Poker Coverage: Poker Tournaments Casino News Sports Betting Poker Strategy

Dan Cates Responds To Cheating Accusations From Dan Bilzerian

In Written Response, Cates Admits And Apologizes For Ghosting, While Nick Schulman Defends His Character


Dan Cates responded to cheating allegations lobbed at him by Dan Bilzerian Wednesday afternoon. Cates tweeted “My defense for @DanBilzerian ‘s accusations” with a link to a Google document explaining the circumstances surrounding his admitted cheating.

Last weekend, Bill Perkins tweeted nameless accusations about being cheated in a high-stakes private poker game played on a mobile app. On Monday, in a now-deleted tweet, Bilzerian said that Cates was playing in the game under the account that was attributed to Sina Taleb, a cheating method known as “ghosting.”

In a five-paragraph response to Bilzerian, Cates admitted to playing on the account but reconciled his actions by claiming that many other pros were doing the same. He also said Sina’s last name was not in fact Taleb but did not give out his correct name.

“I played very few hands against Bill Perkins, who sat in a game I understood was rampant with professionals who were ghosting,” said Cates. “I thought since many on the site were using pros to play for them (which was clear by the uniquely high level of play) at the time it felt acceptable for me to be playing.”

Like Perkins’ initial accusations, which described the scandal as one “that would make the Mike Postle scandal look like a church service,” Cates did not name any pros who were ghosting the accounts.

Cates ultimately apologized toward the end of his statement, noting that he generally holds himself to high ethical standards and will do his best “to behave better in the future.”

It’s not the first time that Cates has been linked to a high-profile cheating scandal. In 2011, Cates backed and coached a Portuguese high-stakes player Jose “Girah” Macedo, who was crushing high-stakes games and was generally heralded as the next poker prodigy by the community.

It was revealed that Macedo was scamming many high-stakes players by convincing them to play a specific opponent, “Sauron1989.” Macedo vouched that he was a fish, but in reality, it was a friend of Macedo. Macedo sweated the matches and relayed the hole cards to his friend through Skype.

After speculation about Cates’ involvement in the scandal, he admitted to multi-accounting and said that he played under screen names that belonged to Macedo and Haseeb Qureshi, a fellow high-stakes pro that also backed Macedo.

The last graph of Cates’ response was a thank you to his friends that have stuck up for him over the last few days.

Three-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner, World Poker Tour champion, high-stakes cash game regular and famed poker broadcaster Nick Schulman responded to Cates’ tweet simply with the hashtag #freejungle.

Schulman elaborated on his hashtag when he responded to a commenter. According to his tweet, he felt that the level of outrage from the masses exceeded the crime.

There may be a bit of a divide between high-stakes regulars and the masses on this issue as multi-accounting and ghosting has been more rampant in the smaller circles where it is tougher to get action, especially during the pre-Black Friday era of online poker, which many of today’s greats were a part of.

A couple of other high-stakes professionals have made similar transgressions in the past. In 2006, Justin Bonomo was caught entering online tournaments using multiple accounts. Josh “JJProdigy” Field was also caught multi-accounting in high-stakes online tournaments that same year.

In 2011, Prahlad Friedman accused Bonomo of sharing an account with Isaac Haxton. Those claims were never substantiated, however.

Cates received some blowback on social media regarding the lack of sincerity regarding his written apology. In a tweet from earlier today, Cates again apologized and reiterated his stance that ghosting was an unacceptable practice.