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Dan Cates On Defunct High Stakes Poker Battle: Tom Dwan 'Gambled Beyond His Means'

Cates Hopeful Some Hands In Contest Will Be Played In 2017


Could the long dormant Durrrr Challenge resume this year?

Dan “jungleman” Cates sure hopes so, as he was up about $1.2 million against Tom “durrrr” Dwan when the challenge slowed to a snail’s pace and was later put on ice several years ago. Only about 40 percent of the required 50,000 hands have been played.

The game was $200-$400 no-limit hold’em.

About six years ago, Dwan offered the high-stakes community a chance to play him in a heads-up contest in which the winner would earn a bonus. Dwan would win an extra $500,000 if he finished up by at least $1. If Dwan ended in the hole, he would fork over $1.5 million to his opponent.

The challenge was endorsed by Full Tilt Poker and held on the site.

Last month, the Durrrr Challenge was back in the news after Doug Polk, another top heads-up no-limit hold’em pro, called the contest “one of the most massive scams in poker history.”

“I totally understand where [Doug] is coming from,” Cates told Card Player. However, the Maryland native is still confident that there will be an amicable conclusion to the match.

“I’m not happy how it has gone, but I am trying to resolve things with Tom,” Cates said. “[Dwan] has been somewhat cooperative. He’s been in a bit of trouble and I guess gambled beyond his means or something. He’s been busy with some pretty big stuff lately. I hope that we get it resolved this year. I don’t think it was a scam or ever intended on being one.”

Dwan hasn’t cashed in a major tournament since 2014. In late 2013, Dwan said that he had suffered his worst poker session ever, and there was rumor that it was to the tune of about $4 million. According to online poker tracking site HighstakesDB, Dwan hasn’t played a hand of high stakes poker over the internet since around that time.

Late 2013 was also the last time Cates and Dwan played a session.

Cates said last year that Dwan had lost a live poker hand worth more than $20 million, though it’s not certain if the pot was from the day Dwan had his “biggest loss ever.”

According to Cates, the aftermath of online poker’s Black Friday in April 2011 has also played a role in the challenge going inactive, but he doesn’t think it’s a good reason.

“I do think the challenge should be completed by now,” he said.

“I’m working with Tom to either finish it this year or get a bunch of hands done this year, or just have it resolved this year. He’s still agreeing to pay me some penalties, and I guess if he doesn’t want to do that he’ll have to forfeit or something like that.”

Last week, Dwan tweeted for the first time since May 2015, though it wasn’t about the Durrrr Challenge. Dwan said that it seems people have been impersonating him on Facebook.



Mr. Honest
over 4 years ago

Chances are slim they finish this but the chances are probably even slimmer he sees any cash.


over 4 years ago

With friends like The Jungleman, who needs enemies? Jungle has handled this poorly: criticizing someone publicly for 4 years is the WORST way to get him back to the tables. Adopting that chronic sanctimonious tone PLUS telling details that are not his to tell, then saying he shouldn't say more. Ha!

Durrrr was a gangster online pre-Black Friday 4/15/2011 & was a gangster in the television high stakes shows, and many of us can years later recall exact action in hands he was in: polar opposite of Jungle whose memorable TV hands show him in an unflattering light. But ok, the dogs bark & the caravan moves on, KG