Sunday February 16 ,2014 : JUNGLEMAN CATES WINS MAJOR SOUTH AFRICAN POKER HIGH ROLLER
Half a million dollars in prize money makes a long journey worthwhile.
The fourth $100,000 buy-in World Poker Tour Alpha 8 High Roller was held in Johannesburg, South Africa this week and, despite the long travelling times, attracted some of the top international players in the industry.
Among those who ponied up the massive buy-in was Phil Ivey, Daniel "jungleman" Cates, Dan Harrington, Antonio Esfandiari, Jason Mercier, Philipp Gruissem, Jeff Gross, Max Altergott and Erik Seidel.
By the second and final day, the field had been narrowed down to Cates in the chip lead, facing Jason Mercier, Philipp Gruissem, Antonio Esfandiari, Erik Seidel, local player Kinesh Pather and Jeff Gross.
Despite being the only player to take up a re-entry, Esfandiari was eliminated early on the final day, bundled out by Pather in seventh place.
Gross went out in fourth to Cates on hand 136 and was the bubble boy, just missing a hefty cash and leaving Mercier, Pather and Cates to slug it out.
Mercier fell at third for $200,000 and that left local player Kinesh Pather facing Cates in the heads up, with the American holding a 5 to 1 chip advantage which he quickly exploited to win the first nine hands.
Pather managed to stem the tide briefly by winning the tenth hand, but the pressure on him was too great, and two hands later he was busted, collecting the runner up prize of $275,000.
Cates took home $500,000, a victory in his first major live tournament, and an expensive set of headphones from a sponsor.