Daniel Cates is an American high stakes poker professional. He was born in 1989 in Bowie, Maryland. Also known as jungleman12 or w00ki3z, Daniel is considered to be one of the world’s best heads-up specialists in No Limit Texas Hold’em. According to the HighstakesDB, he is ranked the 3rd on the list of the biggest poker winners, with a total cash game profit of $10,270,847; and only two top professionals, Phil Ivey, and Patrik Antonius are still ahead of him.
All this means that Viktor Blom and Dan Cates should have had a feature and perhaps a long-lasting standoff by now. And they have indeed had one. In a way, it is even a confrontation!
2014: The Chat Log
In 2014, Viktor Blom and Dan Cates had an online match. Their chat log contained a heated exchange of harsh words, like “eat this,” “u suck” and “pay your debt scumbag” which indicated that there should have been some serious tension between the two players. Such a tone is rather an exception among poker pros, as they usually show a lot of mutual respect. But here it is not the case!
In an interview that followed shortly afterwards, Dan Cates took the liberty of calling Viktor Blom “a degenerate,” to say that Viktor “was drunk” and also many other unkind and derogatory remarks about Viktor’s personality and playing styles. Such utterances never just come out of the blue. There clearly must have been a story behind it. But what?
Now these two players do have some nosebleed stakes history. Dan Cates was one of the victims of Isildur1’s quick rise back in 2009, when nobody knew who that mysterious Swedish phenomenon was. Later on, in 2009, they had an intense heads-up meet that cost Cates $500,000. Perhaps he had been nursing the grievance against Viktor Blom since then?
When Viktor Blom and Dan Cates agreed for a heads-up Superstars Showdown match in January, it was already anticipated that on top of the usual challenge procedures, i.e. 2,500 hands of $50/$100 over four tables on the PokerStars site, there would be some sparks of tension and even trash talking between the players!
It was a tough match, lasting about four hours. Though one of the largest pots of $54,400 was taken by Cates thanks to an unfortunate cooler for Blom on the river, the outcome of the match was in favor of Isildur1. He won the match with $51,000 in profit.
Dan Cates was only able to sweeten the pill in another heads-up match with Viktor Blom, which was $50/$100 No-Limit Hold’em on PokerStars; gaining back $40,000, but still on a negative individual balance against Isildur1.
Both games were full of trash talk, with some more expected to follow soon afterward. However, in an interview that was taken next month, Daniel “jungleman12” Cates had tried to stay polite. He mentioned the great progress in poker Viktor Blom had made since the first games Cates has played against him.
Jungleman12 also rejected the allegations that the two players quarreled. However, emphasizing that they were “getting along fine” and that there was “no particular grudge,” he agreed that they were rivals; just rivals and nothing else, which was of course perfectly natural for high-stakes pros!
January 2017 marked another losing streak for Daniel Cates in his dueling history with Viktor Blom, moving it further into the red by about $200,000 more. It was a five and half hour heads-up match in which Isildur1 took a good lead, after only half an hour of play. All the attempts of Dan Cates made to turn the course of events in his favor (playing under the moniker “w00ki3z”) ultimately fell flat. The stakes moved down $1,000/$2,000 to $400/$800, but Viktor Blom’s winnings only continued to grow in size!
Three hours more, and the balance for Isildur1 was over +$100,000. W00ki3z was only able to produce a kind of mini-comeback, reducing this number to +$40,000. But one hour later it was all over, with an impressive balance of +$214,000 for Isildur1!
The chat log got overheated with Daniel’s trash talk. Cates had been sarcastically commenting on Blom’s ways and styles, as well as his undeserved luck, but it only seemed that Viktor Blom had more fans than usual with all that stuff; even when, closer to the end, Cates made some “hope you die” and “scum” comments.
What does Dan Cates Criticise Viktor Blom For?
Daniel Cates is no longer trying to be polite. He is pretending to be on good terms with Viktor Blom. He strongly criticizes Blom for not taking poker seriously. While other players spend a lot of time and effort studying the game and running the simulations, Blom, according to Cates, never does his homework. Instead of analysis and training, Blom only plays by copying the ways of other players, something which has very little to do with actual true professionalism.
But even assuming that Viktor Blom “is an anomaly” — the only one, or one of a few high-stakers who still do not use Poker Tracker or other professional study software — why does this annoy Cates that much? Just because Cates is still in the red with Blom? Or is there any other reason that losing money to Blom is “so incredibly annoying” to Cates, as he said in the chat log?
According to Cates, Blom owes him a lot of money ($100,000), and he is very slow and reluctant to cover the debt (“pay your debt, scumbag.”)
Well, it is not surprising that many high-stakers owe money to each other! Indeed, with all these upswings and downswings, it is really very difficult to reliably manage the sizeable bankroll needed for regular participation in high-stakes tournaments and heads-ups.
But Cates says that Blom owes money to many pros, and that is why he has debt-managing problems. This partly explains why Cates seems to have lost patience, and to be getting more and more irritated.
Viktor Blom has never commented on this issue himself.