Watch: Dan “Jungleman” Cates reveals how he made his name

Watch the new video interview for the Paul Phua Poker School, in which Dan Cates reveals how he went from playing poker with scraps of paper at high school to the biggest poker games in the world. Paul Phua picks the highlights

In his previous video interview for the Paul Phua Poker School, Dan “Jungleman” Cates talked about the aggression that has made him one of the world’s best heads-up players – “I just try to win all the pots I can!”. He also talked about how he could apply some of those heads-up tactics to full-ring games.

In this latest video for the Paul Phua Poker School, Jungleman (as we all call him at the poker table) tells us a bit more about how he became the successful poker player he is today. For anyone dreaming of becoming a poker pro, it’s instructive to see how it’s done!

How Jungleman Dan started playing poker

Dan Cates made more than $10 million profit on the Full Tilt poker site, and has more than $5 million in tournament cashes. He also plays cash, including in “the Big Game” that I play in. He’s still just 27 years old, yet he has already been playing poker for 12 years. Jungleman reveals in this new video interview for the Paul Phua Poker School that he started at the age of 15:
“l played with some friends in high school during lunch periods using torn-up little pieces of paper as chips, playing for $10 or whatever.”
How times have changed! But while the stakes may be different, Jungleman’s competitive drive has remained undimmed.

How Dan Cates improved his poker strategy

We asked Jungleman how he improved his poker strategy. It’s striking how, in so many of these interviews for the Paul Phua Poker School, the pros agree on one key poker tip: it is vital to learn from other players, and get a second opinion on problematic hands.
“In the start, it was all me,” says Dan Cates. But, he says, whenever he tried to learn a new game, he would try to find “the specialists that were best in those games”. Poker proved no different. “it’s helped in random different ways,” says Dan Cates, “like other players gave me their opinions or whatever on things, and over time I learned more and more.”
As Dan Colman said in his recent video interview for the Paul Phua Poker School, “a big part [of success] is having friends who are very good players”.

Dan “Jungleman” Cates’s playing style

Over time, each player develops his own playing style. Jungleman’s is aggressive (he talked in the last video about how he likes to 3-bet with 5-6 suited), but it is also highly data-driven and analytical. Asked about his strongest attributes as a poker player, he says:
“I guess one of my strongest attributes would be that l understand the game. l think l understand the game better than most opponents. Just how it works, and all the decision tree points. l have a very good memory for each decision tree point, and also how players play different ones of those. It’s either that, or that l adjust better than they do. It’s one of those two things.”

How Dan Cates got his “Jungleman” nickname

Finally, Dan Cates reveals how he got his unusual nickname, “Jungleman”, which also inspired his screen name, “Jungleman12”.
“l was called ‘Jungleman’ when l played live,” Dan Cates says in the video, “because players… because I was, like, kind of a crazy person, and also because l was, like, pretty hairy, l had a lot of hair. l had longer hair, too. So they called me Jungleman just to, like, sort of mock me, and I thought it was a funny name. And yeah, it stuck, for a long time.”

Who is Daniel “Jungleman” Cates? Poker player profile

  • Dan Cates, 27, from the United States, is one of the world’s leading heads-up poker players.
  • He plays online under the names “Jungleman12” and “w00ki3z”.
  • He has made more than $10 million profit on the Full Tilt poker site.
  • He has nearly $5 million in live tournament cashes.
  • He often plays cash poker for high stakes in “the Big Game” in Macau and Manila.
  • He is known for his aggressive style of play.