These days, Dan “Jungleman12” Cates is known as one of the most successful No-Limit Hold’em players in the world. But there was once a time when Cates was an unknown, lonely high school student. Cates recently discussed his humble beginnings with iGaming.org, and here’s an excerpt from the interview:
I didn’t get along with my family that well, but it was not like we were fighting all the time. I was mostly isolated and played a shit ton of video games after discovering them,” Cates started recalling some of his early childhood memories.
“In school I was pretty lonely, as I didn’t have many friends and I wasn’t too good at making them. I was good at school, very good actually, and I went to the only magnet school in the area called Eleanor Roosevelt High School where I was in the science and tech program.
Cates goes on to describe how he played Command and Conquer for endless hours, despite his family’s best attempts to stop it. But there was definitely some good to come out of all this because Jungleman credits his experience with this game for helping him become a better poker player.
When Cates did get into poker, he had some rough experiences in live games. In fact, he felt like a lot of people cheated him in these games. When Jungleman began playing online poker, he started out with $5 and $10 sit and go’s. Eventually, he joined CardRunners and began playing heads-up cash games.
This is the point where Cates’ career really took off because he kept improving his game and making lots of money. As Cates says, he got to a point where he was playing against many of the people who served as his instructors.
After 2010, Jungelman became a bonafide star when he won $5 million in online poker. Since then, he’s remained a top NLHE player, winning hundreds of thousands of dollars at Full Tilt over the past few years.