Daniel 'Jungleman12' Cates

Feb 2012 Cover

01 February 2012

Online phenom Daniel Cates discusses his rollercoaster year and his relocation to the UK.

Adam 'Snoopy' Goulding caught up with the online phenomenon that is Daniel Cates to talk relocation, relocation, relocation, the Durrrr Challenge and his plans for 2012.

How are you finding life this side of the Pond?

I'm not really able to do too much because I have no car and am a little outside of London, but yeah, it’s fun. I have lots of free time and it seems a lot like the US in many ways. I came over some time in August, and have been travelling around since then, going to tournaments. I went to the US for a TV show and also to Vienna for a seminar and to check out the city. I’m in Thailand at the moment.

I wasn’t planning on moving prior to Black Friday, but I wish I had for more than one reason. For one thing, the action on Euro sites is better; the players are a little bit weaker, not the regulars as such, but there are more fish at $50/100, which almost never happened on Full Tilt or PokerStars.

How did Black Friday affect you?

Black Friday affected me negatively; there's a lot of long-term things that really stunk it up: it made money transactions way harder; it’s made playing in general a lot tougher, and I still have tonnes of money stuck on Full Tilt and also Ultimate Bet. The numbers are pretty private, but it’s seven-figures.

Is the Girah scandal in the past now?

It's not exactly gone; people still needle me about it occasionally. I think Haseeb [Qureshi] and I took way too much shit for it. Maybe other people disagree, but it's more or less blown over.

I guess I should be less trustful with randoms that my friends vouch for, which is essentially what happened with Girah. It was something neither of us could have predicted. I actually probably gained some sort of perspective on scandals and doing bad things from it all.

The whole thing did cause a little interruption in my friendship with Haseeb, but I still think he’s a good person. I don't think he was trying to scheme to deceive people, that much is true.

What's the latest on the Durrrr Challenge?

We’ve played around 20,000 hands, but we’re not really done yet. Technically, it’s still on, but it’s not really going anywhere. I want durrrr to show a little more commitment to this challenge, especially because we both agreed to play 5,000 hands a month, and that obviously hasn't happened at all.

There are a few reasons why I accepted the challenge, although I assure you that if it were 1:1, I'd still probably have considered it. Personally, I definitely think I had the upper hand, but it's also good for my profile as well. One of the downsides is that it’s a massive commitment. You have to basically assume that you have an edge for most of the 50,000 hands and oftentimes in heads-up matches it’s not always clear who has an edge at certain points in time, as one player might have adjusted to the other.

What happened with your own heads-up challenge?

It’s a combination of a couple of things. People aren’t jumping at the chance to play me heads-up, and it’s Prague, which is an OK location, but not everyone wanted to go there at that particular time, so it was a little inconvenient. In addition, there wasn't any extra incentive like there was with the Durrrr Challenge to overcome their lack of wanting to play me. Maybe if there were more incentive, I would have got more of a response.

How has your game gone this past year?

In cash games, I've won a decent amount of money, especially if you count the money on Full Tilt, but on the whole it’s been a pretty terrible year for me. A lot of things haven't gone the way I wanted them to, mostly non-poker related, little-tangent things. The whole Girah scandal was really, really irritating to me, and I lost money on a lot of my little investments, so to speak. It made me more irritable at the table, but didn't threaten my game. Just a lot of setbacks, which was frustrating to me.

Is there anything you'd like to improve?

I’d like to get better at mixed games. I think there’s lots of money in mixed games, and it would be good to learn them.

There are a number of things in poker that you can do and a way of playing that makes you very difficult to beat. I don't know that much about game theory, but poker is something that can be solved. The more people approach playing GTO [Game Theory Optimal], the more difficult it will become to make money, and that is a concern in the future. However, people still make mistakes, and very basic mistakes, and that’s the good news. Chinese Poker is solved, and people fish really hard at that.