Dan ‘Jungleman’ Cates Wins Back-to-Back WSOP Poker Players Championship
Last Updated: February 2, 2023
After a long and grueling final table battle, Dan ‘Jungleman’ Cates has done it. He took down the prestigious $50,000 Poker Players Championship, successfully defending his 2021 title!
Cates outlasted the star-studded field of 112 to claim his second WSOP bracelet and $1,449,103 for his epic triumph.
Despite being against tough competition, many of whom had far more experience in mixed games, “Jungleman” was very confident throughout the event, announcing his win on Twitter a couple of days prior.
Ok gang I’ve basically already won the Poker Players Championship. I’ve successfully duped my opponents into thinking they had a CHANCE!! Time to go SAVAGE on them
— Daniel Cates 🇺🇸 🌎 (@junglemandan) June 29, 2022
And while it was a cocky statement (to say the least), Cates backed it up with actions, as he did, in fact, win the tournament.
It was an eventful final table, and not just because of big money on the line or the prestigious title. ‘Jungleman’ stole the show in every which way possible, entertaining and confusing his opponents and those watching alike.
The Macho Man Goes All the Way
For the final table, Cates assumed the role of Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage, one of the most famous professional wrestlers of the past, and he stuck with it all the way through.
It was certainly not something you’d expect on the final table of the arguably most prestigious poker tournament in the world, but ‘Jungle’ made it work.
Five players came back for the conclusion of the 2022 WSOP Poker Players and Dan Cates, the defending champion, started the night as the chip leader.
— Jeff Platt (@jeffplatt) July 1, 2022
Johannes Becker was the first to leave the proceedings when he got the last of his chips in the middle with A♦10♠ against Benny Glaser’s A♣Q♦.
Those chips brought no lick to Glaser, though, as he would follow Becker to the rail after the last of his chips were claimed by Japan’s Naoya Kihara during a 2-7 Single Draw round.
The three-handed play lasted for a while, but Kihara became the next player out as he fell at the hands of Macho Man himself.
During a 2-7 Triple Draw round, Cates managed to improve to a Q-8 on the final draw while Kihara paired up, and that was all she wrote for the Naoya, who was looking for his second bracelet.
Dan Cates Making Poker History
With Kihara out of the picture, ‘Jungleman’ only had one player to get through to accomplish the feat of becoming the first player to win the Players Championship back-to-back and only the third player to win more than once.
In the latter category, Michael Mizrachi still holds the record, as he won the event three times – in 2010, 2012, and 2018.
The last player standing between ‘Jungleman’ and poker history was Brazil’s Yuri Dzivielevski, an experienced mixed games player.
He still had a mountain to climb as Cates entered the final stretch with over 3 to 1 chip lead. But Yuri wouldn’t let Macho Man have his day without putting up a serious fight.
In the next few hands, the Brazilian closed the gap, and before Cates knew what hit him, chip stacks were practically even.
Cates struck back, creating a gap once again before Dzivielevski went on a hot run to take over the chip lead and seriously threatened to run away with the win.
But in the end, poker gods favored Cates.
After hours of play and trading chips back and forth, just before 6 a.m., the two played the final hand. ‘Jungleman’ called off the last of Dzivielevski’s chips with J♦4♦ and binked a four on the flop to win against Brazilian’s Q♦5♣.
And with that, Daniel ‘Macho Man’ Cates completed his amazing run through this tough tournament and accomplished what no player has accomplished before, winning back-to-back Poker Players Championship titles!