King of the Jungle: Dan Cates Wins WPT Alpha8 for $500k

Dan Cates

Internet superstar Dan “jungleman12” Cates finally has a major live tournament score to go along with his impressive online career.

This weekend Cates defeated a stacked final table (technically the entire field was only nine players) at the $100k buy-in WPT Alpha8 in Johannesburg, South Africa, to win $500,000.

The final table also included super high rollers Antonio Esfandiari, Jason Mercier, Philipp Gruissem, Erik Seidel and Jeff Gross but local Kinesh Pather was Cates’ heads-up competition.

It proved to be a lopsided heads-up match as Cates had an enormous chip lead on Pather and finished him in less than 20 hands. Pather received $275,000 for coming in second.

Mercier Min-Cashes for $200,000

Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier was the only other player to make it into the money. He picked up $200k for placing third.

Jason Mercier
Min-cash for Mercier.

Cates has won millions playing high-stakes online poker but before this weekend was still seeking his first major live tournament score.

Previously his two biggest live tournament accomplishments were finishing second in Party Poker Premier League V and fifth in Party Poker Premier League VI.

With his victory in South Africa Cates moves to just over $1.2 million in lifetime live tournament earnings.

Here’s a complete look at the final table payouts:


  • 1st:  Dan Cates  -  $500,000
  • 2nd: Kinesh Pather  -  $275,000
  • 3rd: Jason Mercier  -  $200,000
  • 4th: Jeff Gross - $0
  • 5th: Erik Seidel - $0
  • 6th: Philipp Gruissem - $0
  • 7th: Antonio Esfandiari - $0

For a full recap of all the action, check the WPT Live Updates.