Dan Cates

Dan Cates Needs to Visit His Happy Place

We have all been there. The blood rises to our head. Our fists tremble. Our eyes water. We want to cry, we want to scream, we want to do great damage to object around us. Walls, dishes, cell phones, anything within arm’s reach. But most of us don’t go nuts when we get frustrated. If we are in the privacy of our own homes, we might yell a bit or punch a pillow, but we generally exercise self-control. Based on recent reports, poker pro Dan “jungleman” Cates may need to learn how to meditate a little bit. At least take a deep breath now and then.

The 2015 Aussie Millions is currently in full swing down in Melbourne, Australia and some of the best players in the world, including Cates, are gunning for thousands of dollars in prizes. Cates, though, has had an uphill battle. According to a PokerNews.com live report, he got totally coolered not once, but twice, in the $100,000 Challenge. First, he ran his pocket Kings right into Steve O’Dwyer’s quad Aces, which is frustrating in and of itself. But later, holding Kings again, he suffered a similar fate.

Cates got all of his chips in the pot only to see Jeff Rossiter turn over pocket Aces. A snake-bitten Cates yelled, “Are you fucking kidding me?” and flung his cards across the table.

Of course, Cates still had about a 20 percent chance to win the hand, as none of the community cards had been dealt yet. He knew, though. He knew. The board turned out to be absolutely fruitless for him and RossiteSerenity Now Seinfeldr had won the hand. The steam had been building, though, and Cates’ head was whistling. Shocking his tablemates, Cates scooped up a handful of his chips and winged them at Rossiter. He didn’t just toss them – he actually threw chips, and threw them hard, at the guy who had just won the hand. A couple hit Rossiter, which is probably a good thing, because man, not being able to hit a guy with a poker chip from point blank range would really be an indictment of one’s athletic ability.

Fortunately, Jeff Rossiter kept his composure much better than did Dan Cates. I have known people who would treat a guy’s face like a Mr. Potato Head for much less of an infraction. Seriously, when I played baseball in high school, I  had a teammate who would go to Summerfest every night (Summerfest is a huge music festival in Milwaukee that runs for a couple weeks each…um…summer) just to get in fights. He called it “Beatfest.” Lucky for me, I was on his good side.

The floor was called over to determine what to do, but it looks like nothing was done except count up the chips (they had to corral some of the chips that were thrown) and figure out that Rossiter had Cates covered, thus eliminating Mr. Furious.

I find this event interesting for a couple reasons. First and foremost, it is funny. I mean, it is not every day you see (or read about) a poker player throwing chips at another player. Usually, the most interesting thing to happen in a tournament is some five-betting followed by a guy with suited cards hitting a flush and sucking out on someone with a high pair. And frankly, after reading about that a thousand times, it gets a bit old. In this case, too, it was a big name player skipping rocks across the pond, not some random donk like me.

The other thing about this that struck me is that it does not look like Cates was punished in any way for his actions. I do not know this for certain, but as no discipline was reported, I’m just going to have to go with that line. Now, I suppose he may have told tournament officials that he was not going to re-enter so repercussions were unnecessary, but still, it would have been nice to at least know that that kind of behavior is unacceptable in a poker tournament.

Look, I’m not going to my panties in a wad about a guy getting pissed off at the table. If a guy wants to break out a curse word every now and then, fine. If he wants to sob uncontrollably for an entire level while building a pile of Kleenex next to his seat, whatever. Go for it. But I’ve got to draw the line somewhere. Throwing objects at another player seems like as good a place as any. Do that, get kicked out of the tournament. Easy.

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