EPT11 London: Cody serves pizza with a big, big cherry on top

If you don't follow Jake Cody on Twitter, you're a fool. That's not only because his feed offers an entertaining insight into the mind of one of poker's most consistently positive thinkers, but also because he has this habit of giving away money to his followers.

This week in London, for instance, Cody could end up giving away about five grand to a bloke he has never met -- and all because of some rashers of bacon, a couple of slices of pepperoni and some jalapeño peppers.

Throughout the past season or so on the EPT and UKIPT, Cody has been inviting his followers to Play With Jake, a game in which he describes the action on a particularly notable hand during the early stages and then asks participants to guess the precise cards he was holding.

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Jake Cody: "Jalapenos. Don't forget the jalapenos."

Cody is an unpredictable player and it's not easy to know what he's got in these bizarre spots. But if anyone manages it (and somebody usually does) he or she wins 1 per cent of Cody's action in that tournament. It's a total free-roll, costing only the time it takes to tap out a tweet, and could potentially net a good chunk of change depending on Cody's progress.

In London this week, Cody unveiled a slight variation of the game. He said he didn't actually have any particularly interesting hands in the early stages, so instead decided to modify it to a game named Eat With Jake. He asked followers to guess the precise three toppings he ordered on a pizza the night before, and if anybody managed it, the same free-roll terms and conditions would apply.

It didn't take long for a follower named JimmyTheRad to dream up the combination of bacon, pepperoni and jalapeños and - bingo! - he was free-rolling with Cody in less time than it took the roof of the Team PokerStars Pro's mouth to stop burning.

And what a free-roll it has turned out to be. Cody has surged to the final table, already locking up at least £51,900 but eyeing his second EPT title and £499,700. For JimmyTheRad, that's a payday of £519 already and maybe the best part of £5,000. Rad indeed.

"It's surreal," said a 21-year-old physics student at Warwick University named James Raddon, when PokerStars Blog got in touch with the man behind that lucky Twitter handle. "I wasn't expecting anything to come of it. I know he's an amazing player, but I wasn't even expecting to get the pizza toppings bit right."

Raddon is an enthusiastic poker watcher and an occasional low-stakes live player at his university poker society. (A society, it's worth noting, whose graduates include Rupert Elder and Zimnan Ziyard, both EPT champions, and Alex "Kanu7" Millar of Team PokerStars Pro Online.) He finished third in the first tournament he played a couple of years ago, parlaying £5 into £70, and has since built his bankroll to about £135 without ever needing to dip his hand back in his pocket.

The potential winnings from the Cody free-roll could multiply that many times, but Raddon said he's not likely to be taking a shot at the poker big time himself just yet. He said he'll save some and maybe take his mates out for a night out, all depending how well Cody does tomorrow, of course.

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Some others playing with Jake in more traditional fashion

Raddon said that he has seen Cody play numerous times on television and on EPT Live, but has been paying particular attention now he has a financial investment in the outcome.

"I do trust him because obviously he's pretty good," Raddon said, very aware that he was making a deliberate understatement. "But then he gets his chips in and I think, 'He's got to have a monster'. He shows it, and he's got something marginal. But he's still winning."

Raddon had a ridiculously busy day, into which he had to somehow fit the Cody sweat. He caught what he could on the live stream in the early afternoon, then had to head to campus for some university work. He had already made arrangements to head back to his family home in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, for the weekend but interrupted the journey at a friend's house in Cheltenham, where he watched a bit more of EPT Live, before hopping on a bus to complete the trip.

"How many BBs did Jake finish with?" read a text message to PokerStars Blog's mobile phone, presumably from a bus stop in deepest Gloucester. "Should be a good ft - when I get home I'll rewind and catch up:) I'm so buzzing for it!!"

The existing arrangements have precluded a trip down to the Grand Connaught Rooms for Raddon to rail Cody in person, but the Team PokerStars Pro is intent on catching up at some point in the future.

"He can buy me a pizza if I win him five grand," Cody said.

Raddon was amenable. "That seems a fair swap," he said.

Follow our coverage of the EPT London festival via the main EPT London page, where there are hand-by-hand updates and chip counts in the panel at the top and feature pieces below. And, of course, you can follow it all live at EPT Live.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour