In an interview with CNBC’s Make It website, poker star Dan “Jungleman” Cates has been offering his advice on how he made a name for himself, not to mention over $11.6m in lifetime winnings, through his poker skills.

Of course, being a millionaire poker star does not necessarily make you the most immediate person to turn to when seeking financial advice and guidance, but over the course of a successful 15-year career, Jungleman clearly feels that there are some lessons to be learnt from the world of poker, that can easily translate into lessons to learn for life.

The 2-times-in-succession winner of the Poker Players’ Championship at the 2021 and 2022 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, Cates has handed out some nuggets of advice for people, which he believes can help them be a success in life, and not just at the poker table.

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“Push Yourself Too Hard”

Dan Cates WSOP 2021

Cates first piece of advice was simple.

“You want to push yourself a little, but not too far. That is always true in everything,” he stated when asked about how to judge whether or not a person should take a risk.

It may seem counter-intuitive to some to have a top-level poker professional advising against taking undue risk, but Cates, 32, claims that being able to moderate the risks he takes is one of the foundations for long-term success.

“If you push yourself too had, eventually you are gonna get burnt out or over extend yourself.”

“In the long run, you’ll actually end up not making progress,” Cates advised.

He explained that while poker players are often experts at being able to read the actions and thoughts of those sat at the table with them, it is not specifically these skills that will ultimately make them a success.

Instead, Cates said their ability to remain mentally strong, even in the event of a streak of poor results, while being able to recognise when it is appropriate to take a risk, but also being able to identify when you should not take a similar risk, is what separates the great poker players from the rest.

A perfect example of this is in the following video.

Jungleman made his first million aged just 19, but as a young professional lost more than half his fortune almost immediately at the tables. It is an experience that he has clearly learned from.

Meditation And Moderation

Cates also stated that people should “push yourself a moderate amount in all aspects,”

“You want to pursue growth, but pursue it a moderate amount ,basically.”

Jungleman also recommended that meditation can be a useful tool to help an individual calm their nerves, reset and refocus on their aims, whether that is at the poker table, or in your career elsewhere.

“It’s a variation of mental toughness,” stated Cates about meditation.

“It just creates more discipline and more centredness” he stated.

In doing so, it helps him avoid taking those risks that he views as being potentially destructive.

“There are many examples of this in poker,” stated Cates in the interview.

“One would be: You take too big of a shot because even if that shot works out, if you keep taking too big of a shot, eventually that is going to screw you. Eventually, you’ll hit this downturn.”

Karas The Embodiment Of Cates’ Mantra?

Certainly, poker aficionados familiar with Archie Karas’ story will confirm that these are indeed wise words.

Karas turned $50 into $40m in the space of three years from 1992 to 1995 in Las Vegas, only to lose it all by late 1995.

His eventual downfall was taking too many of the big shots Cates mentioned.

Karas has also gone on several mini-runs, turning smaller amounts into larger amounts but his big shot risk policy always tends to see him lose the fortune that he amasses.

Karas’ approach is in direct contrast to Cates sage guidance in the interview.

The Naples native is listed at 78th on the all-time money list, 38th on the United States money list and 5th on the Florida money list, so there is plenty of evidence to suggest that Jungleman’s advice is certainly worth listening to.

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