Battling with Blom in WCOOP

I am writing at the end of the long three-week grind of the WCOOP.

Things went only so-so for me until near the end when I finally picked up a couple of cashes. Then came the Main Event where I made Day 2 and got all of the way to 59th for just over $24K. That was a little disappointing to get so far -- far enough to start thinking about making the final table and winning -- but it was still not a bad way to end the series.

Being in England turned out to make playing the WCOOP a bit more challenging, actually, just because of the length of the events and the way they are scheduled. For instance when I made a couple of Day 2s (including in the Main Event), play didn't end until 7 or 8 a.m. It takes a while to wind down before you can sleep afterwards, too, so that was a challenge to get some rest and then get up to play again.


Because the schedule was like it was, I generally would try not to play two days in a row, and so only ended up playing about three or four events per week. Now with the baby I didn't want to turn the house's schedule upside-down too much if I could avoid it.

I do love the deep stacks and slow structures in the WCOOP. It takes way more skill to win those events than the typical, faster online tourneys. At the same time, though, they are a huge endurance test as well. They definitely favor the younger players. In fact I'm supposed to be one of the younger players, but I find it challenging myself!

It's such a great series, though, and all of the elite players turn out for it. A lot of great live players only play online when the SCOOP and WCOOP come around, and so the fields are not only big but full of incredibly talented players.

Speaking of incredibly talented players, I had one other interesting poker challenge during September when I filled in for Gus Hansen to play the Heads-Up Showdown on Full Tilt Poker against Viktor "Isildur1" Blom.

They asked me right at the last-minute -- I only knew about 24 hours beforehand that I'd be playing. Obviously Blom woudn't have been my first choice of somebody to play three tables of heads-up poker against -- in three different games, no less. I mean my best game is no-limit hold'em, and even in NLHE he probably has an edge against me -- never mind 2-7 draw and seven-card stud hi/lo!

To be honest, I'd never really played seven-card stud hi/lo seriously before, so the day before I got a friend to coach me -- not the ideal way to go into a heads-up match against Isildur1!

Then once we started I busted the NLHE match straight away. It was a three-bet pot and by the time it got to the turn I had a straight flush draw and was all in against his regular flush draw and pair, and his hand held.

So then I had to beat him in the other two matches to win best-two-out-of-three. I did battle him pretty well in NL draw, and the structures were quick enough that I felt I had a chance. But a hand came up in which we got it all in before the first draw and three draws later he had me beat. Then he ground me down and won the stud hi/lo as well.

I felt okay about how I competed, considering the circumstances. I didn't feel like I'd gotten owned. It was kind of a freeroll for me, especially in 2-7 and stud hi/lo, so if I had won it would be a huge brag.

But Blom is a great player and he's used to these kind of spotlight heads-up matches. It's hard to argue against his being one of the best, especially when it comes to online heads-up. And of course then he turned around and topped me again in the Main Event, making it all of the way to the final table where he finished ninth.

Jake Cody is a member of Team PokerStars Pro
Jake Cody
@PokerStars in Jake Cody