WSOP 2017: Jake Cody, the Rochdale globetrotter
Yesterday afternoon, Randy Lew told PokerStars Blog about his hectic travel schedule, about how the best part of being a poker player was sometimes sacking it off to go hopping country to country.
This afternoon at the World Series of Poker Main Event in Las Vegas, Lew's Team PokerStars Pro colleague Jake Cody described how his Air Miles account has been sky-rocketing recently too. However, for Cody it's been strictly business.
In the past couple of months, the lad who started life in the city of Rochdale in England's industrialised North West has been out to Macau, back to Edinburgh, over to Vegas and soon back to London again for the PokerStars MegaStacks series.
With the exception of the Edinburgh trip (that was a friend's stag/bachelor party), it's all been to play poker.
"Basically I'm destroying my body," Cody says, and he's only slightly joking.
Over the past couple of years, Cody has largely transitioned from the tournaments in which he first made his name to cash-game poker. And like anyone serious about making serious money, Macau has become a considerable lure.
"They're really long hours and they can be pretty high stakes at times," Cody says of the legendary cash games in Asia. "They can be pretty unpredictable, but if you're willing to put in big 30-40 hour sessions, you can get yourself in good situations."
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Cody is fortunate in that several other British players, with whom he has a long history, have set themselves up in the Vegas of the east. For as long as I can remember interviewing Cody, he has name-checked the Macau regulars Tom McDonald and Andrew Moseley as the players who he considers the best of the best, and their contingent in Asia now also includes Cody's other old friends Matt Moss and JP Kelly.
"I decided I'd put a big effort in getting better at cash games and luckily I have a good circle of friends who go to Macau a lot so it was easier for me to get out there and get money there and stuff," he says. "These are my closest friends in poker as well, so it's been cool going over there and spending time with them as well."
But make no mistake, these are business trips. "It's not really fun being out there, but you at least know there's not that much else to do, so you can put your head down and grind," Cody says.
The cash-game switch has meant Cody now approaches tournaments with a much more relaxed attitude, saying that the inherent variance of high buy-in, no limit tournaments made the life of the tournament pro even more volatile than the high-stakes cash grinder. But it also meant he missed out on most of the World Series, and couldn't be on the rail as Chris Moorman and Chris Brammer won bracelets this summer.
"That was sad," Cody says. "In tournaments, those two guys are two of my closest friends too."
They were also on the rail when Cody himself won his bracelet in 2011, and it would have been nice to return the boozy, boisterous complement as part of another legendarily loud supporting rabble.
This time, Cody only came to Vegas a few days ahead of the Main Event, and realised he would be best served going against the norm in these parts and mainly relaxing rather than gambling.
He says, "When I came here, I was like, 'OK, I need to chill.' It's probably a bit silly to do that [play massive Macau sessions] just before the World Series but I wanted to get my head down a bit."
Whatever happens here in the Main Event, where Cody currently sits on what he describes as a good table with about 55,000 chips, there are actually more tournaments on the horizon. Cody says he'll play a few PokerStars Championship events when he gets the chance, but is especially looking forward to being among the star attractions at the PokerStars Megastack events at the Hippodrome in London.
Cody has never forgotten his own roots as a low-stakes tournament player and this series is aimed squarely at the up and coming talents of the game.
"It's great," Cody says. "It's a project that's been cooking for a while and it's a way to keep grassroots poker a thing in the UK, and give people an easier stepping stone to get into the bigger events. I think that perfectly brings those two things together."
The Megastacks events, as well as the PokerStars Series tournaments in the Hippodrome, have started up where the UKIPT left off. "It's probably aimed at players who are slightly newer than even the UKIPT was and not as many professionals," Cody says. "It gives more players the chance to play a PokerStars event and have that experience."
Who knows: The next Megastacks champion may be swanning off to Vegas via Macau in a few years if he or she follows the Cody path.
WSOP photos by PokerPhotoArchive.com.