The European Poker Tour is no stranger to breaking new ground and welcomes players from across the globe. Last week it was in the Caribbean, soon it will be the ski-slopes of Austria, after it hits Berlin for the first time. Its 51 champions hail from 15 countries, and today in Deauville, there was the chance to jab a flag in even more virgin turf.
We thought we were going to get our first double champion, then we thought we would see the first man from Romania to clinch one of these events. But when push came to shove there was no getting past a 21-year-old named Jake Cody, who produced a miraculous comeback from the brink of elimination to become the seventh British player to enter the EPT winner's enclosure.
"This is so overwhelming," Cody said. "It's the sort of stuff I dreamed about with my mates just a few weeks back. I feel like I should be asleep as I can't believe this is happening."
It was his first time at an EPT but few would deny him the plaudits. This kid can play.
Cody takes €847,000 and a buy in to the Grand Final in Monte Carlo. He also has the satisfaction of emerging victorious from arguably the most compelling final table in any poker event in years. Cody found himself utterly crippled by a massive coup against the Canadian Mike McDonald when they were six handed: ace-king against tens, king on the flop. But Cody simply would not die and eventually got it heads up with Teodor Caraba, the aforementioned Romanian, who was chip leader going into the final table, as he was when there were 24 players left.
Caraba played an almost strategically perfect match, mostly sitting out the opening exchanges of the final table as players around him bust. He stayed out of trouble until his chip lead cruised him to the final three. But even after pulling out all the stops when it got short-handed, he could not overcome the fearless tenacity of Cody, who embraced the variance, rode the volatility, and only broke into a smile once the deal was sealed.
The final hand came after they had played two hours mano-a-mano during which Caraba had Cody strangled, then the Brit had the Romanian scratching the felt, and then honours evened out again. But after massive chip leads in each direction, the death knell sounded at 11.45pm local time. Caraba found ace-king and Cody had kings. All in. Game over.