Tom Dwan, Rampage Confirmed for HCL’s 2024 Million Dollar Game

In addition to Dwan and Rampage, Daniel ‘Jungleman’Cates has also been announced. Dwan, Cates and Doug Polk have all agreed to play together at least once during broadcast.

Jeff Walsh
Apr 9, 2024
Tom Dwan (left) and Ethan ‘Rampage’ Yau (right) are back for Hustler Casino Live’s 2024 Million Dollar Game.

On Tuesday, Hustler Casino Live announced three more big-name confirmations for their upcoming 2024 Million Dollar Game, two of which are returning for the second year as undisputed stars of last year’s livestream.

Tom Dwan, Ethan ‘Rampage’ Yau, and Daniel ‘Jungleman’ Cates are the latest players to officially join the $500/$1K stakes, million-dollar minimum buy-in nosebleed cash game at the Hustler Casino in Los Angeles from May 28-31. The trio is added to the already announced cast of fan-favorite poker superstars that include Doug Polk, Tony G, Nik ‘Airball’ Arcot, and Alan Keating among others.

For Hustler Casino Live’s showrunner/co-founder Ryan Feldman, having Dwan back on the show after winning the record-breaking $3.1 million pot, the largest pot ever broadcast, was a top priority.

“it was super important to get Tom Dwan in the Million Dollar Game,” Feldman said. “He was arguably the star of last year. On that last day, he won a $3.1 million pot, which of course broke the record for the largest pot on a poker broadcast. He won a lot of money and on the day that he played we had 58,000 people watching. So in my opinion, he is right up there among the biggest stars in poker still to this day.

“And historically, especially for cash games, I think that because he doesn’t play that often on streams, he’s even more appealing to the viewer,” Feldman added. “It’s kind of a treat when he plays, you know, it’s a special game. So I think people tune in to watch him. He plays a lot of hands, he plays big pots. He’s social, he’s interesting and he’s had quite the journey in poker, the ups and downs. He’s had a lot of success on poker shows and yeah, I think that having him in this Million Dollar Game elevates it to the next level and it was definitely a priority to get him back for year two.”

Back in February, Feldman noted that during the initial announcement he hadn’t talked to Dwan in some time. But Feldman, knowing he would love to have Dwan back for ’24, used the recent news of a sponsorship deal between Dwan and ACR to reach out, offer congratulations, and reconnect. According to Feldman, Dwan seemed happy enough to engage and so when the topic came up, Dwan jumped at the invite back to HCL.

“ I said, ‘Hey, Million Dollar Game this year is May 28th thru 31st – we got Santhosh in there, we got Peter, it’s going to be super action games this year. Do you want to play?’ And he was like, ‘Yeah, I’m in for all of ’em.’ And I was like, okay, cool. And then I just followed up with him again yesterday to confirm and just said, ‘Hey, just making sure you’re a hundred percent going to be in.’ And he’s like, ’Yes, I’m in.’ So yeah, he is ready to go. We’re going to have him in multiple days and you’re going to see a lot of Tom Dwan, and we’re excited to have him back.”

Ethan ‘Rampage’ Yau was another player Feldman had been targeting all along, and he said so back in February when they were simply awaiting confirmation from the vlogger. Even before Yau pulled off what some called “the bluff of the year” in the 2023 Million Dollar Game, he was one of the most popular players at the table due to his abundance of poker content that gives fans a behind-the-curtain of his life as a poker pro. Since the last Million Dollar Game, Rampage has returned to HCL no fewer than 10 times, according to Highroll Poker, making headlines with his six-figure swings. After a prolonged downswing in cash and tournaments, Rampage is on a “Road to $1,000,000” media campaign – something he may achieve in an afternoon in this game.

“Anytime Rampage plays in a big game on our show, it brings eyeballs. People love his story, his rise from low stakes to super high stakes and how kind of honest and accountable he is with his swings and his bankroll. He just comes across, I think, as a very humble, down-to-earth, honest poker player. And because of that, he appeals to the average viewer.

That’s why he’s so popular, so easy for people to root for him. Not only that, when he plays, he goes for it. Everyone knows that when he plays a million-dollar buy-in, even if he sells a bunch of action, he’s playing way above his means. He is taking a shot, but he’s so confident when he plays even at those highest stakes, he still goes for the big bluff.”

Rounding out the announcement is Daniel ‘Jungleman’ Cates. Cates, well-known in the high-stakes cash circuit as one of the toughest, and animated, players will make his Million Dollar Game debut. In the announcement, it was promised that at some point in time, Dwan, Cates, and Polk would all be at the table at the same time – a livestream first. No doubt the arrangement is a nod to the (now buried?) long-standing feud that stemmed from the pre-Black Friday ‘Durrrr’ Challenge. These three personalities in the room with $1 million in front of them should offer fans the fireworks they are hoping for. Feldman indicated that, as of this writing, Wednesday, May 29th is when you can see these three together.

One player not yet mentioned is Wesley Fei – the high-stakes player who was on the losing end of the $3.1 million pot. When asked if Fei, who has been removed from poker for nearly a year, was possibly in the mix, Feldman noted that the noted crypto trader may have other things on his mind other than a return to the tables.

“I haven’t talked to him a lot. I’ve talked to him a little bit, but not really about poker or the Million Dollar Game,” Feldman said. “So I don’t think that he has too much interest in poker right now. I’m not really sure. I think Crypto is doing really well. He’s probably focused on that.

“If he wants to play, I’m sure he’ll reach out to me and ask. If he does, of course, I’d be happy to let him play one of the days because he was a star last year. So yeah…I mean open invitation.”

All four days of action will be available on Hustler Casino Live’s YouTube channel starting on Tuesday, May 28.