The flames were fanned on poker’s next great feud over the weekend as Dan ‘Jungleman’ Cates and Nik ‘Nik Airball’ Arcot went to the mat multiple times during a deep-stacked, high-stakes $400/$800 livestreamed cash game.
It had all the makings of a rivalry ripped from an episode of WWE Monday Night Raw: costumes, personas, outrageous mic work, and heel turns. But instead of locking up in the squared circle, the mat was the poker table, with millions of dollars in play.
As soon as The Lodge’s stream went live, the fireworks began. In one of the very first hands, Cates (who had adopted a “Dirty Dan” persona and was acting like an old-timey cowboy for the better part of the week) opened the straddled pot to $2,000 holding the . The action folded back to Nik, who had put the straddle on and he made the call with his .
The pair were already chirping back and forth when the flop came , giving both a pair. Nik checked and Cates flung out a bet of $1,200. Nik nearly beat him into the pot with a call. The turn gave Cates trips and a lock on the hand. Cates fired $5,000 and Nik obliged again with a quick call. The river was the . Nik took a second, asked the dealer what the minimum bet was, and then led into the $20,000 pot with a $400 bet. Cates took a moment and made it $13,800 to go. But Nik had other plans and snap-responded with a three-bet to $55,400.
Cates went deep into the tank as the head games began. After not too long, Nik called the clock on Cates.
“One minute or thirty seconds?” he was asked.
“Thirty seconds. He’s taking way too long for $50K,” Nik replied. And as the floor came in to administer the clock Nik continued, telling him to “Stay close by today, buddy.”
Check out the end of this hand below and the semi-NSFW trash talk that took place in the aftermath. Doug Polk, sitting to Cates’ left, could only exclaim – “That was a wild hand, man.”
About 60 hands in, the pair clashed again. Nik made it $2,000 from middle position with his and Cates looked down at and three-bet to $8,000. Not going anywhere, Nik made the call and the pair took a flop of giving Nik top pair and a flush draw. Nik checked it over to Cates who continued for $6,000. Nik quickly check-raised, making it $16,000 to go. Cates opted to call and, once again, the fateful ripped off on the turn. Cates improved to top pair, but it also brought in the flush for Nik.
Nik checked it once again and Cates checked it back. When the river came the , giving Cates a losing top two pair, everyone watching knew a bunch of money was going to get in the middle. After surveying Cates’ stack, Nik overbet to $75,000 and Cates snapped him off only to see the bad news and get another earful of trash talk.
“Jungleman, frustrated out of his mind…,” Joey Ingram said from the commentary booth. “And he is getting owned by ‘Nik Airball'”
Nik dragged a pot of nearly $200,000 and Cates lashed out in a hilarious must-see temper tantrum.