Daniel Cates in Conversation with Paul Phua: 'Big players Win Small Pots'

2 years ago
Daniel Cates in Conversation with Paul Phua: 'Big players Win Small Pots'
15 Jun

The only thing better than spotting a new video or interview with one of your favorite players is…seeing the words ‘part 1’ in the title! And that’s what Macau high-stakes supremo Paul Phua has on offer this week, sitting down with the legendary ‘Jungleman’, Daniel Cates, for a chat about heads-up play.

Jungleman, of course, is one of the most-feared heads-up players in the history of the game – demolishing Tom ‘durrrr’ Dwan in their infamous ‘Durrrr Challenge’ match before Dwan – another of Phua’s regular guests on his website - called a premature halt to proceedings.

But why does the 28-year old American focus on head-to-head battles?

“I just like to play more hands. That’s the main thing that I like about heads-up. You play every hand instead of sitting around and folding because you have, like, Ace-10 off-suit under the gun. ‘Oh, well. It’s under the gun, I have to fold now!’ says Cates, who spends a huge amount of time out in the Macau nosebleed games.

Of course, as many players have found out over the years, transitioning from heads-up to full-ring cash games isn’t an easy thing to do, and Cates explains to Phua how it took him a while to understand the sometimes subtle differences.

“I made this mistake a lot when transferring to ring [multi-player cash games]: there are many more combinations of hands in heads-up rather than ring,” says Cates. “I guess eventually something that I learned when playing ring is that the number of combinations that people play varies a lot based on position or whatever… that was a skill I learned from heads-up that transferred eventually to ring once I understood.”

If you don’t know Paul Phua, he’s not just any old interviewer. The billionaire businessman has a real passion for poker and has achieved considerable success at the game, and has now turned his attention to providing a classy website – Paul Phua Poker – which covers everything from the basic rules to the thoughts of the game’s best players.

Cates is the latest in a long line of stars to reveal their top tips and strategies through Phua’s ‘In Conversation with…’ series, Phil Ivey, Tom Dwan, Dan Colman, Rui Cao and many others also providing easily-digestible chunks of what it is that brings them success.

Pre-flop starting hands and how aggressive your opponent is; whether to 3-bet or call depending on who you’re up against – Phua and Cates cover a lot of ground for what is a 4-minute video and well-worth watching, with the promise of more to come.

To finish with, a tip from Cates which Phua also employs:

“I guess one strategy for heads-up that I have is I just try to win all the pots that I possibly can. I’d see where people let me take pots from them and where they don’t.”

Big players win small pots, and they win them a lot - you can’t argue with legends of the game like Cates or Phua!

Articles 1814

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


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