Dan Cates With Paul Phua: From Playing Poker With Scraps to The Biggest Games in The World

1 year ago
Dan Cates With Paul Phua: From Playing Poker With Scraps to The Biggest Games in The World
20 Jul

(Photo: Cardplayer.com)

Paul Phua and his Poker School have been getting a lot of headlines and great reviews recently, the mix of strategy advice from the game’s biggest names - such as Phil Ivey and Tom ‘durrrr’ Dwan - mixed in with player profiles, lessons and tips for beginners and host of other excellent content with highly professional production values.

This week’s bonus video sees Daniel ‘Jungleman’ Cates in the hot seat, a short but revealing insight into his beginnings as a poker player, and his journey through the ranks to become one of the top high-stakes player in the history of the game.

Pennies and paper money

While most of us learn the game playing for pennies with family or friends, or at the online micro-stakes, ‘Jungleman’ had a slightly different introduction:

“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,” he says, the then 15-year old attracted to poker because he “just liked the idea of playing a game for money because l was good at games.”

Getting better

The majority of Phua’s content focuses on bite-sized chunks of ‘improvement’ tips from those who have made it to the very top of poker’s Mount Olympus, and a poker school which has Dan Colman, Rui Cao and Cates himself as occasional tutors can’t be a bad place to learn.

‘Jungleman’ Cates, with almost $5million in tournament earnings to his name, and vastly more from his love of the nosebleed cash games, explained how he himself improved:

“l tried to learn from specialists each time l learned a game, or get their opinions on things, if l had no idea what l was doing… and over time I learned more and more.”

A tried and tested method, and one which Paul Phua himself clearly follows, the billionaire businessman coming to serious poker fairly late in life and improving rapidly by playing and talking with the elite pros in the Macau high-stakes world.

Cashing In

For Jungleman, it’s cash games almost all the way nowadays, stating that:

“l prefer situations where my opponents are more likely to make mistakes… in a cash game the deeper it is, the easier it is to play worse,” adding: “Yeah, l just prefer the game to be harder, and l think it’s more fun.”

How does he manage to win so much and so often? A question often asked of pros and rarely answered clearly. Not so with Cates, however, who explains exactly where his superiority comes from.

“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.”

If you want to know how Cates’ cool nickname came about, and what he feels his own most memorable moments in the game are, check out the player profile vid below…

…and there’s a ton of other content to help you raise your own game to the next level too. Free to subscribe to and the world’s best players on tap? You know it makes sense.

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Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more


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