Posts Tagged ‘Dan “jungleman” Cates’

Lynn "Queen of Hearts" ParisLynn “Queen of Hearts” Paris

Has anyone seen Phil Ivey lately? If you have, it certainly wasn’t in the U.S. where he’d been embroiled in legal battles that finally ended in 2017. Instead, Ivey has played mostly in Asia, including frequenting casinos in Macau and attending the Triton Super High Roller tournament in Manila last year.

But, you can expect to see Ivey, the ten-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner, back in the spotlight very soon. He recently won the 2018 Triton Super High Roller Series Montenegro short deck ante-only event*. Ivey outlasted a field of 61 total entries, including finally going head-to-head with poker star Dan “Jungleman” Cates, to win $617,396, bringing his career live earnings to $24,083,744. It was his first live tournament cash in more than two years!

When asked by pokernews.com about what his plans were, Ivey said, “I plan on playing the in the 2018 WSOP in Vegas this year.” That should make a lot of poker fans extremely happy!

Since Ivey has always been one of our favorites we can’t wait to see him at the 2018 WSOP poker tables.

* For those of you who have never heard of Short Deck Hold’em, it is similar to the traditional no-limit hold’em known around the world, with the exception that it’s played with just 36 instead of 52 cards. The deuces, threes, fours, and fives are omitted, making for rankings that are rare in traditional hold’em, now a lot more common. The game is incredibly popular in the Asian high stakes poker scene.

What do you think? Send me your comments or thoughts!

Queen of Hearts ParisLynn “Queen of Hearts” Paris

Our readers want to know what’s going on with the Global Poker League.  As far as I know, the GPL is on a scheduled break for about a month, so this is a good time to bring everyone up to speed.

Alexandre DreyfusAs a blogger who’s been following and writing about the new League since before their highly professional inaugural draft in February, I’ve made no secret of how impressed I’ve been with Alexandre Dreyfus and the GPL. The innovative team concept, the use of web cams, the fan-focused experience as opposed to an experience focused on professional poker players   . . . all came together incredibly well in just 14 short weeks. The GPL had half a million unique viewers, with sustained average viewing times of 17 to 21 minutes per viewer throughout the summer.

Could they have done even better? Absolutely, if they’d wanted to spend millions of dollars on television and online advertising which they obviously did not. Probably a wise decision too, since they now have “proof of concept” without exposing the whole ball of wax to the world prior to doing some very necessary tweaking. Plus they got some free marketing every time someone said or wrote: “Congratulations to Jason Mercier of the New York Rounders”. You can’t buy better branding than that.

GPL's The CubeIt was clear from the start that there had to be a GPL TV studio in Vegas, the mecca for poker players. And, to accommodate all the GPL team members also playing in the 2016 WSOP, they needed the convenience of a TV studio in close proximity to the Rio. I admire Dreyfus and his team for taking the calculated risk to break out their signature platform, The Cube, during the Summer Series, instead of waiting for the reveal originally set for September. In fact, Dreyfus wrote on Facebook that “it was a last minute decision to bring The Cube . . . to Vegas to form the centerpiece of our 2nd TV studio.”

I felt validated reading that, since at the time I had written in my blog: “No surprise, either, that he decided to break out the much-hyped, but not quite ready-for-prime-time Cube ahead of schedule.” It was no surprise because it was obvious to anyone paying attention that The Cube set-up, even in its pared down version, provided the perfect contrast to the play at the WSOP:  up close and personal, fast-paced, poker standing up, innovative and fun!

The players seemed to agree, saying they enjoyed the pace, the slightly intimidating electronic music and SFX — the loud beat, beat, beating of their hearts — the intensity of the heat and lights in the isolating sound-proof glass enclosure. Personally, I think they got a kick out of the jock-like activity of standing and sweating after the passivity of sitting at the poker tables in the air-conditioned Rio for hours on end.

In the meantime, we fans got the rare opportunity to enjoy the “other side” of some of the biggest names in poker – Fedor Holz, Jason Mercier, Sorel Mizzi, Jonathan Jaffe, Anatoly Filatov, Bryn Kenney, Fabrice Soulier, Randy “Nanonoko” Lew, Dan “Jungleman” Cates, Byron Kaverman, Tom Marchese, Faraz Jaka  and the list goes on — as they “let it all out” against their opponent in The Cube.

Many of these matches were not only good heads-up poker but also incredibly engaging entertainment. And for a newbie like me, the expert commentary provided by Joe Stapleton and Eric Danis broadened my poker education without delving too heavily into higher level strategies like range and variance. Their poker knowledge, humor and great chemistry, along with interviews by the smart and sexy Laura “Corndog” Cornelius, made for a highly enjoyable few hours in my day.

By the way, based on comments made by Dreyfus in several interviews, I imagine that what we saw was The Cube in its most basic iteration . . . many of the bells and whistles are still to come.( I’ll cover much more on the improvements I hope to see in The Cube in an upcoming blog!)

So now what?

I’ve been trying to figure that out and according to the schedule that appears on the GPL website, inter-conference play begins again on August 16th.  Unfortunately, a note on the homepage of the site also says “Thank you for joining us in the Las Vegas Summer Series – Back in September.”

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg for Dreyfus and team if they want to hold on to the fans they have acquired and continue to grow the way they need to. I’ve been saying for months that the website needs to be overhauled (design and programming) and then maintained consistently. Stories and features need to be updated regularly, a less cumbersome schedule and video archive has to be developed, the site has to load faster and it MUST be optimized for mobile. There’s enough content to fill ten websites, so that’s not the problem. It simply needs to be handled by developers who can deliver a high class, high-functioning professional site.

Eurasia ConferenceConceptually, the GPL‘s vision of poker as a team sport is what sets it apart. It began with players being drafted onto a team representing a major city, and it was that team concept that was supposed to build the fan base.

America ConferenceUnless the mission has changed, I don’t believe the GPL did enough to reinforce the team concept. If this was being marketed as a Team Sport, the logos of the teams should have always been prominent. Instead, the way in which the graphics were designed for the online matches made the team logos difficult to see. Viewers could easily see the players and the hole cards, but sadly, the team names were covered up.

And when play progressed to the Summer Series in The Cube, the players should have been wearing their team t-shirts sporting their team logo. Had the GPL been on time with their team merchandise (a costly misstep) fans of the teams could have worn their t-shirts all over Vegas, including at the heavily attended WSOP, where tons of attendees might have been tempted to purchase an LA Sunset or Las Vegas Moneymakers team shirt — free advertising! Dreyfus commented, “We also didn’t connect with the WSOP fan-base as deeply as we had the potential to do.” He’s right; they blew it. In addition, team branding as well as GPL branding were mysteriously absent from The Cube, at least from the online audience’s vantage point.

Because of the GPL, I grew to know and like some of the players personally; I feel a kind of crazy proprietary interest in many of them whenever I see them playing poker anywhere.  But in the end, if I don’t know what GPL team Fedor, Nano or Mercier play for, there’s something wrong with the marketing plan. Bottom line:  it’s the team that grows the fan base and excites those who root for them with a passion, motivating them to buy team banners, t-shirts, caps. . . and ultimately bring in sponsors.

Dreyfus has promised to “amp up the adrenaline inherent in many of our matches and focus more on the players than the game.” Maybe so, but if he still wants the team aspect to be the GPL’s hallmark, then some good old Yankees/Red Sox, Celtics/Lakers team dynamics have to be built up as well.

I have tremendous faith in the brilliance of Alex Dreyfus and his team to make the necessary adjustments to the GPL in ways I’ve suggested . . . and in ways I’ve never even thought of.  I look forward to the immediate improvements I hope will be made as they finish out this year with the league playoffs and the Season 1 Championship at Wembley Stadium in London. And I can’t wait to watch what happens next year and in the years to come. I got hooked on poker because of the GPL, so I’m rooting for it to evolve into everything Dreyfus envisioned — poker “sportified” to appeal to millions of old and new-generation poker fans.

And I’ll be blogging about it all as soon as the next half of their season begins in August . . . or September.

Add your comments or thoughts!

Texas Poker Store

Queen of Hearts Paris

By: Queen of Hearts Paris

It’s Day Two for the Global Poker League and if you haven’t checked it out, you should. Go to Twitch.com/GPL or GlobalPokerLeague.com for live streaming of 6-MAX and Heads–Up matches every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  Before you plunge right in, however, I highly recommend that you catch up on the GPL concept, including the rules, teams, formats, scoring or anything else about the League. (You can read our previous blogs — just enter GPL in the blog’s search function — but for in-depth information explore the GPL site.)

Global Poker LeagueBecause I’ve been following the formation of the GPL on our blog for a few weeks, I was ready to watch the minute they launched. Judging by the chat room participants on Twitch on Day One, most had absolutely no idea what they’d stumbled upon. There were lots of haters, tons of crazy comments and a million questions about where to get more info.

Daniel Jungleman CatesIt was interesting to see that the people chatting today already seemed more informed about what they were watching. Of course, it’s brand new and it’s bound to take a year or two for global team poker to catch on, which is exactly what its creator, Alex Dreyfus, predicted. But when it does, there’s no telling how big it might get.  Once they added the head cams today in the H-U matches, it became personal and exciting even for a total poker dummy like me.  Suddenly, the chat room was buzzing with positivity as we all had the privilege of observing each player’s strategy and listening to some of the more vocal and entertaining players as they let us inside their heads. Dan “Jungleman” Cates, representing the Berlin Bears, was especially open and extremely funny.

Justin BonomoAs of this writing, Justin Bonomo, for the London Royals is playing heads-up against Timothy Adams, for the Rome Emperors and even though I have so much work to do, I can’t seem to pull myself away. I can just imagine how hard it will be for me not to watch once I’ve picked a team to root for (probably the New York Rounders since I always root for NY teams; it’s where I grew up) and gained more poker knowledge along the way.

And that’s truly the whole point of the GPL: building an appreciation of poker for a brand new audience, attracting more and more fans by giving them a team to root for, until ultimately there’s a big enough appetite to watch team poker that it attracts sponsors. Suddenly it’s not just for points and pride; the players are making money without having to spend their own. You know, like other team sports.

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Pocket Bullets ParisBy: Pocket Bullets Paris

Back in July the FBI arrested Wei Seng “Paul” Phua and his son, Wai Kit ‘Darren’ Phua for allegedly leading a multimillion-dollar World Cup betting scheme. Richard Yong and his son Wai Kin Yong were also arrested for being connected to the same illegal betting operation supposedly being masterminded by Phua and operated from Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Caesars did not have anything to do with this alleged illegal betting operation and they weren’t in any way implicated by the FBI. This past Tuesday Phua and his son pleaded not guilty to illegal gambling charges.Phil Ivey and Daniel Cates to the rescue

Some of our best known and certainly classiest poker players sprung into action during this years World Series of Poker. Phil Ivey and Andrew Robl posted $2.5 million to bail out Phua and his son. That was not all, later that week Ivey and Dan “jungleman” Cates put up another $2 million to bail out Yong and his son.

Johnson “John” Juanda and Tom “Durrrr” Dwan also pitched in. Juanda sent a letter to the FBI calling the Yongs men of “honor and integrity,” and Dwan put up his Las Vegas homes for the defendants as a part of their release.

Both Phua and Yong have been involved for years in the super high-roller community. They both have played in numerous six-figure events in Macau and Las Vegas and everywhere in between. They both played in the inaugural $1 Million BIG ONE for ONE DROP. They are not just well known classy players, they’re both extremely well respected through out the world of poker.Phil Ivey on Tilt

Poker may be a game where anyone can go on tilt and turn the poker tables upside down but when you’re a player of integrity and honor, even if you go on tilt from time to time, poker players got your back!

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