EPT10 Prague: Jake Cody brings some Christmas spirit to the Main Event
The internet is full of recommendations of where to play poker, whether it's a local small buy-in tournament to one of the world's major events. Victory in these places is dreamt of and daydreamed about endlessly.
But let's face facts. Only one player will ever truly be happy in a poker tournament, and that's the eventual winner. Only they will leave the place they entered days before in a good mood, buoyant, and surfing their way back to the airport on a giant novelty cheque.
That leaves everybody else, the unlucky, the also-rans, and the defeated. So given that most will end up in that category perhaps we're looking at poker tournaments in the wrong way. Maybe we should be asking "Which is the best poker tournament to be knocked out of?"
That would have to be Prague.
Let's be clear here, the tournament itself is of course terrific. There's plenty of space, even for a field of players several hundred strong, and the usual EPT structure makes even the briefest stay an enjoyable experience. But this is Prague, and it's December, which means Christmas, which this city seems purpose built for, what with its Disney spires and Christmas markets selling Christmas cheer in hot liquid form.
It's a point not lost of some of the British players, who have plugged themselves directly into Christmas spirit by donning Christmas jumpers.
Christmas jumpers may actually be a tradition reserved exclusively to the British. It used to mean the sweater that your mother or grandmother knitted for you as a Christmas gift, a monstrous affair that would be buried at the back of a draw by New Year. Now it's a lucrative business for anyone with some knitting needles and an obscure imagination.
Chris Brammer, Roberto Romanello and Jake Cody have all taken upon themselves to bring some jollity to the tournament room. While Brammer opts for simple fair aisle, with a snowflake pattern, Romanello has gone Full-Christmas, with snowmen and Christmas trees. What's more he's gone for a matching woolly hat.
Roberto Romanello in Full-Christmas
Then there's Jake Cody, the Team PokerStars Pro, who has excelled himself.
Cody, who will become a father for the first time next year, has on a red jumper with a reindeer face stitched onto the front. Not only that, but if you squeeze Rudolph's nose it squeaks. On the back is the backend of Rudolph, complete with tail. "It's even got bells on," he said, pointing out how they hand from Rudolph's antlers. The whole effect is of a kind of baby activity mat, with things to push and rattle, something that will become all too familiar to Cody in 2014.
Of course, there is method to Cody's apparent madness. It's all part of a competition on PokerStars to win 2 per cent of anything he wins in the EPT Prague Main Event. Entrants simply had to submit pictures of themselves wearing their best, or worst, Christmas jumpers. Cody will pick the three he likes best. They'll then spend an anxious few days following the action.
Team PokerStars Pro Jake Cody in full Christmas battle dress
"I want to give something back to everyone who follows and supports me so I came up with this idea and decided to combine Christmas and poker to run a little competition."
For the three of you watching your horse (or should that be reindeer) from home you can now follow Cody on the feature table on EPT Live.
See the jumper for yourself as Jake Cody talks to Laura Cornelius.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.