Dan “Jungleman” Cates finally won his first gold bracelet after taking down the $50,000 Poker Players Championship at the ongoing World Series of Poker (WSOP) live festival at the Rio in Las Vegas. The 31-year-old took home $954,020 for his impressive performance, and his name will now be engraved into one of poker’s most coveted trophies, the Chip Reese Memorial Trophy.
The $50,000 buy-in mixed game tournament drew a total of 63 entries, creating a total prize pool of $3,016,125. The final day was live-streamed on PokerGO and lasted for a marathon 13 hours, with five players battling it out for the top prize. Four-time bracelet winner Josh Arieh failed to make it to the live-streamed final action as he was eliminated in 6th place for $161,422.
The stacked final table included Israeli poker pro Eli Elezra, as well as Pennsylvania’s Paul Volpe, both of whom were looking to capture their fourth WSOP bracelet.
The first player to leave the table was collegiate runner-turned-poker pro Chris Brewer whose dominated pair of sevens failed to outdo Leng’s pocket jacks. Brewer walked away with $211,235 for his 5th place finish. Start-of-day chip leader Elezra saw his chips quickly dwindle as the game progressed, becoming the shortest stack at some point. He managed to climb back but that was short-lived as he eventually hit the rail after losing a Razz battle against Volpe.
During three-handed play, Cates would have been the next player to go, if it wasn’t for a big bluff which he was able to pull off against Leng. Volpe failed to further advance in the tournament and settled for 3rd place with $404,243 in winnings.
Cates entered heads-up play with a massive lead against Leng and never looked back. Leng secured $589,628 as runner-up, his third major score and seventh cash at the 2021 series. In October, he won a $1,500 8-Game 6-Max event to claim his third WSOP bracelet.
More Money For Charity
Reacting to his massive victory, Cates said he’s glad to have finally added a WSOP title to his resume. His latest win was just his third cash at the series. The first came in 2015 when he reached the money in the Main Event. He was not able to score another cash at the festival until four years later when he finished sixth in the 2019 Poker Players Championship.
Winning his maiden WSOP bracelet is a huge achievement for Cates. According to him, he now has a trifecta having also won a title in both the World Poker Tour and Triton. But more importantly, Cates said that his latest win would give him more money to continue to carry out some of his charity works.
In the past, Cates went on record via his blog to state that he’s considering taking a new career path outside of poker, something that would allow him to make a real difference in the world. On the same blog published at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Cates also talked about plans to temporarily retire from poker, revealing that the game no longer satisfied him. But the high-stakes pro seems not prepared to give up playing poker just yet.
More Poker Action From Cates
After winning the $50K Poker Players Championship, Cates said he might also take part in the Main Event which will run until November 17. He also has a pending heads-up match against Run It Once founder Phil Galfond as part of the ongoing Galfond Challenge.
Shortly after his victory, Cates took to Twitter to thank his fans and friends for playing a crucial role in his win.