Poker Champ ‘Dirty’ Dan Cates Invades Airball’s Space

Poker Champ ‘Dirty’ Dan Cates Invades Airball’s Space

Latest Poker News

Poker champion and method actor Dan Cates got needled into a bad call and even worse display of poker etiquette on The Lodge’s card club’s livestream, but it all fit into the persona that could have been lifted straight out of the Red Dead Redemption franchise.

Dirt Dan Cates had a run in with Nik “Airball” Arcot this weekend in Round Rock Texas. (Image: The Lodge)

No, it wasn’t as the Jungleman, his original alter-ego, or Saiyan, the Dragonball-Z character he summoned when he won his first World Series of Poker $50,000 Player’s Poker Championship in 2021. And nope, it wasn’t “Macho” Dan Savage, Randy’s long-lost son, who won the PPC a year later.

It was “Dirty” Dan who sat in the $400/800 game this past weekend, in a cowboy getup, complete with hat and bandana around his neck that could easily be pulled up around his mouth if he decided to rob train or a savings and loans.

But it wasn’t Cates doing the robbing, it was Nik “Airball” Arcot, who has rounded himself into a high-stakes poker heel who is not afraid of getting little dirty himself.

The setup…

A half-hour into Saturday’s stream, Cates had about $174,000 in front of him, and Airball, $704,000. Cates  looked down to find AQ offset, and Airball, who sat to the right of Cates, 98 clubs. Preflop, Airball checked before calling Cates’ $2,000 raise.

The flop came A49, with one club. Airball checked and again called a small bet from Cates, making the pot $10,400.

The turn was an ace of diamonds, giving Cate’s trips.  Airball checked to Cates, who tanked for about a minute, all the while shuffling his chips very close to Airball’s cards, even touching them a few times. Cate’s silently bet $5,000 and was instantly called.

The river was a seven a diamonds, and this is when it gets weird. Quickly, Airball bet $400 into the flop, which was now more than $20,000. Cates, in his cowboy getup, shuffled in his chair and put in another $14,000.

Airball instantly re-raised the cowboy $55,000.

While Cates contemplated, Airball reaches across the table and begins to shuffle his chips directly on top of Cate’s cards, and Cate’s returns the favor, smiling while staring at a pot worth $89,400.

Airball then called the clock on Cates, who takes it all the way down before folding the winner.

“You’re my bitch,” Airball said, showing the bluff. He called Jungleman a fish. He told him to get more money and laughs directly in his face, and that’s when Cates pushes over Airball’s entire stack.

And, as the whole table erupts, Cates said: “What do you expect? I’m Dirty Dan.”

The hand starts at 25:27 in the clip.

Dan Cates

Dan Cates doesn’t like being called names. (Image: The Lodge)

…and knockdown

Sometimes when you’re playing, all your plans come to fruition in amazingly ways. That’s what happened to Airball about an hour-and-a-half later.

With stacks hovering around the same amount ($700,000 for Airball, $151,000 for Cates), Airball decided to mix it up with 86 of diamonds by opening with a $2,000 raise. Just like the previous hand, Cates woke up to AQ nonsuited. By this point, Cates was now calling himself “Two Conch Dan.”

With his AQ, he three-bet to $8,000 and Airball called. Pot was $17,800 as the dealer put out 2, 8, 7, two of them diamonds.

Airball checked his top pair and flush draw to Cates, who bet $6,000.  Airball instantly reraised $10,000 to $16,000 and Cates called, putting $49,800 in the pot.

The turn is gin for Airball with the ace of diamonds. He checked and watched Cates check back.

It gets worst for Cates with a queen on the river. Airball made it $75,000, and Cates, with a wave of his hand, makes the call, grimacing, and right then, he really does look like a cowboy who just spent the day under a blazing sun getting his ass rubbed raw.

And then Cates knocked his opponent’s over once again, only this time, it feels like he means it.

The hand start at 2:19:47 in the clip above.

Dan Cates

“Dirty” Dan knocks Nik Airball’s chips over for a second time. (Image: The Lodge)

A few days later, dressed as Dan Cates, he treated many of the players who showed up for The Lodge’s high-stakes stream — including Airball — to dinner at a fancy Japanese restaurant.

Appreciate the shoutout!

— Daniel Cates 🇺🇸 🌎 (@junglemandan) February 27, 2023

It really is a different life.

Written by

Bob Pajich

Bob Pajich is a poker news reporter, creative writer, and poker player who never met suited connectors he didn’t like. Tips, corrections, complaints and kudos should go to

Share this story

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Did you know about our poker forum?

Discuss all the latest poker news in the CardsChat forum