EPT11 Barcelona: Jake Cody on beards, bluffing and buy-ins

Thanks to the player list I knew that Jake Cody was sitting at table 49 but I couldn't see him. I looked around for potential empty seats with chips in front of them less he was on a bathroom break, but there were none to be found. Eventually my eyes were drawn to the player directly in front of me, his t-shirt had a Union Jack flag patch with the words 'Team Pro' etched on it but the player didn't look like the Triple Crown winner.


Cody - all grown up

Gone was the rock star hair, a summer buzz cut now hid under a backwards baseball hat. And the youthful clean cut look Cody was last sporting when I saw him in June was also a thing of the past. "The beard's all part of looking more grown up," Cody told the PokerStars Blog.

And growing up is something Cody has done a lot of in 2014, a baby girl - Arianna - was born is April and after his latest birthday in July he's now nearer 30 than 20. In the poker world that means he's fast approaching veteran status. His family came along to Vegas for the WSOP and are once again in tow in Barcelona. In between those two trips Cody, who currently lives in Florida, flew to Marbella to take part in a UKIPT event. At all these events Cody has run a #PlayWithJake competition where he offers players a 0.5% freeroll of any tournament winnings he claims in that event. If you're quick you can get on in the latest one, just follow @JakeCody on Twitter.

We've talked a lot this week about players using PokerStars regional tours, like the UKIPT, as a stepping stone to the EPT. The EPT Deauville winner and UKIPT Marbella final tablist has seen plenty of action in both and is well positioned to offer advice about the differences. "I think the EPTs are just a thousand times more serious. Everyone who's here is basically ruthless. It's the best players from all different countries, lots of whom play for high stakes," says Cody. "It's very competitive, there's usually not much talk at the table, at least from my experience, relative to UKIPTs where it's quite friendly and there's lots of banter going on."

But that doesn't mean when he steps down to a UKIPT it's a cake walk. "Whilst the standard in an EPT is obviously higher, it's not like UKIPTs are really soft or anything. There are a lot of online qualifiers who are really good and there are lots of great players in the UK right now and they all play a lot of UKIPTs, so you're going to have a lot of tough players at your table in a UKIPT too."

Talking of tough tables, Cody found himself seated at the same oval as Super High Roller regular Dan Smith from the off today."I think you've always got to have confidence in your ability, whoever you play against," said a confident Cody. "I would never sit at a table with someone and think they're better than me. I'm not saying I'm the best in the world, I'm just saying I'm not going to second guess myself against someone. At the same time I'm not going to go to war against someone who's a well-known good player, I fell people let their egos come into it too much."


Cody - one of many stars on the EPT

So there are more poker superstars at an EPT but what about the style of play, it's still the same game after all, or is it? "There's much more three-betting and pre-flop aggression in EPTs, notes Cody. "I just think it's a trend that as soon as it starts a few players do it and it literally is one of those things that just catches on at the table and is the done thing to do. But equally if you're at a table where there are a couple of players who like to see a lot of flops, then everyone trends along with that to. I honestly do think sometimes people just play how the rest of the table is."

And because of these different approaches to play Cody has a theory about the relative value of the different tournaments. "I think it's fair to say that because of the difference in styles then the so called bad players in EPT's are aggressive and their equivalent in the UKIPT are more passive. There's definitely a lot of crazy players at the EPT."

Last season Leo McClean turned £93 into £249,850 when he finished third at EPT London and Cody has some sage advice for anyone who might find them self in a similar situation this season. "I'm a huge advocate of not playing scared. No matter who you are everyone gets two cards. Just play your natural style, whatever that is. Don't change it. Of course you should adjust to your opponents but don't so something out of the ordinary for the sake of it. It's a long tournament, you've got to be prepared to play long days and not go broke."

As for this season's Leo McClean or the next Max Silver, Cody says: "Rhys Jones hasn't had a big result on the European scene yet and I feel he has the potential to do that."

For now Cody is happy to be back on the EPT having not seen a lot of his friends since the WSOP wrapped in July. "There's definitely a first day back at school vibe as well as seeing friends again its cool seeing all the staff and dealers too."

This year Cody will continue to switch effortlessly between EPTs, UKIPTs and everything in between. But, no matter what level Cody is playing at it doesn't stop one thing happening. "To be honest, players try to bluff me at all levels," he says with a grin. "I'm less of a target at an EPT than a UKIPT but I do feel like people like to show me bluffs a lot! I've just decided to not fold now. I've put my foot down and you're going to have to show me the goods now!"

You've been warned!

Follow all the action from the tournament floor on the main EPT Barcelona page. There's hand-by-hand coverage in the panel at the top, including chip counts, and feature pieces below. There's also EPT Live, which is streaming action from Day 1B of the Main Event.

Nick Wright
@PokerStars in European Poker Tour