We’re excited to introduce our readers to one of the most successful professional poker players in the world, Dan “Jungleman” Cates. Known for his unconventional style and fearless play, Cates has earned over $11 million in live tournament winnings and is widely regarded as one of the best heads-up no-limit hold’em players of all time. Beyond poker, Cates is a self-proclaimed philosopher and entrepreneur who is passionate about personal development and empowering others to achieve their goals. We believe that Cates’ unique perspective on life and success will inspire and motivate our readers to strive for greatness in all areas of their lives.
What sets your soul on fire? Ex answer: playing poker, travelling, meeting new people, making poker you love so much more entertaining for spectators.
To be precise, poker embodies many things, but not all of them that set my soul on fire. It embodies freedom, which is the original reason why I played.
It embodies being able to use your abilities to make money for yourself and it’s pretty close to meritocracy. Actually, not exactly, but with enough time most people in their lifetime can certainly make good money from poker and set themselves free. They can set theaparts apart from society in that they don’t have to answer to a boss, they can set their own schedule.
In addition, it’s it’s kind of related to tconventional conventional. think the word of egalitarianism. Anyone who plays it you know, now their status doesn’t necessarily matter when they play a play with anyone. All different kidon’tpeople doesn’t have these kinthem of biases to it. And in fact, to be good at poker.The most important trait is to the absence of bias to be able to see the truth as it is and to act on it with your will. My original goal in poker was to be free. I saw it as a game that would allow me to make money.
What got you into playing poker & doing it professionally?
My original goal was to just live off that and not have a day job. And then as I did succeed, my goals increased and increased more. I had in the back of my mind, the idea of doing something with it for the sake of the greater good, which is a story for later. What makes me love most about Poker is the feeling of freedom. Being able to do whatever you want. I think these days actually there is a growing desire for it, to use this as lifestyle, but there are a couple of issues around that. That being by itself, it’s not sustainable, there needs to be a market and that it doesn’t by itself do good for society which I’ll get to in a second. But what I also love most about it is that it allows a certain degree of intellectual competitiveness for money which isn’t that common This is one of the few outlets in which many people can actually make a living.
How does it make you feel? What do you love most about it?
Any time you thought of quitting? Losing streak etc…
Every poker player has faced these doubts of losing over and over.
You know variance is not something that people are easily able to be on. That’s the big thing that you have to get over in order to play. But I totally lost like 10 or 12 times. In fact, recently I had a big losing streak.
I won 14 times and then lost 12 times in a row (laughs).
I haven’t precisely ever thought of quitting but the thought to just stop pursuing high stakes and to just live a comfortable life has totally come to me over and over but I’ve never seemed to choose it largely only because to be honest, I’m driven by the idea of using it for the sake of the greater good. I feel like it’s something that is bigger than me and I can use it to help inspire others.
What lessons has poker taught you in general &/or your downtime & overcoming it taught you about yourself & any life lessons?
Poker has taught me a lot of lessons. Through poker, I was able to see many of the bad personal and social strategies I was using and their superior alternatives which slowly led me to view morality in a different way and to some extent doing currency differently and also to having an idea of what an ultimate strategy might look like.
One of the things poker taught me for example, it really removes arrogance or else you will lose money. It teaches you to be friendlier. It teaches you to be better at managto ementeaches you look look at risk in the right kind of way, which I forgot to mention.
It teaches you to really look at all the details of the game. And to consider things from a broader perspective for sure.
What is an empowering message you can share with others who are going through a challenging time? Or just in general.
Sometimes what helps drive us is when we make our goals more significant than ourselves. Focus on the bigger picture and let that vision drive & inspire you.