UrNotInDanger a lot. We came up in stakes together. In order to have respect for myself I have to have respect for him too because we’re on the same page in a lot of ways. And we’ve both helped each other out a lot. And I think we’re both very similar in a lot of ways. Another player I respect a lot is Isildur1. He’s a really tough player to play against. He adapts to what you do. And he has lots of heart too, that’s for sure. I mean, he puts his whole bankroll on the line to play just about anyone. But these are just a couple of the players I respect. There’s tons more.

What’s it like playing Tom Dwan?
He’s pretty tough. I don’t want to give too much away. It was somewhat intimidating the first time we played. I wasn’t sure what to expect from someone as well-regarded as Tom Dwan. It was actually easier when I first started before he started adjusting to how I was playing. In fact for a while I was a losing player to him, but then I had to readjust and things went better for me.

Are you thinking about taking the Durrrr Challenge?
I’m strongly considering doing it. (Laughs) And if I do, I’m just going to work hard at strongly making sure I don’t lose. But I think it’s a profitable situation for me.

Once you turn 21, do you see yourself transitioning to becoming more of a live player?
I think it will always be mostly online, but I’ll play more and more as time goes on.

Seeing as this is your job, what’s your computer set-up or home office like?
It’s basically just a really nice computer and a pretty big monitor. It’s not much more than that. I have a really good sound system and just quality everything. But it’s not too elaborate.

No 100-inch flatscreen?
(Laughs) No, not yet. But that sounds like a good idea. Maybe I should look into that.




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