Ambiguosity May Be OPOY But Jungleman12 Defined Online Poker In 2010

This weekend, CardPlayer announced their Online Player of the Year. It was 22-year old American pro Taylor “ambiguosity” Paur by less than 1000 points. Coming in second was Steve “gboro780” Gross. Paur definitely earned the title, finishing in the money at no less than 51 online tournaments in 2010, final tabling at more than half of them (28), and winning a whopping 13.

For his continued dominance, Paur pocketed a total of $1,099,435 in online tournament earnings. Gross fell just short of that number with $1,023,658 in 2010 online tournament earnings, but his second place finish was still noteworthy because it’s the third year in a row that Gross has been in one of the top two slots of CardPlayer‘s Online POY tally. While these numbers are undeniably impressive, they’re dwarfed when compared to the earnings of last year’s leading online cash game player, Daniel “jungleman12” Cates.

Cates only became old enough to play live poker in his home country of the United States in 2010, but his age didn’t stop him from dominating at a multitude of PokerStars and Full Tilt high stakes tables. Cates first started playing online in 2008, building his initial bankroll at the $.25/$.50 tables. Slowly but surely he worked himself up to the middle stakes, ending the year with more than $100,000 in online earnings. The next year proved even more momentous for Cates as he transformed himself from a non-entity into a real contender, regularly playing at $25/$50. In 2009, he earned more than $1 million at online cash games at Full Tilt Poker alone.

While Cates was steadily acquiring more than $5 million in cash game earnings in 2010, much of the poker world remained oblivious. Until he turned 21, many of his fans didn’t even know his true identity, though they could follow his exploits via an anonymous blog on CardRunners. It wasn’t until jungleman12 stepped up to take the Durrrr Challenge in August that the industry really took notice. Cates took a large and early lead in that competition, and he’s holding it still, sitting half a million dollars ahead with 35,000 hands still to be played in 2012.

Cates’ outright domination in the online poker arena has left many of the industry’s experts to ponder his next move. Since his format of choice is heads-up, many of his fans speculate that jungleman12 will remain largely if not exclusively an online entity like 2009’s breakout player Isildur1. Having said that, Cates did post his first live tournament cash at Event 16 of the EPT Caribbean Adventure in 2010. While he hasn’t pursued live action again since, that first foray has lead some to speculate he may soon follow in opponent Tom Dwan’s footsteps and expand his pursuits to include live games.

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