As Dan Cates prepares for a three-peat win of WSOP's Poker Player Championship in Las Vegas following his 2021 and 2022 wins, he shares his most insightful preparation methods. Cates discusses how he has achieved such great success in the poker space. Playing WSOP for over a decade may have a little something to do with his wins but read on to see what other special sauce Cates throws into the mix to garner such success.
Q: Congratulations on your repeat wins for 2021 and 2022. How is WSOP 2023 different for you than the last two years?
A: This year’s WSOP [will] be more pressure as I’m going for a three-peat win. I have a new costume and some moves to surprise the viewers with. There will be more magic, more spice, and more bluffing than ever seen before.Dan Cates at WSOP 2021
Q: How have you developed yourself as a player to reach this performance tier?
A: I‘ve played with the best of the best. Played Razz with Ryan Razz, o8 with Ramin Ray, stud with Oppie, PLO with the Finnish and the Krukster, No Limit Hold'em with Chairman, Tom Dwan and Stonewall Seiver, badugi with the Germans and the Prince of Lebanon, single draw with Angry John, and gained the wit and wisdom of the roach himself, Lyle Berman. I’m a disgusting and beautiful mix of all their best and worst qualities.
Q: What is your preparation routine before a big tournament? Do you have any mental, self-care, or lifestyle habits or practices that help you prepare?
A: You ever see those movies before a big match with the Eye of the Tiger music in the background? Or Final Showdown? Daft Punk? Like that in the background and a totally irrational amount of martial arts and gym training. A darts board of my opponent's faces may also be present, as well as the consultation of a shaman or three.Dan Cates, repeat poker champion
Q: What is the largest hand you have gone all in on, win or lose?
A: I lost $10M USD in a hand once, but it was mostly not my money. I was 90% to win the hand before the river card. Believe me if you want to.
Q: Can you share the best bluff that you won?
A: At the final table of the 2021 WSOP $50,000 Poker Players Championship, I bluffed a player off of top pair for less than a minimum raise in Limit Hold'em for about three big bets (six big blinds) and then went on to win!
Q: Who have you most enjoyed playing with in the WSOP?
A: The late Doyle Brunson and legendary Phil Ivey.
Photography by: By Rachel Kay Miller; By Ana Pinto