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Dan 'Jungleman' Cates Begins WSOP Poker Players Championship Title Defense As The Terminator

Cates Continues His Tradition Of Playing The Event In Costume


Dan Cates was back in action again at the 2023 World Series of Poker on Sunday, competing in the prestigious $50,000 buy-in Poker Pokers Championship. It’s an event that Cates knows well as the two-time defending champion.

The Maryland native won it all back in 2021 for his first career bracelet and $954,020. The following year, the man known as ‘Jungleman’ returned and once again took it down, this time banking $1,449,103.

Of course, it wasn’t enough to just claim back-to-back titles in one of the biggest tournaments of the year. Cates did it in his own way, donning a costume for each of his wins.

Cates At 2023 WSOP credit: Enrique MalfavonIn 2021, he showed up for the final table in full Dragon Ball Z cosplay, dressed in a gi with dyed hair to resemble the character of Goku. When Cates returned the next summer, he did so as legendary wrestler Randy “Macho Man” Savage.

For 2023, however, Cates had destruction on his mind, entering the tournament as the Terminator. Not only did Cates wear Arnold Schwarzenegger’s black leather jacket, gloves, and shades, but he also had prosthetic makeup applied to make him appear more like his cyborg counterpart.

Cates was able to survive the first day with slightly more chips than he started with. Should he find the winner’s circle again, he would match Adam Friedman as the only other player to win the same event in three consecutive series.

Friedman won the $10,000 Dealer’s Choice Championship in 2018, 2019, and 2021. (The WSOP was not held live in 2020 due to the pandemic.)

Cates With Back-To-Back Titles credit: Enrique Malfavon and Antonio AbregoCates also made the final table in 2019, finishing sixth. He joins Michael Mizrachi, Brian Rast, and John Hennigan as the most successful players in the history of the Poker Players Championship.

Mizrachi has won the event three times, in 2010, 2012, and 2018, and also finished fourth in 2016. Rast took it down twice, in 2011 and 2016, with an eighth-place finish in 2018. Hennigan has a win from 2014, while also finishing runner-up in 2018, third in 2013, and 12th in 2012.

Cates has played other poker events in costume as well. In the past he’s been spotting playing as a cowboy, roman emperor, and he once showed up to the series as a giant red dragon.

Phil Hellmuth, who shows up to the WSOP main event in a costume every year, said on Twitter that he and Cates would be joining forces this summer for the Tag Team event, and he would be dressed as Pokémon character Pikachu, while Cates cosplayed as his training Ash Ketchum.

*Photos courtesy of PokerGO – Enrique Malfavon, Antonio Abrego