In a recent interview, Daniel "jungleman12" Cates, 21, tells the story about the tough time 3 years ago when he had to work at McDonalds to finance his poker and how he turned around the negative trend and became one of the world's best poker players. Cates also reveals 2 players he's afraid of playing No Limit Hold'em against.
Just like many of today's most successful poker players online, Daniel Cates has been broke many times and he knows what it feels having a 9-6 job when the poker incomes aren't enough. He started playing poker at the age of 17 and he was was a bright student in school who tended to excel whatever he turned his attention to. However, he wasn't a successful poker player at first and he even had to work at McDonalds to finance his poker for some time.
"I was still losing lots of money and didn't really have a bankroll. Honestly, at the point that I worked in McDonalds, I wasn't very motivated and I just wanted to play low stakes and try to win there," Daniel Cates says
"What really motivated me was seeing that I could win at lower stakes. When I won my first few hundred dollars I was like 'Oh shit, I can actually win at poker', so that really inspired me to improve so I could keep winning."
During 2009 Daniel Cates had built a nice bankroll and he was a regular in the $25/$50 and $50/$100 heads-up games at Full Tilt Poker. However, not many knew who he was until a player under the alias "Isildur1" registered an account in November 2009 and crushed all high stakes heads-up regulars - including Cates who lost $500,000 to him (about half of his bankroll).
"Viktor is really, really good. He's a really challenging opponent. I haven't played him in a while (their last match was the PokerStars SuperStar Showdown in which Cates lost $45k) but he is one of the best heads-up NL players in general."
Even though he lost half of his bankroll to the mystery Swede (at that time), he continued winning against other high-stake regulars and the year after, 2010, he crushed everyone (including Tom Dwan who lost almost a million to him in the durrrr challenge) and ended up as the biggest winner online. 2011 has also been a fantastic year for Cates and, at the moment, he's the second biggest winner online.
Even though Daniel Cates seems to be unafraid to back down anyone when it comes to playing NLH HU, there are still a few players he avoids playing against.
"There are a few really good NL players I find tough to play against. There are certainly players in other games that I won't play and guys at NL I won't play at stakes I'm not comfortable with. I think that Isildur1 and Scott Palmer (a.k.a. URnotINdanger2) are the two best players in general right now."