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Dan Cates Wins Back-To-Back World Series of Poker $50,000 Poker Players Championship Titles

'Jungleman' Beat A Field of 112 Players In the Nine-Game Mix Event To Earn $1,449,103 and His Second Bracelet

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Welcome (back) to the jungle.

Dan ‘jungleman’ Cates achieved a historic feat at the 2022 World Series of Poker. The 32-year-old high stakes poker professional successfully defended his title in one of the most prestigious tournaments in the game: the $50,000 buy-in Poker Players Championship nine-game mix. After a marathon final day that lasted more than 13 hours, Cates emerged victorious with back-to-back wins, all while wearing a ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage costume.

While Cates is the first player to ever win this tournament in consecutive years, he is not the first multi-time champion. Michale Mizrachi has won this tournament three times since it was first introduced in 2006 as the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. event, while Brian Rast has come out on top on two occasions since the shift was made to add more games to the mix in 2010.

In 2021, Cates topped a field of just 63 entries in the tough mixed game tournament to earn his first-ever WSOP bracelet. Just 239 days later (as last year’s series was held in the fall as a one-off schedule change due to the pandemic) Cates came out on top of a 112-player field to earn his second career bracelet and the top prize of $1,449,103.

Cates, who is best known for his high-stakes cash game success both online and in the live arena, now also has nearly $11.7 million in career tournament earnings to his name.

The top 17 finishers made the money in this event, which played out over the course of five days. Only three of those 17 had not yet won a WSOP bracelet, with four being multi-time champions at the series before making a deep run in this event. Among the big names to make deep runs were this year’s heads-up no-limit hold’em championship winner Dan Smith (17th – $83,738), two-time bracelet winner David ‘ODB’ Baker (15th – $83,738), bracelet winner and 2010 main event runner-up John Racener (12th – $100,866), two-time WPT champion and recent bracelet winner Daniel Weinman, 2103 champion of this event Matthew Ashton (8th – $155,421), bracelet winner Taylor Paur (7th – $198,661), and reigning WSOP main event champion Koray Aldemir (6th – $258,812).

The final day of this event began with just five players remaining and Cates in the lead. Germany’s Johannes Becker, who finished as the runner-up in this tournament back in 2017, was the first to fall. Becker began the day in fourth position but slid to the bottom of the counts in the early going. He lost a couple key pots in triple draw deuce-to-seven lowball that left him in the danger zone. His last big blind then went in preflop with with A-10 in a hand of no-limit hold’em. Becker was called in two spots, and was up against A-Q for four-time bracelet winner Benny Glaser and pocket sixes for two-time bracelet winner Yuri Dzivielevski. Becker flopped an ace, but Glaser’s kicker remained best by the end to send Becker home with $343,531.

Benny GlaserGlaser and Cates traded the lead back and forth several times in the early going, but a big no-limit deuce-to-seven single draw lowball hand between the two big stacks saw Cates pull away. In the hand, Cates made an 8-7-6-4-2 after drawing one. Glaser, who had three-bet Cates’ open before the draw with 10-9-7-3-2, stood pat from out of position. He checked to Cates, who made a sizable bet of nearly 21 big blinds. Glaser made the call after plenty of thought and fell to the bottom of the chip counts.

Not long after that, Glaser got all-in with a pat 9-8-7-6-4 in the same game, only to run into a pat 8-7-6-5-2 for bracelet winner Naoya Kihara. Glaser finished fourth for $464,420, the largest score of his tournament career.

Kihara spent some time in second place behind a surging Cates but soon lost a big pot to the defending champion with an open-ended straight draw that never improved in limit hold’em to fall into the danger zone. He managed a few double-ups after that, but was still quite short when he got all-in before the draws in triple draw. Kihara began with 8-7-2 and was up against 8-3 for Cates, who drew three to start. When all was said and done, Cates had made a Q-8-6-5-3. Kihara ended up with a pair of sevens to finish third for $639,257. This was the larges score of his career, topping the $512,029 he earned as the champion of the 2012 WSOP $5,000 pot-limit Omaha six-max event.

Yuri DzivielevskiWith that, heads-up play began with Cates holding more than a 3:1 lead over Dzivielevski. The two went on to battle for more than seven hours. As one might expect given the length of the showdown, there were plenty of swings along the way. Dzivielevski started out by methodically closing the gap, only to undo much of that progress in a couple of big Omaha hands. He then managed a crucial double-up with middle set facing flush and straight draws for Cates to pull within reach again.

Dzivielevski took the lead roughly two hours into the match. Cates regained control after a while, though, and the chip lead proceeded to change hands several more times as the battle continued into the wee hours of the morning. At one point, Dzivielevski’s lead was up to more than 4.5:1, but each time Cates battled back.

Cates took the lead for the last time during a round of Omaha eight-or-better. Dzivielevski fought off the mat several times, but was ultimately eliminated in hand of no-limit hold’em . He moved all-in from the button for seven big blinds with QDiamond Suit5Club Suit. Cates called with JDiamond Suit4Diamond Suit. The board ran out 8Spade Suit8Club Suit4Heart Suit9Club Suit6Heart Suit and Cates made eights and fours with a jack kicker to secure the pot and the title. Dzivielevski was awarded a career-high payday of $895,614 as the runner-up, increasing his lifetime recorded earnings to more than $3.9 million in the process.

This was Dzivielevski’s seventh final-table finish of 2022, with one title secured and more than $1.9 million in POY earnings accrued along the way. The 850 Card Player Player of the Year points he took home in this event were enough to move him into 25th place in the 2022 POY race standings, which are sponsored by Global Poker.

Here is a look at the payouts and rankings points awarded at the final table:

Place Player Earnings POY Points PGT Points
1 Daniel Cates $1,449,103 1020 700
2 Yuri Dzivielevski $895,614 850 537
3 Naoya Kihara $639,257 680 384
4 Benny Glaser $464,420 510 279
5 Johannes Becker $343,531 425 206
6 Koray Aldemir $258,812 340 155

Winner photo credit: WSOP / Rachel Kay Miller. Additional photos: PokerGO / Antonio Abrego.

You can follow the 2022 World Series of Poker on Card Player’s series landing page, sponsored by Global Poker, the fastest growing online poker room in the world. Check out the series schedule, as well as event recaps, news, and player interviews.